50 Best Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Albums Of 2017

49. Stone Sour – Hydrograd

This list probably puts Stone Sour’s lauded sixth record, Hydrograd, far lower than many fans would like it to be. And in many ways that’s understandable: by its own merits, the album is a fun one, embodying frontman and opinion-possessing meme generator Corey Taylor’s anti-establishment attitude and dry wit down to a tee.

As many critics and commentators have pointed out by this juncture, Hydrograd is also a violent throwback to the state of metal in the early ‘90s, possessing clear influences from that decade’s MTV-style radio rock in the music of cuts like “Fabuless” and “Song #3”. It’s a massive bite of musical nostalgia that many metalheads fell for hook, line and sinker. Also, the album was hugely important to maintaining metal’s relevance in 2017, becoming a surprising chart smasher, peaking at number five on the UK’s Official Album Charts and number eight on the Billboard 200.

With these many great things going for it, then, how come Hydrograd fails to crack this list’s top 95%?

Unfortunately, context is Stone Sour’s undoing.

Hydrograd is the follow-up to what many consider to be Stone Sour’s greatest ever musical feat, the progressive, intriguing, Tool-and-Alice in Chains-inspired House of Gold and Bones (2012/13) duology, which integrated alternative metal stylings, a plethora of diverse instruments and a fascinating narrative into the band’s music. Hydrograd does none of these things, feeling far more straight-forward and mainstream-friendly.

So, by itself Hydrograd is awesome! With context… not as much.


Writer for Metal Hammer, WhatCulture, Prog and more. Film student at the University of Winchester. Owner of many, many denim jackets. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram: @MattallicaMills