Decibel Copper Recordings / BMG
rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. The Box
02. Post Traumatic Blues
03. Talk Sick
04. Breath Of Fresh Smoke
05. Beyond
06. We Are The Rest
07. Midnight
08. Starmate
09. Sorry Me
10. Punchline
11. Someday I'll Change Your Mind
12. All I Want Is Hate
13. Dead Flies

Corey Taylor has proven himself to be quite the versatile musician. First, the world got to know Taylor as the masked, furious frontman of metal band SLIPKNOT. Then, he showed off his softer, more melodic side as the leader of STONE SOUR. Then, once again, Taylor reinvented himself on his debut solo album, "CMFT". The solo set featured a bevy of musical styles, from rock to blues to country. Now, Taylor is back with his sophomore solo set, "CMF2", and it offers a mix of sounds and styles, much like his debut.

"The Box" marks the opening track on the set, and it begins with folk-like instrumentals under Taylor's familiar, powerful baritone. Slowly, as the song progresses, the instrumentals crescendo into something bigger, but the track never swells into a full-on rock song. However, that more than happens in the next track, "Post Traumatic Blues", which begins with strange, space-like noise and erupts into a heavy metal track, with chugging guitars, deafening rhythms and Taylor's brutal, SLIPKNOT-like screaming vocals.

Taylor goes classic rock on "Breath Of Fresh Smoke", a love song with nostalgic guitars and longing vocals that sounds like it could have served as the token ballad on a 1980s-era GUNS 'N ROSES album. "Sorry Me" is another strong love song / ballad, although this one sounds more modern than "Breath Of Fresh Smoke", almost like it could fit on a STONE SOUR album. Actually, forget the almost: "Sorry Me" could fit on a STONE SOUR album.

Taylor goes outright punk on "We Are the Rest", which features upbeat rhythms, punk-fueled guitar chords and catchy, chanting vocals. Elsewhere, the album's current single, "Beyond", is a heavy-yet-melodic rock anthem, with a hooky chorus and Taylor's characteristic powerful vocals over thick, mid-tempo guitars.

In a letter from Duff McKagan about the release, he calls the songs "Midnight" and "Sorry Me" David Bowie-inspired. While Bowie is certainly an apt comparison for these softer tracks, they also recall the experimental rock of THE PSYCHEDELIC FURS or even GENESIS. Specifically, "Midnight" features beautiful strings and plays almost like a more pensive version of SLIPKNOT's "Snuff". The track features a killer guitar solo just after the two-minute mark, and then it launches into a heavier rock anthem, which is a nice surprise.

As the album comes to a close, "All I Want is Hate" offers a much-needed push of heavy metal and hardcore, with Taylor's vocals going screamy again amid chaotic riffing. "Dead Flies" rounds out the set with another mid-tempo rocker.

Taylor's "CMF2" is a refreshing blend of different sounds, and it's inspiring to hear Taylor in such a different musical setting. While some of the songs on here sound like STONE SOUR 2.0, many of them cross genres and show off a new side of Taylor, one fans haven't heard before. With a little bit of something for everyone, "CMF2" once again proves that Taylor is the leading rock 'n' roll voice of his generation.

Author: Anne Erickson
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