Sounds like precisely the sort of band that Slipknot was formed to destroy

As Joey Jordison once again indulges his 80s horror sleaze rock fantasy, his Slipknot colleagues Corey Taylor and Jim Root are advancing a rather more mature — though arguably much less fun — musical argument with their third Stone Sour album.

Stone Sour has consistenty transcended the post-grunge genre. Always heavily populated by horrible bands that in effect destroyed everything grunge actually stood for, that really wouldn’t take much, but the lush melodies and diversity of the performance — particularly from Taylor — lifts it well above the usual mire of that ilk. It isn’t perfect, and tends to see-saw too dangerously and too often between radio fodder and metallic rock, but Audio Secrecy is another solid effort from the band. “Mission Statement” and “Digital (Did You Tell)” open the album in a big rocking if unspectacular way ahead of the darker, brooding “Say You’ll Haunt Me”, the first demonstration of Stone Sour’s more layered, melodic approach this time around. “Dying” veers close to the type of insidious dreck the likes of Nickleback have foisted upon us in recent years before “Let’s Be Honest” gets everything somewhat back on track.

It’s from here on that Audio Secrecy seems to get confused, alternatively mellowing then busting into a heavy vibe again. After another almost balladic track in “Hesitate”, “Nylon 6/6” rides in like a bastardized version of “Song Remains the Same” before exploding into what is almost a Slipknot song, albeit without the necessary twisted groove. That it takes until track nine for the album to reach this height says something about the way the track list is loaded. Indeed, “The Bitter End” and “Threadbare” are also clear highlights that loom over clutter like “Miracles” and “Unfinished” and help to emphasise that, at 54 minutes, Audio Secrecy is at least 15 minutes too long.

For the most part, Audio Secrecy delivers as a solid collection of modern heavy rock, but it feels padded out by too tracks. It also again emphasises the schizophrenic nature of Taylor and Root’s musical guises because more often than not here, Stone Sour sounds like precisely the sort of band that Slipknot was formed to destroy.

1. Audio Secrecy
2.  Mission Statement
3. Digital (Did You Tell)
4. Say You’ll Haunt Me
5. Dying
6. Let’s Be Honest
7. Unfinished
8. Hesitate
9. Nylon 6/6
10. Miracles
11. Pieces
12. Bitter End
13. Imperfect
14. Threadbare