Stone Sour wanted to do something different, so the iconic powerhouse collaborated with producer David Bottrill (Tool, Muse, Staind) for the very first time. Since bassist Shawn Economaki’s departure, they welcomed Skid Row’s Rachel Bolan and started working on their fourth studio album, House of Gold & Bones Part 1 in early 2012. The eleven song record is the first of a two-disc concept album and was released worldwide on October 23rd, 2012. It follows a linear story line about a man’s haunted dealings with his inner demons as he takes on a viciously awakening journey to find himself and change for the better.
‘Gone Sovereign’ and the second track, ‘Absolute Zero’ is a double-single released August 24th, 2012 for listeners to get their first glimpse of the concept. “It’s a one-two punch right out of the gate,” says vocalist Corey Taylor on StoneSour.com. That it certainly is, as the album kicks off to a fiery start with the trashy track ‘Gone Sovereign.’ Guitarists Jim Root and Josh Rand ignite their fret boards with dual harmonies as Taylor chimes in with his notorious vocals to unleash the intro of the album. “My mouth is a gun I can shoot, I can show you the truth, and I don’t need a reason to lie to you,” Taylor shouts during ‘Absolute Zero.’ Both tracks not only allow the audience to feel how enraged the character of the story has become; but also incorporates face melting guitar solos by Root and Rand, and masterful drumming from Roy Mayorga.
‘A Rumor of Skin’ isn’t as heavy or thrashy as the first two opening tracks, however, you feel a different type of aggressiveness with Taylor’s catchy and cynical lyrics. It is almost as if you can feel the pain of Taylor’s past through his lyrical brilliance. The fourth track, ‘Travelers, Pt. 1’ shines like a diamond. Unlike the previous songs, it contains a beautifully arranged acoustic interlude that fades into an exceptional performance delivered by Taylor. The diversity of this record is guaranteed to capture the listerner’s attention. We see the character start to break down but it seems as if there’s still an underlying glimpse of hope for happiness.
Another track that will sink its teeth into you is ’Taciturn.’ Taylor pours his heart out in a sorrowful tale about trust. The character tries to find courage to open up to the ones he loves in this heartrending tune. Laden with ravishing acoustic guitar melodies with the outro just as pleasing to the ear as the interlude, this piece is precise. ‘The Last of the Real’ closes the record in a maniacal explosion. The character has created a monster of himself out of thoughts of his past. Every ounce of rage is collected from the previous tracks, layered in heavy grooving guitar riffs, and leaves your mouth watering for the second half of the concept.
Taylor said on StoneSour.com,” There’s a good chunk of the album that’s autobiographical. It’s been a long road for me trying to get from being this youthful crazy person to this more mature crazy person. There are all of these twists and turns that come along with getting your shit together. At the same time, I never use a name in the story. I wanted to reinforce the mirror effect where you read it and can see yourself in it.”
Without a doubt, Stone Sour exceeded their ambitious quest on delivering their best performance yet. House of Gold & Bones Part 1 takes the listener on the emotional roller coaster ride that life entails while the band expands on the diversity of their music. Some might say concepts are risky, but this album is far more than the beginning of a story. The record explains the character’s thought process during certain scenes, leaving Corey Taylor to be able to elaborate on the actual story line. The second album of the concept, House of Gold & Bones Part 2, was released on April 9th of 2013. Also adding to the multimedia experience, Dark Horse Comics published a four-issue mini-series on House of Gold & Bones which was created and written by Taylor and the first issue was released April 17th of 2013. CrypticRock gives this album 5 out of 5 stars.