To most people Corey Taylor is best known as the voice behind Slipknot. As such, my initial reaction was that he was not for me. Scary masks and orange boiler suits didn’t, in my mind equate decent music. I kinda felt it would be style over substance so felt quite happy giving the ‘Knot a bodyswerve.
It’s funny the way you find out about new music. My mate came round one evening, clutching Guitar Hero 3 for the Xbox. We sat up, working our way through all the songs we liked until we ended up at my first choice here.
Before I Forget
A chunky, powerful riff, a great groove and a strong vocal. Once I was able to actually play it all the way through, I realised it was a cracking tune. So much so, it won the band a Grammy in 2006.
So at this point, I was still pretty sure that it was a fluke. The advantage ‘Before I Forget’ had was that in the video the band appeared in civvies, sans mask & jumpsuits. Around this time this song started getting heavy rotation on Scuzz TV and, given the band were back in full fancy dress I felt able to go back to full on judging & sneering mode.
However, the more I heard it, the more the song started to sneak into my conciousness. More importantly, the louder I turned it up whenever it came on. A polished piece of metal and the melodic chorus was what first started to alert me to the fact that, actually, Taylor could genuinely sing.
I’m Not Jesus
So, the next offering I tracked down was this. A track by Finnish Cello-Metal band (yeah, I know, it’s pretty mental. But they’re cool.) Apocalyptica featuring Corey on vocals. For 3 cellos and a drumkit to come up with this, a heavy, hard-hitting song based on a priest sexually abusing a child – Taylor sings as the child grown up, challenging his abuser – is quite something. Cello-metal. It’s the future.
So from Apocalyptica I was recommended by another friend to check out Stone Sour. Corey’s band before SLipknot, the band was put on hiatus whilst he found success with them, returning to Stone Sour in 2002. More heavy metal, to my mind, than Slipknot’s thrash, this is a cracker of a tune. Strong and in your face with some quality drumming from Shannon Larkin of Godsmack.
So, as it turned out, I had actually heard Corey before. This was always one of my favourite Soulfly tunes, I just never knew that it was actually Corey who shared the vocals with Max Cavalera. Great track.
The follow-up single to ’30/30-150′ was an acoustic ballad. I couldn’t ever claim that it was my favorite ever acoustic ballad, but its a nice we song and the contrast from ym last choice to this just highlights the massive versatility that Corey has with both his songwriting and his vocals. For that reason alone it is worthy of inclusion.
So, by this point I was starting to explore more of Slipknot’s music. There were quite a few tracks I could’ve gone for here as I became more of a fan, but this one always stood out. Nothing fancy, just a really great thrash song with a massive chorus. It makes you want to smash up TVs which good thrash should.
The opener from the first of Stone Sour’s two House of Gold & Bones albums, this is probably my favourite Corey vocal. Quite a mainstream rock song, elevated by both the power and passion of his delivery.
From Can to Can’t
Corey’s contribution to Dave Grohl’s Sound City movie alongside Rick Neilson of Cheap Trick and Kyuss’ Scott Reeder as well as Lord Grohl himself, this is slow paced, slow burner of a track. But a worthy addition to this list.
Stone Sour here, covering the Chris Isaak classic. This is utterly sublime. It’s a great track to start off with and Isaak’s vocal would take quite some replicating. Corey does it Corey’s way and if you think he’s just a big heavy metal shouter, listen to this. Dude can sing.
If ‘Duality’ makes you want to smash up a telly then this will make you want to lay waste to small to medium towns. Currently my go-to ‘I’ve had a crap day’ tune and one I really hope to catch live.
So, there we have an introduction to Corey Taylor. To my mind, the most versatile rock vocalist around today. And the moral of the story? Don’t judge a band by the orange jumpsuits.
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