Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
There’s no doubt that Corey Taylor, like Dave Grohl, has become a much-loved and highly respected figure on the global music scene
Both are forever associated with bands that forever changed the face of music and have found huge success outside of those cradles of creativity, striking out on their own to great acclaim.
Whilst Grohl’s time with Nirvana came to a sudden and tragic end, Taylor’s Slipknot still continue to make records that electrify a once jaded scene, shocking it to life.
With the Iowans being such an all-consuming monster it’s a miracle that their singer finds the time to do anything else but with Stone Sour, countless guest appearances and now his first solo album ready to be unleashed he must never get any sleep.
Free from any expectations and firm frameworks, Taylor has really spread his wings and the album is a fingertip exploration through his record collection, dipping into a wide cross section of genres.
Alongside this, there’s never been any doubt that, beneath the mask, here is a man with a passionate heart and a voice to match, his performances never less than totally committed.
That focus is borne out across the thirteen tracks on offer, each with its own shapes and textures. Taylor displays that he’s not only a musical polymath but also a real fan of the medium, his knowledge and love of the many hues ingrained in every pore of his body.
Coming over like Charlie Daniel’s ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’s meaner and younger cousin, opener ‘HWY 666’ kicks things off with heavy duty Southern Rock vibe, steaming along like a freight train out of control.
Acoustic guitars tangle with electric as the chicken fried boogie blisters and roars, AC/DC firepower jamming with Black Stone Cherry. Next up, spiky New Wave with a hint of Reggae constitutes ‘Black Eyes Blue’, the track brimming with melody and brilliant songwriting.
It’s worth repeating that, if you’re expecting Slipknot’s visceral heavy metal throughout, you’re going to be disappointed because here is an album that welcomingly pushes and blurs boundaries in a kaleidoscopic jukebox that constantly thrills.
‘Samantha’s Gone’ comes over like a dust up between Green Day and Motley Crue as Dion & The Belmonts hold their coats and serenade them as the switchblades and knuckledusters come out.
There’s more old school New Wave in the high-octane fun of ‘Meine Lux’, the track a turbo charged foot to the floor rush, complete with great guitar breaks. Elsewhere, ‘Silverfish’ is a warm and woozy ballad that paints a lush soundscape with hunger and grit amongst the tenderness.
The album unfolds in unexpected directions and as befits the State of the title, ‘Kansas’ is the sort of blue-collar rocker that The Boss and Bryan Adams have built their careers on and ‘The Maria Fire’ is full of cool, almost jazzy, rockabilly strutting.
For those missing the heavier end of Taylor’s work need not worry as ‘Halfway Down’ is tasty hard rock, ‘Culture Head’ a nakedly aggressive metal monster complete with a canyon deep groove and ‘Everyone Dies On My Birthday’ is positively built for circle pits.
The material may be vastly disparate but the production throughout is never less than stellar, each track boasting a really live feel and honesty.
This is especially true of show stopping ballad ‘Home’. Stripped back and emotional, voice, piano and strings meet in a beautiful arrangement that lets the singer pour his heart and soul into the song, never pushing things to far but managing to grab the emotions whilst applying the right level of restraint so that the track doesn’t ever dip into schmaltz.
This may well be Taylor’s best vocal of his career so far.
The album closes with the frantic hip hop and metal blast of the brilliantly unhinged ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’ as Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie join in the wild and out of control party tune.
There’s more quick-fire fun in the almost throw away full-on punk thrash spirit of ‘European Tour Bus Bathroom Song’, a track that not only boasts one of the best titles of the year but brings things to a suitably chaotic finish.
One of the most jaw dropping releases of his career, ‘CMFT’ is a snapshot of an artist happy in his own skin but always pushing himself further and further to new levels and areas.
Truly breaking the mould when they made Corey Taylor, his stature as one of the key figures in modern music is assured and this debut solo album is a sky-high testament to that fact.
Stream ‘Culture Head’, and pre-order/pre-save CMFT here: https://coreytaylor.lnk.to/cmft
Get Tickets to Corey Taylor’s Global Livestream on October 2, 2020 now: https://watch.thecoreytaylor.com