STONE SOUR AND SLIPKNOT:
COMPARING APPLES TO ORANGES
An article by Gerswin Reynolds
One of the biggest complaints that many Slipknot fans seem to have in the last few years is that some new Slipknot songs sounds like Stone Sour music. It is a point of contention that turns many fans off. I’ve struggled to see where this comparison comes from, and to be honest, am not sold by many of the arguments made by this camp. After all they are two different bands with the commonalities being very minute.
First we should take this into consideration: Stone Sour came before Slipknot, or at least, the Slipknot we have come to know and love. Corey Taylor has said that he reformed Stone Sour in the break between Iowa and Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses because he was looking to create music he was not able to with Slipknot. For the reformation of the band, Taylor recruited co-founder Josh Rand, and fellow Slipknot member Jim Root.
Though every musician plays a part in crafting a band’s sound, I believe that in most cases the two members that are essential contributors of the band’s sound are the vocalist and the guitarist. We can look at Alice in Chains, Guns n’ Roses, AC/DC and U2 as examples of this. Because Jim Root was a contributor to both band’s sound, musically there will be similarities. Jim Root had the ability to play both lead guitar and rhythm guitar, often writing whole songs for both bands. His presence was definitely felt in the music when he played slide harmonics in his riffs or his intricate guitar fills. But Root shared guitar duties with Rand in Stone Sour and Mick Thompson in Slipknot who also contribute to the sound.
Average music listeners often identify with the singer of whatever songs they hear first, because vocals are easy to latch onto. Corey Taylor being the singer of both bands certainly would make people think they are the same. However, Slipknot came to be known as one of the heaviest bands of the last 20 years because of their recorded aggression and their chaotic lives performances. Iowa is still one of the most brutal record releases ever to date. Stone Sour has been a lot more embracing of melody, and its musical appeal has garnered it much more radio play. Because of this, melody has been prevalent on Stone Sour releases, with Slipknot embracing it only more recently.
Aside from the vocalist and the guitarist, the similarities end there. Slipknot is another beast. They have a distinctive percussion section, with two more drummers than the average band. One of the biggest differences Slipknot has going for it is Craig Jones and Sid Wilson. Both these men add a claustrophobic and eerie atmosphere that is not present on any of Stone Sour’s releases. Whether it’s Wilson’s samples and scratching turntables, or the ominous drone of Jones’s Keys, each Slipknot song is peppered with sound. Songs like “The Virus of Life,” “Iowa,” “Prelude 3.0” would never appear on a Stone Sour release. Taking it one step further, “Snuff,” and “Killpop” are two songs with overwhelmingly beautiful melodies, but have a melancholy and sonic landscape that Stone Sour has yet to venture.
Slipknot has gone on record to say that much of the band’s sound comes from former members Paul Gray and Joey Jordison. Joey Jordison listens to a lot of Death Metal, Grindcore, and Thrash music that seemed its way into Slipknot’s earlier music. The experimentation aspect came later on, separating Slipknot further from metal and into its own genre.
The attitude each band has toward their music separates them the most. Stone Sour is first and foremost a rock band. They approach music from the standpoint of making solid music that has a means of connecting to people. Slipknot has the same mentality, but is about something a little more visceral and real…They are about pain. Slipknot’s music is a gritty, dark pit that is filled with all the worst things in the world reflected in their mask and in their stage shows.
Both these bands have carved out their place in the musical landscape by selling an incredible number of records and being the best they can be. Slipknot has already cemented its place in rock history, and if they don’t implode, they can continue to make compelling and interesting music for many years to come. Stone Sour has the chance to do the same, but they are just beginning to scratch the surface of what they are capable of doing. I love both these bands, and will be eagerly awaiting new music.
I am proud to host an article on a wicked comparison between Slipknot and Stone Sour by Senior Editor and musician Gerswin Reynolds. To find out more about Gerswin, sneak peek into his music background and bio at:
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