rating icon 6 / 10

Track listing:

01. HWY 666
02. Black Eyes Blue
03. Samantha's Gone
04. Meine Lux
05. Halfway Down
06. Silverfish
07. Kansas
08. Culture Head
09. Everybody Dies On My Birthday
10. The Maria Fire
11. Home
12. CMFT Must Be Stopped (feat. Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie)
12. European Tour Bus Bathroom Song

Corey Taylor is a familiar name to virtually everyone who frequents BLABBERMOUTH.NET. He has topped the charts globally with his Grammy Award-winning metal band SLIPKNOT as well as with his rock band STONE SOUR. The iconic frontman returns with his first proper solo release titled "CMFT". The album is a mixed bag: clichéd and predictable at its worst, anthemic and passionate at its best. Whatever way one chooses to slice it, the resulting output was seemingly put together by musicians who were having fun, and "CMFT" certainly entails a fair share of enjoyable portions.

"CMFT Must Be Stopped", featuring the rapping talents of accomplished hip-hop artists Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie, who appear in the lead single's music video, is bold, to say the least and to put it mildly. It's like a pro wrester's intro song, an obvious reference point since Taylor shows off a wrestling styled belt emblazoned with the acronym "CMFT" (short for, of course, "Corey mutha fuckin' Taylor"). It's a shameless ode to himself that's quite excessive on the surface. Perhaps it was driven by ego? Or was it designed as a tongue-in-cheek jab toward his critics? Either way, within hip-hop's contextual sphere, and that element and influence is prominent in the song and throughout Taylor's career, showboating is simply par for the course.

In any event, he clearly wasn't shy to enlist a couple of dozen notable heavy music artists — including people as varied as Chris Jericho (FOZZY),Lars Ulrich (METALLICA),Marilyn Manson, Nergal (BEHEMOTH),Nikki Sixx (MÖTLEY CRÜE),Randy Blythe (LAMB OF GOD),Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST),Scott Ian (ANTHRAX) and renowned special effects artist/actor Tom Savini — to offer cameo appearances in "CMFT Must Be Stopped"'s music video. The veritable who's who list of heavy metal musicians is extensive and impressive, to be sure. But why? Is the need for validation that overbearing?

The bulk of "CMFT" oozes with the essence of all that is contemporary active rock radio. That isn't a good thing considering that the catch-all style has steadily been homogenized in recent years to a corporate formulaic standard. While classic and outlaw country mesmerize with the downtrodden, sordid tales of drunken, self-loathing artists living in their beat-up trucks, Taylor seems to pull inspiration from nouveau, watered-down, slick pop country on songs like "HWY 666", a track which is attention grabbing when the guitars turn toward classic melodic metal. Indeed, "CMFT" is at times quite diverse and genre bending, and it succeeds when it breaks free from the tropes and by-the-numbers aspects and melodies. The dark slant of the heavily acoustic and lumbering "Silverfish" stands out, aside from the chorus that sounds like it could have been made by anyone you'll find on the radio post-2000 — a pitfall that plagues "CMFT".

Virtually every song entails both production and songwriting qualities that lend themselves to the likelihood of possible and probably terrestrial radio airplay. Taylor knows how to write music that is infectiously hummable and memorable. At best, the choruses and melodies will bounce around your cranium for hours if not days. At worst, the stench of the cheesiness isn't anything short of pungent, as with the entirety of "Kansas". But, again, "CMFT" truly shines during those moments where Taylor and his cohorts circumvent the formula. While a simplistic stringed instrument core appropriately drives the release, flashy and nuanced guitar work is peppered throughout the album, as with numerous points on "Everybody Dies On My Birthday" and the nimble playing on the section that alternates between ascending and descending scales on "Meine Lux". "Culture Head"'s groovy, metallic hard rock riffs are ones that very well could spark the jealousy of SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR guitarists.

"CMFT" seems as though it's a refreshing, creative getaway for Corey Taylor. While it may have been quite rewarding on a personal level, as he has suggested in various interviews, it doesn't offer his fans and followers anything significantly new, for the most part. "CMFT" is an upbeat, meticulously written modern rock album. It just isn't likely one that will stand the test of time like some of the other SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR albums that established Corey Taylor as a household name.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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