So here we have it, the second half of Stone Sour’s concept double album. The first half was a decent effort, however the writing style utilised in the review I did was amateur compared to now (not saying I am any wordsmith), so expect something a little different and less long winded. For one, no track by track. Anyway, let’s get on shall we.
Opener ‘Red City’ is a dark track that builds up into the rest of the album, a huge contrast to previous opener ‘Gone Sovereign’. However halfway through the dramatise is dropped as darker, almost death metal, vocals and heavier guitars take over. This album is possibly their biggest stretch yet, and whilst it still sits in the realm of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal the Kim Thayill (Soundgarden) grunge riffs found in ‘’82’ and the atmospheric, Pink Floyd-esque ‘Blue Smoke’ are only two of the reasons as to why this may not sit aside genre wise with the rest of Stone Sour’s albums. Groove based riffs are ever present in songs, ‘Black John’ for one, whilst tracks like ‘Stalemate’ and the title track ‘House of Gold and Bones’ still retain the speed and ferocity of early Stone Sour songs, whilst sounding less and less like Slipknot in music and vocals.
There are many musical references to the previous album; part of the guitar motif during the solo of ‘Sadist’ is similar to a song from HOBAB:P1, most notably the single ‘Do Me A Favour’ has a final verse that is near identical so sections in ‘A Rumour Of Skin’, another notable one is the chorus from the title track is similar again to the chorus of ‘A Rumour Of Skin’ whilst there is a chant at the start saying the title of ‘RU486′. This chant is also heard at the end of ‘The Conflagration’ which also carries the “I’m on my own” melody from ‘Travellers Part 1’. The title track actually opens like a faster paced ‘Gone Sovereign’. Apparently there are numerous references, but these are some that are quite obvious.
Over all this album is a great example of Stone Sours evolution into a band that sets them asides from the rest. They’ve expanded their horizons with these releases, heavier, softer, darker, lighter, more melodic, more simplistic. A listen to this double album and Audio Secrecy paints a perfect picture of Stone Sour becoming more grounded through their exploration. Easily a grower and easily as good as HOGAB:P1, perhaps in some aspects better. Though there isn’t much of an evolution from Part 1, the two go perfectly together as a huge double album. Several tracks on here will be incredible live and there will be much debate as to the ‘fan favourite’ track, a contender of which must be ‘The Uncanny Valley’. Fans of Stone Sour will most likely love this album, those who are more into Slipknot may not but this is definitely a perfect example of what Stone Sour is now. Though on a first listen it’s not entirely striking the magic is found underneath and through truly delving into the experience.
Verdict = 4/5 Stars
Release Date = April 9th 2013