If you thought Stone Sour had changed their tune just as a one-off with House of Gold and Bones Part 1, think again.

The American rock band once again delivers with an album (this is the second part of the “HOGAB” theme) and the full-out rock is replaced by a very intriguing mix of full-on, guitar shredding riffs, pianos, ballads and electro elements.  The essentials of Stone Sour are all there; just changed into something very, very spectacular.

Corey Taylor‘s powerful voice is yet again front and centre, but in a way I’ve never heard before.

The electricity builds as “Red City” leads in with a slow, steady, and somewhat eerie piano melody which is quite comforting to listen to.  Taylor seems to have an incredible ability to adapt his vocal range for any song, and this is a beautiful intro.
“Black John” has a live performance/stage-like energy to it, pounding, rhythmic drum beats and guitar.  Taylor finds a way to make even a dark lyrical song sound extremely positive.
A quick tempo change and we come along to “Sadist“.  Starting off like a ballad, the Stone Sour of old soon kicks in with an unleashing of guitar solos and bass drums.
Racing into “Peckinpah“, “Stalemate” and “Gravesend” all hit with a rush like the opening of Part 1 – “Gone Sovereign” and “Absolute Zero“.  The amount of “power” and passion Taylor puts into the lyrics make these three songs the best 1-2-3 combination of the album.
HOGAB loses a little bit of its flare in “’82” but picks itself up in “The Uncanny Valley” and “Blue Smoke“, the latter an excellent example of Taylor moving away from his traditional screams and focusing on a much softer ballad.
Song of the album for me is the first single “Do Me A Favour”.  Stone Sour go right back to their rock roots and thrash out an old-school hard rock song that brings out the more hardcore head-bangers.
Finishing with “The Conflagration”, “The House of Gold and Bones” and a demo version of “Shine”, nothing is left to chance – a ballad and another two energetic songs mean the album from start to finish is buzzing with electricity.
For me, the great thing about Stone Sour is the determination to deliver something better everytime. I can happily say they made that promise come true.  It’s rock, but it’s done in style.
Stars/5
TRACK LISTING
1. “Red City” 4:35
2. “Black John” 4:02
3. “Sadist” 5:07
4. “Peckinpah” 4:11
5. “Stalemate” 4:47
6. “Gravesend” 4:41
7. “’82” 3:42
8. “The Uncanny Valley” 4:01
9. “Blue Smoke” 2:07
10. Do Me a Favor 4:04
11. “The Conflagration” 4:55
12. “The House of Gold & Bones” 4:43
Total length:
50:35[14]

(Shine is available on the Japanese version as a bonus track)

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