'Stone Sour': Spit it out

Screaming angry lyrics, dressing up in clown masks and calling your fans maggots is an unorthodox approach toward reaching rock stardom. The nine-member group of angry Iowans known as Slipknot defied conventional wisdom and made itself one of the heaviest and loudest forces in the heavy-metal world, doing just that.

After two successful albums and extensive touring (including two stints on the mecca of metal tours Ozzfest) the band is taking a much-deserved break. Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor capitalized on his time off; recording and releasing a CD with his pre-maggot group, Stone Sour.

Bradford founded the group with drummer Joel Ekman in 1992 and later recruited guitarists James Root and Josh Rand and bassist Shawn Economaki. After a few years of jamming together and playing gigs throughout Iowa, the band decided to call it quits when Taylor joined Slipknot. Root and Economali would later also become members of the Slipknot family. (Root plays guitars in the band and Economali is their stage manager.)

With Slipknot on sabbatical the three decided to get the band back together and recorded their self-titled debut Stone Sour. While technically Stone Sour is two-ninths Slipknot (sometimes three-ninths when Slipknot DJ Sid Wilson helps out on a few tracks), very little of the angry maggot-loving clown's sound is heard on the album.

Slipknot's music is angry, loud and fast, with machine-gunning kickdrums and a screaming clown frontman. According to Taylor, Stone Sour's sound is introspective and melodic hard rock, filled with content and initiative. This evolved sound makes itself known on the eighth track "Bother." Completely divergent of anything Taylor has done with Slipknot, he shows off his great voice on this inspired ballad.

Fans expecting something a little bit heavier need not worry, the Slipknot sound still shows up, it just doesn't take over the entire album. Guitar solos by Taylor, Rand and Root acknowlege the band's metal roots. The track "Tumult" mixes thrashing guitars with keybords as Taylor unleashes his fury in the form of some mad-as-hell screams. "Get Inside" is just about the closest the band gets to a Slipknot-esuqe sound, following the formula of speedy kickdrums and dark guitars. Other tracks like "Cold Reader" and "Blue Study" seem fit for radio, showcasing Taylor's melodic metal vocals with a few growls thrown in for good measure.

Already receiving high praise and heavy radio play, Stone Sour shouldn't need to lean on its Slipknot roots for much longer. With a high value placed on melody and content compared to rage and loudness, the band falls closer to the rhythmic and melodic Metallica side of the metal spectrum as opposed to the dark and angry Pantera side. However, the focus on quality, content-based style of metal may alienate those maggots that have yet to become flies.

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