Corey Taylor strikes again. The all-American-rock-accentuated-by-hints-of-metal sound of Stone Sour’s third studio album will bowl over fans with a gust of listenability. Audio Secrecy is a multi-layered tribute to alternative music, and is best described by Stone Sour’s frontman: “It’s heavy, it’s melodic, it’s dark, it’s slow, it’s light and it’s beautiful. You’ll hear something different with each listen.” Testament to Stone Sour’s fan clout, the triple-Grammy nominated band, which includes Slipknot’s Jim Root on guitar as well as Josh Rand (guitar), Shawn Economaki (bass) and Roy Mayorga (drums), recently headlined the second stage at 2010’s Download festival. Audio Secrecy is likely to propel the band further forward to the ‘bigger and better’.
Mission Statement is Audio Secrecy’s version of Reborn but it doesn’t seem to pack quite the same punch as its predecessor (hailing from Come What(ever) May). The Bitter End is reminiscent of Slipknot’s later style but true to the sound of Stone Sour, the song’s melody undermines the brutality of the Slipknot influence. And whilst the album boasts a couple of heavy hitters, the tracks are predominantly mellifluous, which gives Corey Taylor the most perfect opportunity to showcase the smooth soulfulness of his voice. The dual guitar work of Root and Rand makes for a ‘big sound’, so even when songs are a tad more on the mellow side the distortion infiltrates every nook and cranny. Slipknot rears its head now and again as Taylor punctuates songs with the intermittent bellow, but melody is by far the album’s vocal signature. Taylor’s lyrics are honest and the album’s depth is exemplified by the ability of songs to elicit seemingly incongruous responses. One minute, there is a desire to sit on the porch and ponder life, love and everything else… and in the blink of an eye (or the strum of a chord) that desire is jarringly interrupted by the compulsive need to get the hell up off that porch and bang the crap out of your head. Then you are left with “WTF?” A good “WTF?”, not a bad one. Threadbare is hauntingly reflective in tone… almost entirely and then desperation sets in as Taylor screams out a plea for the final 20 seconds of the song. It is totally unexpected, totally intrusive… and totally brilliant. Interestingly, Threadbare was written by Mayorga and marks a song writing debut for the drummer. Although Taylor and Root bring the fame of Slipknot to Stone Sour, the band’s art is a collaborative effort. But Taylor’s trademark charisma is undeniable and cannot escape Stone Sour. The listener never doubts that an entire heart and soul is put into each song.
While there is no stand out track of breath-taking awesomeness, the album is a well-rounded, with songs for all moods. The choruses are catchy, the ballads are beautiful, the songs are listener friendly and Audio Secrecy is thus most likely to appeal more to the band’s rock/alternative fans than its metal followers.