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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Reviews: Stone Sour, Triaxis, Doogie White

Stone Sour: House Of Gold & Bones Part 1 (Roadrunner)
No longer Corey Taylor's 'other' band Stone Sour have become more of a going concern than the 9 (now unfortunately 8) man killing machine that made his name. If I'm honest I have always preferred Stone Sour over Slipknot as it shows what a good vocalist Taylor actually is. As you can tell this is the first part of a two album concept and it is also the first studio album to feature former Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan rather founder member Shawn Economaki (touring bassist will be Johny Chow). This album manages to move away from the soft and slightly too melodic previous effort and ramps the metal back up to eleven. The album ranges from alternative to full on heavy metal with opening track the thrashy Gold Sovereign which moves into the pulsing Absolute Zero which opens the album in great style. What is evident from the first few songs is that James Root and Josh Rand have been given free rein on the solo's front as nearly every track features either a guitar solo or a killer instrumental break, as in A Rumour Of Skin. The band can still pull out the occasional slower song with the acoustic and orchestral The Travellers Pt. 1 before it turns into the doomy Tired which is full of the world-hating, self-depreciating lyrics that Taylor does excellently. Speaking of Taylor he is as usual on top-form but seems to have brought some of his Slipknot venom to Stone Sour especially on RU486 but this is opposition to his croon on the super-ballad lament of Taciturn which shows his subtle side when backed by a simple acoustic guitar and piano. This is a very good album that will probably only be fully appreciated when the second part is released next year however it is shaping up to be the best Stone Sour release yet. 8/10

Triaxis: Rage & Retribution (Rocksector Records)

Welsh metallers return with their second album and by Jove they've done it again as the long period of touring since the last album has made this one heavier, louder and much with a much more defined sound. The first album took a huge amount of Iron Maiden influence and this one too has some of 'Arry's Army key sounds with the galloping Black Trinity and the progressive Some Things Are Worth Dying For (which has to be the sequel to These Colours Don't Run or Coming Home). There are also some nods to other classic metal bands such as Priest (step forward Under Blood Red Skies) however the band have also brought in some Megadeth thrash on the blitzkrieg opener of Sand & Silver they have also embraced more modern metal with The Infected illustrating this perfectly. The production is great very crisp and clean and the band are all playing their hearts out, the guitars shred with some fantastic soloing also making its presence felt. The drums are big and propulsive and they work with the bass to anchor all of the tracks with supreme power and as on the first album Krissie's vocals are excellent with some awesome range which is illustrated perfectly on Asunder which is followed by the off-kilter and proggy And Shadows Creep and the instrumental showcase of XGP. This album has no filler and every track will be fantastic in the live setting but mostly it shows that Triaxis are producing some top quality British metal and this album is a testament to that. 8/10     

Doogie White: As Yet Untitled (Metal Mind)

Scottish vocalist Doogie White (La Paz, Cornerstone formally of Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen and every band ever at some point) finally releases a solo album and really there was no doubt how this was going to go down as the album is chock full of hard rock which is something White is very suited to doing as he has one of the best voices in rock. Things kick off with the Deep Purple pastiche Come Taste The Band which features the unmistakable vocals of long-term Meatloaf alumni Patti Russo, this track is drenched in organ form Tony Carey and really gets things moving. White's vocals has elements of Ian Gillan, David Coverdale, Glen Hughes, Biff Byford and Brian Johnson on Time Machine. He shows some immense vocal power on every track backed by a cast of excellent revolving door musicians, Hammerfall guitarist Pontus Norgern supplies the majority of the six stringing and also all of the production, Paul Logue of Eden's Curse handles most of the bass and the drums are shared between Patrick Johansson and Thomas Broman. Despite not having a 'stable' line up the album is consistently full of powerful hard rock the pacey Land Of The Deceiver (which is a great Saxon-like song) and the epic Dreams Lie Down And Die. The Rainbow link runs throughout with Secret Jesus being the most similar, the AC/DC homage of Catz Got Yer Tongue has all the swagger of Angus and Co, it is followed by the 80's style rocker Living On The Cheap which has some great keys from Derek Sherninian, the acoustic Sea Of Emotion shows the fragility of White's voice before the album ends with the storming Times Like These. This is one of the best hard rock albums I have heard in years big ballsy and full of great rock homages all of which handled by one of the most expansive vocalist in the business. Simply a flawless example of its genre. 10/10

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