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album review: Stone Sour provides what works, but not what’s new

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It only takes the first 38 seconds of “House of Gold & Bones Part I” to realize it was recorded for a can of Monster.

Take for example how the first lyrics heard are “No one’s laughing now” repeated twice followed by “I’m sullen and sated and you can’t put a price on me” all while presented in the tried and true painful howl of the dark-rock lead singer. Some bands have taken this idea to speak from a deep well of inner pain to build up their own creative lyrical intensity, but in the song “Gone Sovereign” it feels much too forced, and more so than the rest of the album.

It’s similar in the following song “Absolute Zero” in which the chorus begins with the lyrics  “I can bleed if I wanna bleed” and “I can feel if I feel the need” coupled with the album artwork depicting stained and darkened photographs of dilapidated houses and fields under intense storm clouds, making it clear this will be heard during the credits of the next found-footage horror movie set in an abandoned insane asylum to be produced this week.

The track “RU486” seems to be set in a room with torn up carpets, smashed in walls, boarded up windows and low-wattage light bulbs and still manages to feel entirely generic. This is an issue with a large chunk of songs on this album, which is compiled of a chunk of songs meant to provide background noise as opposed to legitimate entertainment.

The main issue with this album has more to do with predictability than bad quality. It sounds exactly like a metal/rock album without a distinct voice. Bands like Dethklok, Slipknot, or even Theory Of A Dead Man work because they have their own unique sound. Stone Sour, on the other hand, makes no such distinctions and merely appears to act according to a set checklist of essentials for a metal album.

This creation is not necessarily “bad” art, but more “weak” art. It can neither be hated nor loved, but more examined and silently avoided.

“House of Gold & Bones Part 1” is by no means a terrible album, but “Part 2” won’t be anticipated by many. The musicians are talented and the emotional presence is apparent, however, they clearly have yet to find their own unique sound.

jhill@unews.com

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