Part 2 doesn’t push any boundaries, but as far as radio-baiting heaviness is concerned, displays greater cohesion and punch than most.
The conclusion to this two-part concept record is an extension of this sensibility; there's even an accompanying comic book series. It's also a heavier and less theatrical response to last year's part one. Opener, Red City builds to a curious crescendo, before Taylor unleashes a growl spewing a ferocity not observed on their records lately. He soars during infectious Stalemate and '82, but his charismatic, engaging baritone isn't the only ace up their proverbial sleeves. Josh Rand and Jim Root exchange pounding riffs, aided by a taut rhythm section. Gravesend and Peckinpah pack metallic crunch, without neglecting key melodic ingredients. The title track and crowd-rallying Do Me A Favor are hits in-waiting too, which fans will greet like a margarita on a beach during a sweltering summer's day. While somewhat laboured (Sadist) or forgettable (The Uncanny Valley) on occasion, strings and keys are tastefully infused on The Conflagration and ambient Blue Smoke.
Stone Sour's slicker-than-owl-shit hooks and sizeable commercial aspirations will continue to irk those wishing Taylor and Root would instead re-don the masks and boiler suits, then proceed to channel their inner teenage misfit. Part 2 doesn't push any boundaries, but as far as radio-baiting heaviness is concerned, displays greater cohesion and punch than most.