STONE SOUR – Hydrograd (Album Review)

STONE SOUR – Hydrograd
Released: 30th June, 2017


Corey Taylor – Vocals
Christian Martucci – Guitars
Josh Rand – Guitars
Johny Chow – Bass
Roy Mayorga – Drums

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Stone Sour are set to release album number six at the end of June following on from two cover EP’s, Meanwhile in Burbank and Straight Outta Burbank and whilst this album is a step back into the more mainstream friendly Stone Sour there is still a lot to love about new album, Hydrograd. That’s not to say this album is a classic. For starters, it contains a whopping 15 songs and to be honest a lot of the impact is lost traipsing through this much material. At times, it can be repetitive and for mine the ballad, whilst Corey Taylor has pulled off some great ballads in the past, kind of missed the target with the track, ‘St Marie’, it’s foot firmly planted in, dare I say it, country rock.

However, let’s focus on the good. The album kicks off with a Russian voiceover, “Hello, you bastards” before a little drum and guitar intro leading into ‘Taipei Person – Allah Tea’. A weird song title but automatically that riff machine is there, new guitarist, Christian Martucci settling in with ease alongside regular, Josh Rand. If you missed the news since the band’s last full album, House of Gold and Bones 2, Jim Root, also Slipknot’s guitarist was dumped due to what was called, ‘musical differences’. It seems Root wanted to head in a more metal direction whilst Corey Taylor and the boys decided radio friendly rock was the way to go. #awkies. Anyways, Martucci is a fine guitarist and the riffs across the album are killer, including one or two decent solos. Nothing to emulate Tremonti or Slash heights but good all the same. The Track, ‘Song #3’ for instance and ‘Mercy’ are good examples.


90% of Hydrograd is melodic rock ’n roll, only heading into a more metal range when Corey decides he wants to go beast mode now and then. ‘Knievel Has Landed’ and ‘Whiplash Pants’ the best of this so-called ‘beast mode’ Corey can land into. The latter track probably the closest resemblance to anything Slipknot would drop and to be honest, my favourite track on the album simply because of that fact. And, yes, I’m aware Stone Sour and Slipknot are entirely different, but I prefer the aggressive Corey.

The production overall is first class and as you would expect ballsy and highlights Corey’s remarkable vocal range something I wish he had expressed more on Hydrograd. It seems most of the tracks across the record have Corey in melodic mood and some of the shades of his genius seem to have been wasted. There’s no ‘Through the Glass’ moments, and as stated prior, only ‘St Marie’ is the ballad and I wanted to plunge a pencil into my ears after heading it. I don’t do country and the backing female vocals just made me cringe.

On more of a good note, ‘Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb and So Am I)’, is a straight-out radio rock friendly track that is more in line with something Foo Fighters would release. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just getting your head around the fact after the House of Gold and Bones albums where Stone Sour were very dark as they explored concept albums consecutively.


The album concludes with ‘When the Fever Broke’, a slow burn of a track that doesn’t lead to anything spectacular and just dawdles to its anti-climactic ending. So, some hits, some misses on Hydrograd. Length wise it is too long and all too similar but it still enforces Corey Taylor’s superb rock voice, and despite its misses here and there is a good hard rock album.

STONE SOUR – Hydrograd Track listing
1. “YSIF”
2. “Taipei Person / Allah Tea”
3. “Knievel Has Landed”
4. “Hydrograd”
5. “Song #3”
6. “Fabuless”
7. “The Witness Trees”
8. “Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)”
9. “Thank God It’s Over”
10. “St. Marie”
11. “Mercy”
12. “Whiplash Pants”
13. “Friday Knights”
14. “Somebody Stole My Eyes”
15. “When the Fever Broke”

Rating: 6.5/10
Hydrograd is out June 30 via Roadrunner Records
Review by @plugga73

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About Plugga73 (370 Articles)
Writing, reviewing, interviewing, exploring new and old heavy music. From punk to grunge to hardcore to death metal to thrash and everything in between. I've been writing in the music industry now for several years including the websites LOUD, SF Media, Tone Deaf, The Metal Review and AMNplify. I'll be the one talking about bands from the 90s all the time..... Hit me up on twitter @Plugga73