Album Reviews

Album Review: Stone Sour – Hello, You Bastards: Live In Reno

Stone Sour - Hello, You Bastards Live In Reno - Artwork.jpg

Release Date: 13/12/2019

Record Label: Cooking Vinyl

For Fans Of: Five Finger Death Punch, Machine Head, Slipknot

A band of Stone Sour’s stature must feel as though they’ve done almost everything a band can in their career. Hello, You Bastards: Live In Reno is a sign that Stone Sour don’t fall into that bracket. The live album from their show in Reno, Nevada on 5th October 2018 marks the Grammy-nominated five-piece outfit’s first live album, consisting of sixteen tracks from a remarkable back catalogue consisting of six albums and numerous charted singles across the world. Those that haven’t seen Stone Sour live are in for a treat, and those that haven’t listened to the band before are in for an even greater one.

Stone Sour, for those of you that don’t know, are a pillar in the hard rock scene and boy does this release rock hard at times. The tracklist has something for fans of all era’s of Stone Sour. It does feature more songs from their 2017 release Hydrograd than any other, but older albums such as Come What(ever) May and their self-titled album aren’t neglected at all. After a career spanning 17 years, the album takes fans on a kick-ass tour of all they’ve achieved up to now.

There are tracks on this release that sound unhinged and manic, which is exactly how they should be performed. ‘Reborn’ and ‘Whiplash Pants’ are perfect examples of this. The energy and pace they’re performed at is remarkable, from Corey Taylor’s vocals to Roy Mayorga’s drumming, it’s exhilarating. A wonderful aspect of Hello, You Bastards: Live In Reno, and Stone Sour in general, is their ability to mix styles up and slow things down.

Following their stunning performance of ‘Absolute Zero’, showcasing some seriously impressive guitar from Josh Rand and Christian Martucci, they take things down a notch. Taylor asks the crowd “Are you having a good time?” and what sounds like half of Reno cheers in unison, before he continues, “This next song… for a lot of people this was the very first taste of Stone Sour”. This is the cue for a flawless rendition of the sensational track ‘Bother’, accompanied by the entirety of Nevada on backing vocals. Despite featuring on their debut album, this song not only stands up amongst the other more current tracks on this live album, but it is a particular strength and highlight of the release.

Stone Sour’s signature melodic hard rock sound with catchy, thumping choruses is on display throughout the entire album. ‘Song #3’ sounds fantastic live as these aspects of Stone Sour’s signature sound come across so clearly in its performance, of which the same can be said for both ‘30 30-150’.‘Rose Red Violet Blue’ features some irresistible bass from Jonny Chow, adding some real groove to an album that showcases an abundance of musical ability in its DNA. The real standout track on the album is ‘Through Glass’. It combines all of the previously mentioned strengths of the album and it feels special. It is a track that has amassed over 176 million plays on Spotify and they’ve undoubtedly played live countless times since its release, but listening to the band perform it with such passion and emotion makes it feel as fresh as the day you heard it for the first time. Reno sings every word alongside Corey Taylor and the only surprise is that it’s not the closing track on the album.

Hello, You Bastards: Live In Reno’s real strength is the authenticity of its live sound. The rawness that underpins every track is so unpolished and unforgiving that it makes you feel as close to being in attendance as a live album can possibly do. On the release, Stone Sour guitarist Josh Rand says “We’re extremely proud of the fact that it’s 100% live with absolutely no overdubs. It’s not perfect but neither are we.” It might not be perfect, but it’s damn near on the cusp of it.

Rating: 9/10

Recommended Tracks: ‘Song #3’, ‘Bother’, ‘Through Glass’

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