The first time I heard/saw STONE SOUR was at Rock on the Range in 2013. I was a doe-eyed 20-year-old (sorry Maestro, for making you feel old again…I’m just trying to set the scene here!) and they started off with “Mission Statement” from their 2010 record Audio Secrecy, a now-favorite album by the group. Where am I going with this? Well, that was the beginning stages of my love for STONE SOUR. It grew after I first shot them in early 2014 during their House of Gold and Bones Tour. Since then, I’ve bought every single one of their records, but not the cover duology…as much as I love them, I’d rather hear originals than covers.
Anyways…the minute STONE SOUR announced that their new album was to be released this summer, I may or may not have squealed like a fangirl at an USHER show. According to the band in various interviews that circulated the interwebs, the record was said to be more rock and roll than the signature STONE SOUR sound. And I have to say, they were right. Hydrograd is officially one of the best albums this band has put out thus far. Fun fact: this is the first to feature their new members, Christian Martucci (lead guitars) and Johny Chow (bass), who joined in 2014.
At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect but after three listens (*sigh* fine…15 listens!), I found myself in awe of the disc. It started off with an audio recording of a man with a foreign accent, greeting the listeners “Hello, you bastards!” going right into those sweet and savory guitar riffs from Christian Martucci and Josh Rand and the heavy crushing drums from Roy Mayorga as well as the rhythmic thumping from Johny Chow. Definitely the best way to start things off and in a way, it kind of reminded me of Audio Secrecy’s intro. It transitioned smoothly and beautifully into “Taipei Person/Allah Tea” featuring frontman Corey Taylor’s maniacal laugh, really adding to the feel of the song.
I was absolutely blown away by the instrumental and the lyrical content of this track…I mean just wow! The next song, “Knievel Has Landed”, is one of my personal favorites. It has a great hook and a catchy chorus. I was happy to see and hear their two singles and also favorites sequenced back to back with “Song #3” and “Fabuless”. I gotta say, I’m really wondering if STONE SOUR will bring out the whacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men (challenge: try saying that five times fast!) onto the stage during “Fabuless”, seeing as they were featured in the music video.
All of the songs on Hydrograd are absolutely incredible. They have their own unique individual sound that continues to hook me throughout. One of the few other notable tracks is “Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)” because not only does the title give me a good chuckle but it has one of those beats that makes you bob your head from side to side. You’ll know what I’m rambling about once you hear it. Another one is “St. Marie”, a beautiful soft tune and I don’t know if it’s me but it has a very light hint of a country twang in the guitars. I am not a huge fan of country but hey I wasn’t even mad…I actually liked it. Like I said previously, it made it very unique. But that’s the thing about STONE SOUR, they always bring something new and incredible to the table.
Overall Hydrograd blew me away. I listened to it as a critic before listening to it as a fan and I was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. And as I said earlier, this is definitely one of the best albums STONE SOUR has released. They will be touring all summer with KORN, SKILLET, YELAWOLF, and DED, one of those dates will be in Camden and yes, yours truly will be there! I can’t wait to hear the new songs live! Again, Hydrograd will be released on June 30 via Roadrunner Records.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM