Corey Taylor – CMF2 (Album Review)

Corey Taylor CMF2 album review 2023

Corey Taylor – CMF2
Released: September 15, 2023

Line Up

Corey Taylor // vocals & guitar
Zach Throne // rhythm & lead guitars
Dustin Robert // drums
Christian Martucci // rhythm & lead guitars
Eliot Lorango // bass


X / Twitter 

Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor returns with the sort of anticipated second album, imaginatively titled CMF2. A bit of a disclaimer first up: I found his debut album, CMFT, a little bit of a hot mess of styles and influences. The rap rock of ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’ did little for me, despite its undeniable hook. I didn’t mind the more Stone Sour-esque rock of ‘Black Eyes Blue’ and ‘Samantha’s Gone’ and really dug the outlaw hard rock of ‘HWY666’ and the punk rock explosion of ‘European Tour Bus Bathroom’. Needless to say there was a lot happening as Mr Taylor got all his non-Slipknot ideas out onto record. So to say I was super hyped about this album would be misleading. Indeed, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  

In terms of building hype, first single Beyondwas a worthy introduction. It’s got the melodic approach that he found success with on his debut but riff wise really goes in a different direction. It’s much more layered and arguably calls back to experience jamming with Velvet Revolver. It’s a driving hard rock tune with Corey adding clean vocals. Drummer Dustin Robert really hits it hard and keeps the momentum going throughout. Not flashy but gives the guitars some room to shine. ‘Talk Sickfollows a similar template of driving rhythms on the verses and a big hook, this time infused with a punk snarl before the screaming solos. There’s hand claps too, which will be a treat live. The end of the song gets really heavy, with Corey busting out the growls. 

The heavy fans will look to the single Post Traumatic Blues as a killer start. It’s a thundering, aggressive tune with plenty of double kicks and some great riffs that touch on glam and classic metal melodies. Corey’s vocal delivery is unmistakably his voice, particularly for fans of his masked work with Slipknot.

Musically though it’s nothing like the tunes pumped out by the 9. The solo in particular is real guitar hero stuff from Zach Throne and Christian Martucci, echoing the kind of hammering we did to the video game when emulating the likes of Slash and Dave Mustaine

It’s not all bedlam though. Opener ‘The Box’ is an acoustic track in the vein of Taylor’s unplugged solo shows. There’s some Beatles harmonies that pop too but it’s largely Corey and his guitar. ‘Breath of Fresh Smoke’ is another acoustic tune but it’s a little more country and upbeat. The dude has traditionally nailed these kinds of slower numbers (‘Bother’, ‘Snuff’) so it’s no surprise these are cool tunes. Finally there’s the more sombre ‘Sorry Me’, a song that captures failure and the resulting self-loathing. Fans of ‘Bother’ in particular will dig this one as it’s very raw and capture that reflective side of Taylor’s psyche. 

On the whole CMF2 is more aggressive than its predecessor. Latest single ‘We Are the Rest’ is unashamedly punk rock with its high energy tempo and tougher vocals. It’s still melodic though (more Cheap Trick than Black Flag) and fits neatly with the other tunes. Worth noting is that Taylor is still pretty blue with his language so if you think this is a good gateway for younglings maybe think again. It’s a pumping track though that should be added to your gym playlist ASAP. There’s also the stomping and peacocking vibe of ‘Punchline’ in which Corey shouts down his critics with a cool groove. It’s got a gnarly little breakdown that’s led by Eliot Lorango on bass and ends in a thrash fest! 

The singles are all very good songs but to get a whole album over the top I’m looking for something a bit different. ‘Midnight’ delivers. It’s a slower tune that builds to a crescendo of wailing guitars and Taylor modulating his vocals for the final bridge. It’s grungy but epic in less than four minutes. Less successful is the more forgettable ‘Starmate’, which appears to be delivered earnestly before Taylor exclaims “oh fuck!” and the song moves into a hard rock direction. Of the 13 tracks I could’ve done without this one.

The cohesion and consistency ends around the final three tracks. There’s the arena rock we get from ‘Someday I’ll Change Your Mind’, which wouldn’t be totally out of line if Dave Grohl or The Edge (U2) chimed in. It’s effortlessly cool and composed to rock bigger venues and get a singalong going with its “whoa oh oh” chorus. It won’t be for everyone, especially considering there’s other tunes with death growls. The broad spectrum of traditional rock he covers extends to ‘All I Want is Hate’, which is punk infused hardcore. Straight up brutal and as far away from ‘Someday…’ or ‘Sorry Me’ as you can get. And then, because Mr Taylor can’t help himself, there’s classic metal riffs (think mid-80s Iron Maiden) to open the final song ‘Dead Flies’. It’s more groovy than Maiden but unmistakably a metal tune with a huge clean hook. The guitars absolutely scream and if I can say one thing – they sound absolutely magnificent across the whole record.

For people who thought his first record was more poo than gold, I think you give Corey Taylor a second chance on CMF2. It’s heavier and more aggressive than his debut but still has lots of melody and good singalong tunes. He scales back the hip hop bravado and utilises his twin guitarists for a head banging good time. 


Corey Taylor – CMF2 tracklisting:

1. The Box
2. Post Traumatic Blues
3. Talk Sick
4. Breath Of Fresh Smoke
5. Beyond
6. We Are The Rest
7. Midnight
8. Starmate
9. Sorry Me
10. Punchline
11. Someday I’ll Change Your Mind
12. All I Want Is Hate
13. Dead Flies

Rating: 8.6/10
CMF2 is out September 15, 2023 via BMG. Get it here
Review by KJ Draven (Twitter X and Instagram).