Stone Sour – Hydrograd Review
Written by deathbymosh on September 22, 2018
“Hallo, You bastards.” There has not been a more memorable introduction to a rock album that I can remember in the last ten years. Immediately you are drawn into the level of humour and irreverent attitude with which the band behind this album go about their business. Hydrograd begins with a simple phrase and an atmospheric built up introduction that is both comical and dramatic and leaves you wondering what you are in store for. The effect is more theatrical that you may be used to from Stone Sour but effective none the less.
The second track Teipei Person/ Allah Tea begins with a scream that lets you know you are in the right place. The dark riffing and the growling vocals from Cory Taylor is something that you don’t realise you have been missing until it hits your ears again. The chorus is immediately singable and sticks in your head, while the heavier verses demand you pay attention and listen.
The huge 21 track album starts with a momentum that continues on throughout the first half of the album, even the relatively light track Song #3 doesn’t allow you to rest past the minute mark. Taylor once again delivers even the more mellow moments with an urgency and ferocity that walks a tightrope beautifully and once again answers the question of why he is held in such high regard among his peers.
St. Marie slows the relentless pace of the album and gives a mostly acoustic feeling track which by this point is a welcome rest for the ears and soul. Although this could easily be a track that could appear to be phoned in in terms of both vocal and instrumental performance there doesn’t seem to even be a hint of this in the song. Instead you have an uplifting singalong that once again stands out despite its difference in feel from the rest of the album.
As a result of the feel of some of these songs there is a feel of this being a particularly radio friendly album from Stone Sour, however looking back at previous releases this has always been the case, with a few stand out tracks being the kind of thing that will get them a great deal of radio play while the real gems are tucked away in what would be considered the ‘album tracks’. On previous albums you could argue that ‘Through the glass’ and ‘Zzyzx Road’ could be the radio friendly singles however it was the rest of the ‘Come Whatever May’ album where the real quality lives.
Hydrograd is not an exception to this rule. There are singles that are yet to be released, and these stand out on the album itself, because of the way that the choruses are performed and accessible, however the darker meat of the album is what will keep you returning to this for repeated listens. The contrast between St. Marie and Demon of Mercy couldn’t be more obvious, one will be enjoyed more by the fans while the other will bet a great deal more radio attention, both great songs in their own right but Stone Sour are at their best with songs that you can lose yourself to in a whirl of drums, guitar and emotion.
Be drawn in by the singles and the music videos but stay for the heavy rock that got you into Stone Sour in the first place. Once again Taylor has released an album that will only serve to increase his standing as one of the greatest vocalists of our time.