Stone Sour - Audio Secrecy Review
Posted by Lenny Vowels on 09.07.2010
Stone Sour has finally released Audio Secrecy, the follow-up album to 2006's Come What(ever) May. But how does it measure up to the rest of the mainstream rock releases of the year? 411's Lenny Vowels checks in with his full review!
Stone Sour, to me, has always been an interesting case of a band. I always heard of them being referred to as “the lighter side of Slipknot.” While I suppose that's true, in a way, it's not as if Stone Sour doesn't have some pretty hard and dark tunes in their own repertoire. Anyone who has only heard songs like “Bother” and “Through Glass” might easily get this impression, but with a deeper delve into their catalog, it's easy to see that isn't the case. They may not be as aggressive as Corey's first band, but they can certainly stand out, and Mr. Taylor is setting out for everything darker with Stone Sour's newest album, Audio Secrecy.
1. Audio Secrecy
2. Mission Statement
3. Digital (Did You Tell)
4. Say You'll Haunt Me
6. Let's Be Honest
9. Nylon 6/6
12. The Bitter End
Audio Secrecy starts off much the same way as at least one other big rock release this year, that being Disturbed's Asylum. The opening title track serves as a gloomy instrumental into the first actual song (and promo single) “Mission Statement.” For a standard radio-friendly hard rock track, it's not bad, especially the guitar solo performed by the amazing Jim Root. “Digital (Did You Tell)” follows the same pattern, though with a slightly tastier guitar riff, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it as a single in the future.
The first official single, “Say You'll Haunt Me,” is the first breakaway from the hard rock opening, with a opening guitar part more familiar with bands like My Morning Jacket than a nu metal outlet like Stone Sour. The drums definitely make it seem heavier, so thumbs up for that, I suppose, but I still think it's one of the weaker tracks on the record. “Dying” is the album's first foray into acoustic, though it doesn't last long, and it only serves as an extended intro into what can only be considered as more of the same.
“Let's Be Honest” also reminded me a little too much of the Drowning Pool classic “Tear Away,” but the lyrics and emotion at least helped it stand out as one of my favorites on Audio Secrecy.
“Unfinished” and “Hesitate” are another couple of songs that didn't really seem to want to stand out, but “Nylon 6/6” may just be the heaviest track here. It all leads into one of my favorite songs of the year, and easily my pick for Audio Secrecy itself, “Miracles.” It's slower than the rest of the album would let on, but it's a great ballad with a solid message. I've even personally been able to use it to pertain to all kinds of situations, from brutal murders in the news to friends having difficulty with research projects. Feel free to laugh at that, but the song is nothing if not universal.
I must say I'm also a big fan of the song “Pieces.” The rat-a-tat of the drums along with the acoustic guitar set a chilling mood, and Corey brings such an outpouring of drama in his voice. “The Bitter End” is a really solid heavy outing, even though it sounds a bit too much like the older brother band, Slipknot. The album then closes out with not one, but two slower works in “Imperfect” and “Threadbare.” “Imperfect” is another acoustic ballad which isn't bad, but again, fails to really stand out. “Threadbare,” on the other hand, is a very powerful piece, and a fitting closer for the record.
The production for Audio Secrecy came together with a name very familiar with Stone Sour and modern rock in general: Nick Raskulinecz. Nick produced the band's last album Come What(ever) May, as well as past albums for bands like Alice in Chains, Rush, and the Foo Fighters. This is Raskulinecz's second major rock release this year as well, following the awesome Diamond Eyes by Deftones, also reviewed by yours truly this year. Despite being somewhat generic, the record is put together really well, and the sound is on par with anything else I've heard this year that's topnotch.
Recommended songs: Digital (Did You Tell), Miracles, Pieces, Threadbare.
The 411: Stone Sour's newest record does seem to yearn for new heights, but for some reason can't quite reach them. The mood is definitely darker than their previous two albums, though that doesn't mean it's better. Basically, what's good on the album is great, and while nothing's bad, the rest doesn't come off as anything special either. In the band's personal history, I'd rank it above Come What(ever) May overall, but their self-titled album still leads the pack. Either way, this record is worth having if you're a fan of the band, but don't expect much in the way of new.