Album Review: Stone Sour – Hydrograd

Stone Sour – Hydrograd

Release Date: 30 June 2017

Label: Roadrunner Records

Due to the Corey Taylor connection, whenever a new Stone Sour album comes along, it is all too easy to start with comparisons to Slipknot, particularly given the previous involvement of Jim Root. Hydrograd, however, sees Stone Sour head back towards the more radio friendly rock that we are accustomed to from the band from Iowa.

Having never really reached the heights of 2006’s well received Come What(ever) May, expectations were low when news of a new album was released.

The album begins with YSIF, the words ‘Hello, you bastard’ laying waste to a 2 minute instrumental, which increases the expectations and excitement levels. From there we transition straight in to ‘Taipei Person / Allah Tea’ where the guitar and drums increase in intensity – 2 songs in and any previous concerns have gone out of the window and we are into one of those albums that start to peak your attention, the lyrics ‘ Before you know it, you’re going to lose your fucking mind’ maybe setting the tone for a turn of quality and maybe a more heavy SS album, which is where Corey Taylor really excels.

‘Knieval has landed’ and the title track come and go, and whilst not setting the world alight, they feel more than just the filler songs between bangers that we have become used to on Stone Sour music in the last 11 years.

Song 3, one of tracks released before the album feels like it has been written with rock radio in mind with a catchy chorus and more mainstream friendly guitar riffs, it certainly meets its objective.

Flabuless, arguably the stand out track on the album, with its extremely apt chorus of ‘It’s all downhill from here’ marks where things start to change.

Aside from ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Somebody Stole My Eyes’ (which is my personal favourite on the album due to its Motorhead-like sound) the remainder album is filled with what feels like failed experimental tracks, in another album by SS which has once again got a lot of filler tracks, with a country and western song and a number of 80s sounding songs included.

A recent public spat between Corey Taylor and Chad Kroeger had Kroeger state that Stone Sour were Nickelback lite – the heavier side of this album proving that the public sneering at that statement to be correct.

Many regard him as one of the great front men of his generation (maybe a slightly biased viewpoint from someone who has a Corey Taylor/Slipknot tattoo), and on this evidence, that argument is well founded rescuing a flagging album with powerful vocals, without Corey Taylor this album would be poor.

At 15 songs, Hydrograd is way too long and it would be a much stronger album had it been cut down to a shorter 10 track album. This album will not trouble many top 20 of the year listings, however, with a back catalogue which already includes tracks like Zzyzx Rd, Bother, Say You’ll Haunt Me and Through Glass – there are sufficient tracks on here to add to their already impressive setlist and ensure that their shows in the UK at the end of 2017 will be worth attending.

Rating 6/10 – too much filler and too long, but some brilliant individual tracks which are likely to be added to their live setlist of bangers.

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