WARNING: This review might enrage Maggots everywhere so if you are of the closed-of-mind, blind followers of Slipknot, stop reading here.
Stone Sour is a side project. Side projects usually are just escapes for members of other bigger bands. Their releases are usually experimental, a million miles away from the music made by their 'main' groups and, frankly, they are typically unimpressive. For the uninformed, Stone Sour is the 'side project' of Slipknot's Corey Taylor (lead singer) and Jim Root (guitar).
Slipknot's brand of overblown, cliched death metal (see Gwar but not as funny and technically more impressive) is thankfully mostly absent from Stone Sour's first release. The self-titled disc features a cleaner, crisper sound that incorporates, *gulp*, melodies and actual singing from Taylor. Despite growling and screaming through two albums and several worldwide tours, Taylor puts his voice on display throughout the Stone Sour release. He did not drop the harsh vocals entirely, as witnessed on the first single, the standout “Get Inside“. But, Taylor took risks and explored the impressive range of his vocal cords with the acoustic “Bother” and mellow but powerful “Inhale“.
Root, along with Josh Rand (also on guitar), pulls a bunch of tricks out of his case with solos, distortion effects and even some power chords here and there. Shawn Economaki (bass) and Joel Ekman (drums) round out the band and provide a solid backbone for the top end to rely on such as on “Take A Number“. That track is the one canvas where every member of the group makes their mark and the result is, simply said, awesome.
Sid Wilson, Slipknot's DJ, shows up on a few tracks (“Orchids“, “Cold Reader” and “Monolith“), adding his quality brand of turntable wizardry that makes his DJ Starscream work so anticipated.
The only thing that was slightly disappointing was Taylor's spoken word track at the end of the disc. “Omega” leaves no question as to his feelings towards the state of society and the idiotic people that make it up, but it seems a bit out of place and, quite frankly, might be better with the band behind it. However, by including it, Stone Sour reminds the listener that it is a forum for other band's musicians to do what they please.
With the kind of free range that Stone Sour gives him, it might be a good move for Taylor and Root to step away from Slipknot and see how far this can take them. Without the shackles of the sound and image of Slipknot, the duo really were able to rise and show just what they are capable of.