Stone Sour and Slipknot may compete for Corey Taylor's attention like hungry baby chicks to their mother, but there's a time and place for everything. Slipknot's wrapping up their extensive touring for 2014's .5: The Gray Chapter, and now it's Stone Sour's time to shine.
2017 offers a lot of new potential for Stone Sour, but before we can talk about the future, we have to step back and acknowledge the past. The band's breakthrough sophomore record Come What(ever) May celebrated its ten-year anniversary this year, and to celebrate, the band is releasing a special anniversary edition of the record on Friday.
Come What(ever) May is what made Stone Sour more than just "the guy from Slipknot's other band." It posed the band as a new threat in 2006, when alternative metal began taking off where nu-metal left off. It's a different entity entirely from Slipknot, but it's just as, if not more powerful and statement-worthy. Come What(ever) May still rocks hard ten years later, proving that the band can stand the test of time.
The special anniversary edition comes with a double LP set, containing both the bonus tracks from the deluxe edition of the album and five previously unreleased acoustic recordings of some album tracks. The song the band has been using to promote the new edition, 'Zzyzx Rd.,' not only received a brand new music video, but also a powerful acoustic version. The stunning music video captures the studio version's beauty through breathtaking cinematography, showing off some beautiful shots to support the song's emotion. The new acoustic version takes it a step further, though. While there's no visual accompaniment, the acoustic version is raw and powerful, the piano ringing brightly above sweet acoustic guitars. It accentuates the song's Coldplay vibes, but with Corey Taylor manning the vocals and making the song darker and more somber. This new version is very powerful, bringing stunningly emotional moments throughout the experience, both melodically and instrumentally.
We can't ignore the real meat of Come What(ever) May, though. The album made Stone Sour a threat in the alternative metal scene, and for good reason; it's combination of rock n' roll vibes and metal really stood our from a lot of other artists at the time. The album kicks off with the iconic '30/30-150,' a powerful track that serves as a bridge for Slipknot fans. The song punchy rock n' roll melodies are supported by a Slipknot-esque instrumental, providing accessibility to the people coming from that side of the spectrum. The rock n' roll vibe is what separates the two bands, though, despite the similarities between the two. The following song, the title track 'Come What(ever) May,' is much the same, channeling Stone Temple Pilots in a heavier fashion.
There is definitely a sense of brutality on this record, however. 'Hell & Consequence' rings with evil, the thick guitar powerchords thrashing with the progressive rhythm. Taylor introduces the song with violent screams, the first verse rolling by both darkly and angrily. The song's evil is captured best by its epic guitar solo, the eastern melodies soaring creepily and powerfully. More evil is brought forth by 'Reborn,' the band returning to a heavier, metal composure after a few less-upfront tracks. Stone Sour channels their inner System Of A Down here; the instrumental of 'Reborn' could easily be passed for a SOAD track. The band goes even further, adding some groove to the darkness of '1st Person,' with an Evanescence vibe backing it.
The heaviness is an important part of the record, but it's not the main focus. That's revealed by the band's signature single, 'Through Glass.' This song brought Stone Sour mainstream success, likely for its longing nature and sweet build. The song is brought in by a soft, retrospective timbre from Taylor, singing "I'm looking at you through the glass, don't know how much time has passed / Oh god it feels like forever / But no one ever tells you that forever feels like home, sitting all alone inside your head." The song's bright acoustic guitars back Taylor's beautiful yet simple lyrics. The song builds beautifully, acoustics guiding the song until its second chorus, where electric guitar and drums provide a stronger drive. The song reaches its climax in its bridge, Taylor singing "It's the stars that shine for you" above warm, clean electric guitars and driving drums. The song reprises its acoustic nature once more before bursting into a subtle build back into the energy for one final chorus. 'Through Glass' shows that Stone Sour isn't pigeonholed to songs with nothing but pessimism; this one evolves from a longing hope to a powerful release, Taylor ready to let go of what he lost.
Come What(ever) May put Stone Sour on the map. It's diverse tracklist gave it a little something for everyone, and even provided a bridge from the world of Slipknot into the world of Stone Sour. It still rocks ten years later, not a single ounce of energy or impact lost. 2017 might just be Stone Sour's year, but it's important to appreciate what they've already given us.
Favorite Tracks: Through Glass, Hell & Consequence, Reborn, Zzyzx Rd.
Least Favorite Track: Socio
Rating: 85 / 100
Buy or listen to Come What(ever) May here, and make sure you don't miss out on the special anniversary edition: