When Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor announced his debut solo album in 2020, some loudly wondered, “Why?”, considering he already had an established rock outlet with Stone Sour – not to mention his collaborations with other artists.
Conversely, given social media’s enduring preoccupation with asking what he might think about virtually anything, did we really need any more of Corey Taylor? That debut, CMFT, pointedly answered both questions: “Quite a lot”, and ‘Hell yes”.
Combining Corey’s signature metal and rock elements with bits of country, pop and rap metal, CMFT gleefully tapped into the boozy excess of classic rock and 80s metal decadence. Its follow-up, CMF2, is an altogether heavier affair; there’s less of a stylistic buffet and more of a focus on the kind of polished bangers that are written with stadium crowds in mind.
Opener The Box might lead you to wonder if you’ve just stumbled upon Corey’s lost country album. It’s a dusty, two-minute overture with the artist strumming open chords on a mandolin. Just as its final jangly note dissipates into the aether, CMF2 thrusts the listener into a full-throttle joyride of pulverising riffs and shout-out choruses that hit like straight adrenaline.
If you’ve ever wondered how Slipknot might sound if they brought Slash into the fold, then Post Traumatic Blues will give you a pretty good idea. It’s the only track that packs the ’Knot’s chaotic rage, but in the hands of guitarists Christian Martucci and Zach Throne, it suddenly morphs, with the two shredders unleashing a screaming pentatonic frenzy before Corey has bellowed a single lyric.
The quality of the guitars on CMF2 cannot be understated, particularly on scorchers like Punchline, with its subtle nod to Whitesnake’s brooding grandeur, or Midnight, a slow-burning ballad that builds to a ripping, twin-fretted crescendo.
There’s a strong sense that this album was a hell of a lot of fun to make, as if producer Jay Ruston gave the band the keys to the car and told them to stay out as late as they wanted.
We know Corey can do metal but CMF2 sees him exploring his punk side with snarling, clench-fisted relish, as on Talk Sick, All I Want Is Hate and We Are The Rest – a stupidly catchy fist-pumper with stabbing riffs, a blazing, four-on-the-floor tempo and a gang vocal chorus that will surely be a staple in live shows.
At the centre of these tracks is an undeniable pop rock heart that beats loudly in the sugary hooks of Beyond, with Corey on lead guitar, or Someday I’ll Change Your Mind – an upbeat slice of alt rock that could belong on a Snow Patrol album. The polished balladry of Breath Of Fresh Smoke adds a bit of depth, but the acoustic Sorry Me feels out of place among its 12 siblings.
CMF2 is a party album, pure and simple. Corey Taylor and his band have built upon the strengths of its predecessor and refined their core sound into something distinct, forceful and utterly exhilarating.
CMF2 is out September 15 via BMG.