This review will be conducted as though any previous Stone Sour or Slipknot albums do not exist, regardless of Corey Taylor’s status as a metal/nu-metal legend. This will be written with an open mind and no expectations, so that those who have never heard the aforementioned artists will get a clear understanding of what to expect.
The opening track on House of Gold & Bones Part 1, Gone Sovereign, opens with a very strong and distorted riff on the lead guitar, with the vocals coming in to accompany. The vocals are very tough sounding as he growls a considerable amount. It is a brilliant opener for an album, as it features an epic guitar solo, and has a very thrash-metal drum beat, with a double kick to take your breath away. While it has all the ingredients of a metal song, it is far from it. Maybe alternative-rock-metal-fusion is a better way to describe it, as the lead singer does have a great singing voice, no matter how masculine and testosterone fuelled it is.
With the outro of Gone Sovereign fusing into the intro of the second track Absolute Zero, you almost confuse it with the beginning of the next song. It is another brilliant track, and would almost work if they didn’t make them two separate songs, however Absolute Zero is much more a rock anthem than a metal track. The lyrics in the bridge say ‘I can bleed if I want to bleed, I can fail if I feel the need’, (every ‘metal’ album has to mention something about blood, right?) leading into a very dark and throaty chant, before a quite pop-py chorus, almost Foo Fighters-esque. More fast guitar riffs and beefy drums accompany the emotional and heartfelt vocals.
An acoustic ballad appears as the fourth track named The Travellers. It is slow, and not only features a steel stringed acoustic guitar, but also what appears to be a string quartet. It is only a 2 and a bit minute track, and is quite angelic. Well as angelic as possible for a band that calls themself metal. The lead vocalist fights his voice with all his might so he doesn’t get that gruff growl that comes so naturally, but he pulls it off perfectly. The magnificent harmonies add to the emotion of the track. It really is a beautiful song.
My Name Is Allen is another heavy track, and is a high seller on iTunes. There is nothing overly attention grabbing about it, besides a few lines that are spoken by a demon-voiced creature/man. It has a typical palm muted guitar riff that is pretty obligatory on a metal album. It is possible that this is more of an angry song, whether the lead singer is speaking of personal experiences under the alias of Allen, or just wanted to throw it in to add to their reputation as a metal band.
It is hard to choose the best tracks on this album. As a reviewer, you only want to choose a couple of songs, but each song is so different and brilliant in its own right, and each one deserves its own little write up.
Taciturn almost goes for 5 and a half minutes, and is a song that will bring a tear to your eye as you bang your head softly with a solid fist straight up in the air. The acoustic steel string is playing a very simple progression of triplets by the side of the vocalist’s melody. It is just the two of them for the first 2 minutes, when the piano comes in adding some more depth. It sounds similar to a track named New Day by Australian prog metal band Karnivool. At the three minute mark, the percussion and distortion begins, and the lead vocals show that darkness with the slight growl in the back of his throat. The guitar solo is even more spine tingling, as the song just keeps building up. It is a hard call, but this is the best song on the album. Concluding with the same run of triplets that the song starts with, then going into an outro/intro for the next song, you just don’t want it to end.
The preceding song is not as good unfortunately, but it is not expected to be. You almost don’t want anything to be better than Taciturn as it is just a perfect track. Influence of a Drowsy God, The Traveller Part 2and Last Of The Real round out the album with some big riffs, strong bass and beefy drums, but can’t come close to what was achieved earlier in the album. It really is a great album for anyone, even if you aren’t a fan of metal, alternate metal, nu-metal, thrash or any other subgenre that this band may fall under.
The best summary would be to say that it is an extremely emotional record that features hints of rebellion through the heaviness, along with pure and raw acoustic and orchestral pieces showing not only the range of diversity this band has to offer, but telling the highs and lows of the story with is House of Gold & Bones Part 1.