Friday, 2 October 2009

Free Download Friday #29: Mellow Metal

I remarked to a student recently that I couldn't see the attraction of Slipknot. My preference is for classic, progressive and blues oriented rock, though I'm not adverse to a bit of metal now and then. What little I've heard of Slipknot hasn't impressed. However, the student suggested I should give Stone Sour a try, a band founded by the lead vocalist from Slipknot.

Stone Sour Download

Originally uploaded by Andy_Pattison
To my surprise, I discovered that I had a Stone Sour track on my iPod already. It came from a Classic Rock magazine cover mounted CD. I'd given it five stars. To be honest, it had never occurred to me that there was any connection with Slipknot as the Stone Sour track has a very different feel to it. The track is called Through Glass and is beautifully melodic with a an acoustic beginning and a great noisy rock climax.

I decided to look far something else of theirs to listen to and found my way to their label's site - Roadrunner Records. Roadrunner Records featured in my very first Free Download Friday post and so it is about time I checked back there to see what was new. I was pleased to see a Stone Sour track available for download. The track is off their Come What(ever) May album and is called Zzyzx Rd. The best description I can come up with for it is: power ballad. Piano features heavily at the start of the track and Corey Taylor sounds lost and vulnerable as his vocals join the piano. I must look for the lyrics to see what this track is about because even as the other instruments kick in and Corey's voice becomes stronger, the sense of vulnerability remains. The guitar solo that features towards the end is well worth hearing. It is loose but controlled in a way the fits perfectly with the mood of the song - beautiful. As I said, I'm not sure what the song is about but it reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb - in tone at least. It has the feel of a song by someone who has reached the bottom.

Re-reading the last couple of sentences, it doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement but I like this track (four stars on my iPod) and I strongly recommend you check it out.

Black Stone Cherry Download
While you are at the Roadrunner site, you should also look for Black Stone Cherry. Currently they are offering Things My Father Said for download, another ballad. A bit different from the Southern Rock sound that has made them famous but a track that's had a fair bit of airplay on Rock Radio and one that's definitely grown on me.

And Finally...

I don't know whether to be pleased or worried that Jeff (from Totally Free Music) also headed over to Roadrunner Records to recommend a free download this week. Is it that great minds think alike or a case of fools that seldom differ? First Suburban Home recordings and now Roadrunner. Hopefully next week we'll end up in different places. :-)

Sorry that things have been so quiet in this blog but I was too busy over the last week with education stuff. I'll try to do better next week.


Mosher said...

The one time I saw Stone Sour was at the Graspop festival in Belgium in 2008. They were utterly brilliant, and even played Zzyzx Road. Corey introduced it along the lines of "A lot of people said we shouldn't play this one as it's not hard enough. But that's what music is all about - playing what you like. It doesn't all have to be the same."

Friend of mine who was with me said the hairs were up on the back of her neck by the end of it.

In honesty I'd look forward more to a new Stone Sour album than another Slipknot one. The latter have run out of novelty for me now.

Jeff said...

Haha, and welcome to another week of Totally Free Music Musings! For my part, I just really wanted to write about my experience with the new Megadeth album, and how it was free music that brought me back to them after being away for a long time. It was meant to be a follow-up to my "Head Crusher" post more than anything. I headed over to the Roadrunner site for... well, I'm not sure what for, actually. I think I just followed the old link to the "Head Crusher" download and it redirected me to their artist page, where I found another song available for download. A free download plus some semi-random thoughts equaled a post that I was fairly proud of.

As for Suburban Home Records, I ended up picking Two Cow Garage's III as my free album, on the strength of the "Should've California" track. I wanted to make a post about that too, but my download code ended up arriving on the last day of the giveaway, so I didn't have time to do up a proper post.

David said...

Hello Mosher

I don't like the whole image of Slipknot. I have the same reaction to Marilyn Manson and Kiss. The image seems too contrived, too worked. It feels like they're trying to manipulate me and I can't see past that to enjoy the music. I used to think that if I heard the music not knowing who did it I might like it... but that doesn't seem to be the case with Slipknot at least. Is the music too contrived too?

The two tracks from Stone Sour that I've heard though seem to be a different kettle of fish and I'll certainly keep my eye out for mor from them.

Hello Jeff

I've been meaning to write up my Suburban Home choice for a while now... maybe tomorrow. :-)

Mosher said...

Hey David - no, I can see where you're coming from. I actually disliked Slipknot's first album simply because it seemed all image and one-hit-wonder-y.

I actually got into their third album first and it, like Stone Sour, does offer a couple of huge departures music-wise.

Check out Duality as something akin to Stone Sour's heavier stuff with a great chorus; Vermilion's a good mix; Before I Forget is really bouncy and made it into Guitar Hero III; Vermilion Pt2 is acoustic and lovely - you'd never believe it was Slipknot;Danger - Keep Away is very slow and unusual, too.

I think what's different (or *was* different - I guess there'll be a million copycats by now) is the hugely percussion-led sound. With one drummer and three other guys banging on things it can sound a little raucous until you get used to it. But if you actually sit and listen to some of it, it's incredible how they get all of these percussion tracks to interleave - let alone manage it live.

KISS I enjoy, but their whole point was to manipulate and sell merchandise based on their image. You have to admit, it worked. Despite some of the best material being released during the "unmasked" era, they're raking it in far more now they've whacked on the make-up again.