Corey Taylor. Corey. Motherf$%#ing. Taylor. Finally, the most electrifying man in music entertainment has come back to turn our candy asses inside out, with his highly anticipated debut solo album, CMFT. I know everyone’s dying to know what Corey Taylor thinks of Corey Taylor’s first solo record, but for now, you’ll have to settle for my thoughts. Corey Taylor is too busy kicking asses and forgetting names.
Curmudgeons and jabronis beware: These songs are a damn good time. If you’re uninterested in having a little fun while blowing out your eardrums, then take your saggy balls and go home. This album isn’t going away anytime soon. As a wise man named Corey Taylor once said, “CMFT can’t be stopped!” Every loud, tantalizing moment of CMFT is overwhelmingly infectious. Corey Taylor is living his best life, and now, vicariously, you can too!
The band hits the asphalt like an army of bare-naked speed freaks on “HWY 666,” an instant country-metal classic centered around a run-in with Beelzebub. This down south headbanging doesn’t prevail on the album, but the vibe and attitude remain, along with a healthy dose of ‘90s alternative rock. On songs like “Everybody Dies on my Birthday” and “Samantha’s Gone,” Stone Sour’s Christian Martucci unleashes an arsenal of eyebrow-raising leads that elevate him to CMFT championship material. However, I wouldn’t expect Corey Taylor to drop the belt anytime soon. Martucci and Zach Throne team up to deliver several Dimebag-light riffs that succeed in kickstarting the heart. After yearning for chunkier, more punishing guitar tones, I soon learned to accept (and appreciate) CMFT for what it is.
No one should enter this party expecting to hear Slipknot or Stone Sour. If anything, this more closely resembles Corey’s anti-Christmas carol, “X-M@$,” but without the jingling bells. There are, however, some delightfully evil moments when the vocal stylings of his previous bands creep in. “Culture Head,” a song that defiantly attacks all sides of our crumbling society, has metal embedded in its DNA. Bassist Jason Christopher (Prong) ruggedly channels the spirit of Alice in Chains’ Mike Starr, while Dustin Robert bashes the toms and snares like a jester possessed. Even in these darker sections, the purpose remains to rock the blues away at all costs.
This movement is spearheaded by the highly shoutable “Meine Lux” and the thigh-slapping “Kansas.” Both are worthy companions for a road trip motivated by seemingly impossible trials that only music can remedy. Corey appears confused and weighed down by the state of the world, but refuses to remain silent and still. On “The Maria Fire” he clarifies: "I wouldn’t want to imply / That I’m bitter or belligerent or simply benign / I’m just looking for ways to enjoy the view.” With the surprisingly uplifting, “Everybody Dies on my Birthday,” Taylor encourages his listeners via short bursts of wisdom: “The world is not a god damn tournament / choose your own participation.”
The CMFT band accomplishes its mission unscathed while tapping into a reservoir of rock’s finest mentors. The jazz-infused “The Maria Fire” wouldn’t be out of place on a Stone Temple Pilots record, while “Halfway Down” is how ZZ Top would sound if they were locked in a shed with AC/DC. The ultra-catchy “Black Eyes Blue” carries tinges of both Van Halen eras, maintaining enough spunk and crunch to keep the most hardened rocker interested. CMFT is what a new Volbeat album should sound like, instead of the tear-inducing pop-metal we’ve recently been subjected to.
It’s not always a one-sided victory. Taylor and his tag team partners fall to the mat for a 3-count on “Silverfish,” a stagnant number with cheap lyrics like, “No one’s gonna save me, lord / No one’s gonna save me when I die,” and the piano-soaked ballad “Home,” which desperately lacks a memorable hook. Luckily, these mundane moments are rare. Corey wisely wraps up the album on a high note with the party anthem “CMFT Must Be Stopped” and the comical crossover thrash madness of “European Tour Bus Bathroom Song.” Their positions on the record are perfect because they wouldn’t make a lick of sense elsewhere.
Based on the singles, this could have gone a few different ways, one being a disaster. Like many, I have no interest in a nu-metal or rap-metal resurgence, and my stomach felt queasy the first time I heard the chorus to “Black Eyes Blue.” Both genre leaping forays have become guilty pleasures, though less embarrassment comes from the satirical and humorous “CMFT Must Be Stopped.” It’s hard to hate such a silly song, and the slick verses by Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie only increase the entertainment value. CMFT proves once and for all, to the millions of listeners around the world, that Corey Taylor is the people’s champion of rock n’ roll.