Stone Sour are one of the biggest rock bands in the world, fronted by possibly the best frontman in the game. They sell out arenas, they sell millions of records and they work very hard, which entitles them to do whatever the hell they want. However, as the old saying goes just because you can do whatever you want, it doesn’t always mean that its a good idea.
I am of course referring to the bands latest album(s) “The House of Gold and Bones (part 1)” of which was released last year and the second of which is what I will be discussing in this review. “Part 2” is being billed as the epic conclusion to the saga, and it’s hard when reading that tagline, as well as the press that surround the release of these two albums, not to get caught up in hyperbole. And to a degree that is what makes listening to “Part 2” of “The House Of Gold and Bones” a somewhat unrewarding task, that is of course dependent on what you wanted from the album in the first place.
This is a very story heavy album and it will reward the listeners that have followed the story and more than delivers from a narrative perspective, but in doing so it sacrifices some of the song writing aspects that Stone Sour have been known for over the years. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic songs on here, ‘Red City’, ‘Sadist’ and ‘House Of Gold and Bones’ are amongst the best tracks on the album. Along with the first single ‘Do Me A Favour,’ the bands song writing credentials have never been in question, it’s just that with this album they sound to have taken a bit of a back seat and the story seems to loom large, yet I still have no real idea what the story is all about.
Concept albums can be a tricky business, and it’s hard to get the balance right, with “Part 1” I felt that the album had some really strong songs that felt like they stood their own ground as well as serviced the concept. Whereas here on “Part 2” it feels like these tracks don’t have a life of their own, which at least for me as a listener made it very hard to find something to latch onto. It was not an easy album for me to get my head around, especially as a stand alone listen. It is by no means a bad album, it’s just a bit choked under the weight of its own concept, which unfortunately leaves it as my least favourite of Stone Sour‘s five albums and an album that despite my best efforts I just can’t seem to make it click with me.
It does, however, raise the question of where Stone Sour will possibly go from here, will they go bigger and set the bar higher with loftier ambitions or will they return to their roots with something smaller and more personal. Only time will tell on that front, but for now Stone Sour have pushed themselves to the limit and for the most part its paid off.