This has been a long time coming. After six albums and 23 years with Slipknot and six albums and 28 years with Stone Sour, Corey Taylor has finally released his solo debut CMFT. You think this record would have happened sooner, and certainly Corey has talked about a solo release for quite some time. Being the head of two major bands obviously makes getting a minute to put side projects together difficult, but since the coronavirus has put artists off the road for the time being, this moment is as good a time as ever to knuckle down and create. Additionally, it’s rather fitting and proper that after he’s long since proven and established himself, we now get to hear Corey on his own almost as a commemoration of that fact, a celebration of his work thus far and an optimistic glimpse towards things to come.
“HWY 666” starts on a shredding, exciting note, simmering out into a ring of anticipation and rolling into a road-dog frolic resemblant of Johnny Cash and Rev Theory (can you hear that)? “Black Eyes Blue” is slightly lighter fare, melodic and engaging enough for the radio though not at all out of step for Corey; “Samantha’s Gone”, while not a single like “Black Eyes” still hits with a similar level of earworminess and finely demonstrates the art of the upbeat heavy song. “Meine Lux” continues down a similar line, a fun number with shuffling Van Halen drums and a Slash-esque guitar solo topped off with an active-rock twist. “Halfway Down” can be best described as pure and untainted 21st century rock, in contrast the comparatively darker “Silverfish” is more thematically familiar as far as the average Corey track goes.
Not wishing to dwell extensively with his demons (That’s what Slipknot is for), Corey swiftly switches gears with “Kansas”, a track highly reminiscent of early Foo Fighters but made even cheerier (the clap pattern on the chorus- you know the one- contributing largely to that). “Culture Head” could have easily been used as a Slipknot song, nevertheless the sonic backdrop used here more than suffices. “Everybody Dies On My Birthday”, besides from being fact (John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell being two such December 8 casualties) harkens back to old-school metal in its heavier moments and 00’s alt-rock in its soaring and chugging parts.
“The Maria Fire” runs off of a similar strain of loose swing as “Swing On This” by Alice In Chains, albeit not as grungy and definitely more energetic. The deep piano ballad “Home” stands in sharp contrast to “Maria” and the uptick dynamics of “Kansas” and “Meine Lux”, while “CMFT Must Be Stopped” offsets the entire album with Corey, Kid Bookie and Tech N9ne trading bars over a slamming backing track. The infinitely moshable “European Tour Bus Bathroom Song” closes things out; hearing this brief thrasher you can see yourself rocking out and making such a song on the road too- or at least getting some fresh bruises in the pit to it.
CMFT on the whole captures Corey Taylor the way he should be on his solo debut- not as the vocalist of Slipknot, not as the vocalist of Stone Sour, but as himself; a unique entity with a wide range of influences that come through clearly throughout the record. It’s an album that’s fun, varied and sums its purveyor up in a nutshell, after 20-some years many can say it was well worth the wait. Given that Corey has said he has enough material saved up for 3 or 4 solo albums, we can look forward to seeing more solo work for him in the future, and after this first instalment, we can definitely expect it to be good.