Album Review: Stone Sour – Hello, You Bastards: Live In Reno

Stone Sour bring the noise with their first-ever live album, Hello, You Bastards: Live In Reno

Album Review: Stone Sour – Hello, You Bastards: Live In Reno
Paul Travers

You might not have noticed, but Corey Taylor has been kind of busy of late, as Slipknot set about re-establishing their position as the biggest and most important metal band of the 21st Century. Their ongoing touring and the rumoured arrival of the unreleased material album Look Outside Your Window is certain to overshadow anything else the band’s members might get up to, but Stone Sour are here to give longstanding fans a treat and remind everyone else that, ‘hey, we’re still a thing, too’.

It would probably be slightly unfair to describe Slipknot as the vocalist’s day job band. He was, after all, in Stone Sour first, and he always seems at least as passionate about his more rock‘n’roll and mask-free outfit as he does the ‘Knot. And while nobody could claim that Stone Sour have had as great an impact on the music scene as that band, they have nevertheless been important in their own way. Some of that more melodic approach to songwriting has undoubtedly bled between the two bands, and Stone Sour have been one of the most successful hard rock acts of the past couple of decades in their own right.

They’ve also played countless live shows in the 19 years since a success-flushed Corey first revived them in 2000 and, as anyone who’s been to one could testify, you’re always guaranteed a rager. That’s essentially what this live album promises. There doesn’t seem to be any great reasoning behind it beyond the fact that ‘It’s about time’, but for its core audience that’s probably enough. Newcomers might be better advised starting someplace else – like their ambitious and arguably best studio album House Of Gold & Bones – Part 1, but this is still good stuff for anyone who hears it.

Hello, You Bastards… (a wonderful title) does everything you expect from a live album. It’s weighted heavily in favour of the more streamlined and accessible Hydrograd album, although the hits are to be found in abundance, too. Admirably, the band insist there are absolutely no overdubs here, with guitarist Josh Rand declaring, “It’s not perfect but neither are we.” To that end, the sound has a genuinely raw live edge to it, but there are no real clangers as a result of this nakedness. There’s plenty of gobby banter on Corey’s part (“Are you guys ready to shake some shit with me tonight?” he enquires at one point) and the audience get to contribute as they take over on Bother or audibly sing back on Tired.

Stone Sour have some great songs and they know how to deliver them in an effective, raucous fashion. That’s not enough to make this album essential, but it’s one that does exactly what it’s supposed to.

Verdict: 3/5

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