Stone Sour fans everywhere, now is the time to rejoice! After a long, four-year wait due to Corey Taylor’s Slipknot obligations, the metallers have almost completed recording their sixth album, entitled Hydrograd. Anxious to start recording the music they’d written in snatched sessions while he was on the road with ’Knot, Corey barely had time to pause for breath before hitting the studio with Stone Sour where, with the help of esteemed producer Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, Steel Panther), the band hammered out 19 songs in 30 days. Corey tells Hammer that it’s sounding like an absolute beast.
“It’s amazing. It’s probably one of the best albums I’ve ever made in my life,” he says excitedly. “We recorded it old school. We did drums and bass live, then layered the guitars, and it just gives it such a different energy. We’ve been playing it for people and they are fucking shitting their pants. The energy’s there, the songs are there, everyone’s playing their ass off.”
Where 2013’s House Of Gold & Bones was a hard-hitting, sprawling, double concept album exploring depression and the fallout of a broken relationship, Hydrograd promises to be just as adventurous. In fact, with no storyline to adhere to, the quintet – rounded out by guitarists Josh Rand and Christian Martucci, bassist Johny Chow and drummer Roy Mayorga – were free to follow the music conceptually and sonically wherever it went, the result being a vitriolic sonic fusion of rock’n’roll, hard rock, metal and punk.
“It’s all over the place musically,” reveals Corey. “In the last couple of years I started going back and getting into jazz and 80s New York hip hop. I started comparing these different styles to the spirit of punk. Hip hop was the punk rock of funk and disco. Punk rock was going against fat prog rock at the time and then metal going against everything that punk was. In its own way, the album is almost like an homage to generations of different music and how one type of music has led to the next and then to the next.”
Of course, a lot has changed since the release of House Of Gold & Bones, not least within the band itself, with guitarist Jim Root’s acrimonious departure in 2014. What was the dynamic like recording their first album without him?
“It’s interesting, it’s different,” says Corey. “I think for us it was the biggest concern but Christian is such an accomplished player in his own right. It really made it easier for us to transition.”
Following the US election, the world that will spawn Hydrograd is a much darker, scarier place, and while Corey insists it isn’t a call to arms, the band have certainly tapped into the Trump-charged anger that’s currently sweeping the world.
“What I see is more of a cultural movement, a social movement,” he explains. “The reaction on the street to some of the policies, the mindset, the inherent hatred… some of that is definitely on this album. I really wanted it to be more socially relevant than anything else. There’s always going to be more of us than there are of them, and as long as we remember that, they will never have the so-called power that they fucking purport to have. This is not a political album. Hydrograd is a social album.”
You can feel a sense of renewed energy surging through Camp Stone Sour, and it all looks set to culminate with Hydrograd, the moment when Corey thinks Stone Sour will step out of the shadows, brandishing the album they were always destined to make.
“I’m a firm supporter in earning your spot,” he says. “And I think we’re close. I think this album’s going to put us over. We’ve got the juice for it, we’ve got the tunes for it. We have always been fighting with one arm behind our back because of Slipknot. I feel like people haven’t seen the real Stone Sour yet and they’re about to. It’s going to be an interesting new chapter. We’ve decided that life is too short. Make the kind of album that you want to make – stop thinking about it, stop wishing to do it and just make it. Burn the fucking box to the goddamn ground. That’s really what this is. This album is going to smoke the way everything fucking sounds out there and I’m ready to prove it.”
Hydrograd is onsale June 30, via Roadrunner. The album is available to pre-order now.