Corey Taylor has become the messiah of modern heavy music, fronting Stone Sour and, perhaps more importantly for a generation, Slipknot.
In this time he as also amassed a collection of music that hasn’t ever really fit either end of the spectrums covered by the radio friendly Stone Sour or the aggressive edginess of Slipknot. With this release, his first true solo album, the aim is to give a home to a collection of tracks that until now didn’t really have a home. Confused? Think of this as his answer to the collection of solo albums released by Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta, just more accessible and ready for a mainstream audience that doesn’t know they need this yet.
The album opens with the country rock feel of HWY 666 that tells Taylor’s version of events of that one time he may have met the devil whilst driving around as a young bloke. The country twang/modern pop rock feel keeps going on Black Eyes Blue that even has great duelling guitar solos and some Bon Jovi inspired woah-ohs thrown around for good measure – and a little bad taste.
The first of the slightly heavier kicks in with Samantha’s Gone as Taylor and his band kick a musical football. On an album where so many variables could be at play this track and the follow up Meine Lux are as close to familiar territory as fans of his musical output up until now may recognise.
Sure, there are plenty of decent rock tracks here, and he even unleashes his rap side on the nu-metal CMFT Must Be Stopped with Tech N9ne and some really bouncy riffs in an obvious nod towards the scene that helped bring him to prominence. Meanwhile the chipper titled Everybody Dies On My Birthday is far more rock n’ roll and positive than the title gives it credit for. The secret to this album is just how much fun Taylor is having releasing this and proving to the world at large that he is here to stay in one form or another with a middle finger raised and that smirk he seems to wear a lot. For those who don’t agree, Culture Head is the album’s statement piece with a view on the current world that Corey may not have got away with in his day jobs.
The ballads really sap the life out of proceedings with the exception of the boogie contained within The Maria Fire (No, I don’t care how good Corey Taylor sounds stripped right back: I CAME HERE TO RAWK!); the best is left for last with the frenetic punk energy of European Tour Bus Bathroom Song, a completely nonsensical burst of energy that leaves that album on a strange high note and shows one last time that this release is a labour of love for Corey Taylor and those lucky enough to be dragged into it. Just do not enter with any preconceived notions lest you be disappointed.
1. HWY 666
2. Black Eyes Blue
3. Samantha’s Gone
4. Meine Lux
5. Halfway Down
8. Culture Head
9. Everybody Dies on My Birthday
10. The Maria Fire
12. CMFT Must Be Stopped
13. European Tour Bus Bathroom Song