Stone Sour has always been an odd sort of experiment. Normally you’d expect the band of straight-ahead rockers to don wild costumes and thrash out behind a shroud of anonymity. Instead we find members of shock rock outfit Slipknot stripping away the makeup and bombast of their day job for something that seems subdued in comparison, creating a driving sound that manages to be more mature while avoiding the shambolic pitfalls of Kiss’ “unmasked” period. For their third album, Audio Secrecy, maturity feels like the name of the game. There’s still a fair amount of Stone Sour’s hard rock heaviness, but rather than delivering another collection of chugging riffs, the band has made an effort to add some depth to their sound. Tracks like “Threadbare” and “Say You’ll Haunt Me” are busier and more atmospheric than anything on the band's previous outings, demonstrating a more melodic and layered approach to songwriting. It’s as if the band is tossing aside the last vestiges of post-grunge angst to create an album that’s meant to do more than just get people worked up without sacrificing any quality in the songwriting department. Standing out on Audio Secrecy is “Nylon 6/6,” which brings together everything the band is trying to do in one place with vocalist Corey Taylor really getting to use his full vocal range as his singing shifts from guttural to soaring to stay in line with guitar work that feels reminiscent of the Deftones’ juxtaposition of heavier riffs with lighter vocals and vice versa. It’s always great to see a band that’s able to tweak its sound without watering it down, and that’s exactly what Stone Sour have accomplished here, showing that it’s possible for hard rock bands to make their sound bigger without necessarily making it blunter.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney