Stone Sour, a spin-off of the Des Moines, Iowa, metal kings Slipknot, delivers a nice blend of fast, aggressive rock on the group's third album, "Audio Secrecy."
The quintet is fronted by Slipknot lead singer Corey Taylor. He approaches nearly every lyric with a sense of urgent pathos, demanding the listener's attention with a kind of stranglehold that's hard to deny. It's an approach that can verge on corny in the wrong hands, but Taylor has this delivery down cold and works it to great effect.
Most of these are love songs, played so loud and fast and breathlessly paced you'll sometimes forget there's a heart at stake.
"Unfinished" storms out of the gate with a stuttered crunch of metal guitar, then smoothly segues into a fast song about a bit of redemption. Taylor sings about being wronged, trusting a bit too much and not repeating those mistakes in the future.
"With my fingers crossed behind my back, I let your words slip through my cracks," Taylor sings to high effect on "Unfinished," one of the album's top tracks.
Stone Sour delivers its best on "Digital," a song with epic overtures as Taylor sings about "disfunction over fashion." There are crafty breaks in the pace with soaring guitar turns on this track and it has the feel of a crossover between metal and something only slightly softer.
Whatever music store shelf Stone Sour lands on, metal or hard rock, they've proven one thing on "Audio Secrecy." They can do extremely well in both and have delivered some anthem-worthy material with this release.
Check this track out: "Dying" has moments of sounding like Warrant, with the lead vocals reaching high above the usual angry grunts and growls of hard rock and metal. It's an I-can't-live-without-you love song that works because of the great dramatic effort and vocal showmanship.