Stone Sour have released their 6th album entitled Hydrograd. It came out on the 30th of June via Roadrunner Records and follows 2013’s House of Gold and Bones Part 2.
Most of the talk in the build up to this release has actually been about Nickelback. Their frontman, Chad Kroeger, had a bit of a rant about Corey leading to him stating that “Stone Sour are trying to be them“. A stupid statement, no doubt, though I am sure the extra bit of publicity, right before two album releases won’t have harmed either of them too much. Check out our review of Nickelback’s Feed the Machine here.
Still enough about them, let’s get back to Stone Sour. The band are, of course, fronted by Corey Taylor (Slipknot). He is joined by Josh Rand on rhythm guitar and Johny Chow on the bass. Ray Mayorga is on the drums and Christian Martucci is on lead guitar, Martucci replaces long serving Jim Root (Slipknot) who left the band in 2013.
Hydrograd is quite a long album. It has 15 tracks on it and is 65 minutes long. Perhaps that is why I found quite a bit of it to drag a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it is a perfectly fine rock album. There are highlights and there are low points and it is probably Stone Sour’s strongest album in many years. It just never really got me too excited while listening to it. There are songs I like but, I often found that a couple good tracks would be followed by a song I wasn’t too keen on. Some songs actually feel out of place here completely making the album feel lacking in cohesion.
No song feels more out of place to me than St. Marie. A gentle country and western ballad. Stone Sour are no stranger to a ballad of sorts. Through Glass, Bother etc… but this one feels out of place, is way too country for me and is also boring. It is surrounded on each side by Thank God it’s Over and, afterwards, Mercy. Both songs which are more enjoyable. Thank God It’s Over has a nice groove to the riff. Corey sounds good and there is a nice creative guitar solo. Mercy is slower at the start but has a chunky riff. The songs builds in pace and intensity to one of the catchier choruses on the album.
I don’t like the 2 minute long intro either. It drags on and very little happens though it leads into Taipei Person/Allah Tea which is a better song. It is one of the heavier tracks on the album. There is a more aggressive vocal style in use and the guitars sound loose and thrashy.
Title track Hydrograd is a decent song. The drums sound great in the intro. There is quite a loose feel to the song before the best solo on the album from Martucci. Once again though, straight afterwards, we get track 5 called Song #3 which, other than a cool little solo near the end, I find a bit mundane. It’s alright – an average to fair rock song but it is instantly forgettable. After Song #3’s lull we get one of the singles, Fabuless, which is a really good song. Check out our review of it here.
My favourite track on the album is probably Whiplash Pants which is also the heaviest by a long stretch. It’s fast and angry and Corey sounds more than a little Slipknot in it. That is followed by Friday Knights which starts well enough. It mixes between a melodic section leading into a harder section and then back to melodic again. It is a fine enough song, has a neat little solo but then ends to 40 seconds of dull melody. The album closes on a bit of a whimper too.
When the Fever Broke is a slow, ballad like track with heavy focus on Corey. He sings it well – he usually does – but it isn’t exciting or powerful. It isn’t a closing song that makes you want more. The guitars have a nice distorted echo sound to them throughout but it is, for me, an instantly forgettable song.
Don’t like it, like it, don’t like it, like it – that is pretty much how the album went for me. A heavy track, a country track, a couple softer ballad like tracks, a couple good rock songs and a few bog standard ones. The album feels a bit like a collection of tracks rather than a single, cohesive album. There is no denying the talent on show. Guitars, bass, drums, vocals – all are on point. It is simply that some of the songs are boring.
Still, you should definitely check it out for yourself. There are some decent songs on here and your opinion may differ to mine. You can pick it up from Stone Sour here or from the links below this article. Check out Stone Sour at their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information on them. Be sure to give them a like or follow while you are there.
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Hydrograd by Stone Sour (Roadrunner Records)
The Final Score - 6.5/10