House of Gold and Bones Part 2 is the latest offering from US-based band Stone Sour.

As the title suggests the highly anticipated 5th 12-track album is a two-part series with House of Gold and Bones Part 1 being released 2012. The album is a project connected with a 4-part graphic novel series written by Corey Taylor that accompanies the albums, telling the linear storyline featured in the twin albums lyrics.

An echo-eerie slow piano and vocals open the album with the track 'Red City', setting the stage for diversity with the track ending on a darker heavier quicker beat. Corey's vocal delivery on this track ranges from a melancholy and melodic performance, following onto a copious well anticipated half-screamed vocal on 'Black John'. The bass, drums and guitar riffs become more consistently recognised and pick-up the pace.

'Saddist' is the third track with a simple introductory beat, leading into a trade-off between the mournful guitar, loaded screams and a guitar solo. 'Peckinpah' is certainly amped and accelerated all-round, but still goes back to glimpses of a sorrowful sound. Both songs have agile bursts of animated solos.

Tracks five and six 'Stalemate' and 'Gravesend' lend the focus to the bass, guitar play-offs and more pronounced screams seeing us through a diverse first half, following onto the second half of the album. Track 10 'Do Me A Favour' for its amped and animated flavour and 'The Conflagration' sparks your attention for its soulful 'ballad-type' sound which emerges from the combination of Corey's voice and guitars playing off each-other and the added sounds of cello, violin and viola.

House of Gold and Bones Part 2 finds the band stretching their skills further offering great guitar work, while Corey Taylor provides piano on a few tracks in addition to vocals. Roy Mayorga handles drums as well as synthesisers and piano on several tracks. Rachel Bolan from Skid Row filled in on bass again on the album. There are the expected heavier tracks, ranging from hard rock to alternative-metal, but also there are some more "ballad" type tracks.

Playing Part 1 and Part 2 in succession, you can note a large amount of cohesiveness and equality. The guitar solos on the album were masterfully completed, just as you would expect from James Root and Josh Rand. The biggest difference between the two parts would be more usage of creepy ambient passages in Part 2.

Corey Taylor always provides a stellar vocal performance, and this album is no exception. In addition, there are four guest vocalists credited under code names: Stubs, Lady, Truck and Sinner. His vocal delivery could be described as dynamic, providing exactly what the song needs at any given time.

The lyrics from the album are the exceptional highlight, moving along the story of the concept album and makes me eager to get my hands on the comic. The lyrics do a great job of creating an atmosphere to capture your imagination.

The standout song on the album is 'Red City', based on the hollow-eerie piano and bass introduction, followed by 'Sadist' and 'The Conflagration'. There is a quirky quality to several of the melodies and rhythms in the album that really hypnotises your attention.

The album is fantastic and keen to see what Stone Sour does next.

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