Over the years, Corey Taylor has cemented himself as one of the metal scene’s most influential musicians, especially given his swift rise to fame fronting Slipknot, a band that needs no introduction. It was almost like they came out of nowhere and gave the world of rock a band that was sorely needed and which helped define this generation of metalheads. Nine musicians, each adding a unique layer to possibly one of the most creative metal groups to emerge for decades and Slipknot, the debut self-titled behemoth of an album, steamrolled throughout the world accompanied by news of the band’s intense live shows. They turned heads and turned some into life-long fans while others viewed them as a dangerous influence. However you viewed them, though, Slipknot made a statement that was impossible to ignore.
Like so many successful artists, Taylor clearly did not want to be confined to just one act and opted to spread his wings with a side project. Enter Stone Sour. Using this band as a springboard to flex his creative muscles, Taylor toned down the heavy allowing this group to stand apart from Slipknot and develop its own identity. Even though Stone Sour had a sound that set it apart from Slipknot, Taylor was still working with various Slipknot members so, although Stone Sour was different, the band still had an element of living in Slipknot’s shadow.
Now, Taylor is out to create something for himself; no band name, no other Slipknot alumni linking him to his original big break. His debut solo recording, CMFT, demonstrates that Taylor truly is not just the man behind the mask! Opening with “HWY 666,” the track instantly gives off the classic ‘80s vibe, although only briefly as it quickly drifts into an almost country style, but still mixed with ‘80s rock. It is clear from the outset, if you were looking for a Slipknot/Stone Sour clone, you are in the wrong place! Despite my previous statement, I will confess that there are several songs that would feel well at home on a Stone Sour record; I believe that this could easily be put down to the simple fact that we know Taylor is the vocalist and the link is there. The guitar riffs on “Samantha’s Gone” sound like they would be perfectly at home on a KISS record, but, despite this, Taylor still maintains through his vocals that this track is just a tune influenced by a style that was made popular over 40 years ago!
Yes, there is a heavy ‘80s influence I have picked up on, but “Meine Lux” flips the script and goes for a British punk rock vibe, still ‘80s, but a completely different style, and even geographical location of where the influence came from. The simplicity of the riffs and vocals echo the days when the likes of the Sex Pistols rose to fame, although I will state the production is very much superior in this song. Shifting eras by a decade, the track “CMFT Must be Stopped (featuring Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie)” embraces the ‘90s hip-hop invasion of the rock scene, a crossover no one, at the time, realized they wanted, but needed. It was a tried and tested cocktail utilized by Aerosmith and Run DMC before, but sadly quickly forgotten until the likes of Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock rejuvenated this union.
I have always believed Taylor to be a talented artist, but until CMFT I didn’t realize the extent of his abilities. He has taken elements of popular, but past styles, and added in a modern twist. By doing this he has paid homage to past acts but also refused to be confined by the expected style. I think I am confessing that CMFT is the most joyous record received by my ears in 2020. (And the Deftones also released an album this year!)
CMFT Track Listing:
1. HWY 666
2. Black Eyes Blue
3. Samantha’s Gone
4. Meine Lux
5. Halfway Down
8. Culture Head
9. Everybody Does my Birthday
10. The Maria Fire
12. CMFT Must be Stopped (feat. Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie)
13. European Tour Bus Bathroom Song
Run Time: 47:46
Release Date: October 2, 2020
Record Label: Roadrunner Records