This Friday, Corey Taylor, the iconic hard rock frontman of bands Slipknot and Stone Sour, debuted his long-awaited solo album, CMFT. Live at The Forum in Los Angeles, Taylor and his team executed a full-throttle, no-stops virtual extravaganza.
Following a thrilling pre-show including comical behind-the-scenes footage, a hyped-up Corey Taylor takes the stage with an explosive first track, “HWY 666.” As the very first track on CMFT, it’s exemplary of Taylor’s innate ability for writing lyrics that tell a story to the tune of stimulating rock ‘n’ roll guitar riffs. A breathless electric solo from Christian Martucci, Stone Sour’s guitarist and Taylor’s close collaborator, cuts through in “Halfway Down.”
Taylor’s raspy tone gets a spotlight in “Silverfish,” a slower melody with long, drawn-out riffs and a steady drumbeat. “No one’s gonna save me when I die,” Taylor bellows over guitarist Zach Throne’s screeching guitar riff. A tribute to the late artist Eddie Money, Taylor performs a carefree cover of “Shakin’” before taking on a Stone Sour song off of Hydrograd. An amped-up love ballad, “Song #3” is a nostalgic nod to Taylor’s musical past.
Hard and fast, “Everybody Dies On My Birthday” is a classic hard rock tune, masking anger-fueled lyrics. Similarly, “Snuff,” a Slipknot track which starts with Taylor solo on the acoustic guitar, builds with fury and instrumental prowess as the band joins in. Martucci’s somber guitar notes combined with Taylor’s longing vocal tone give the song its intense sense of desolation.
“In the middle under a clear blue sky/ The sun will only burn for you and I,” Taylor’s voice echoes out into the theater as he sings “Taciturn,” another Stone Sour song. Starting off with a slow, acoustic melody, everything comes crashing down at the bridge. By the end, Taylor is screaming, pleading as he sings, “Give me a sign/ I’ll show you everything.”
A sure standout off of CMFT, “Culture Head” attacks prejudice, religion as an excuse and other modern societal failures; Taylor screams his lyrics with fiery passion: “I don’t trust anyone who uses God as an excuse/ So fuck you.”
The setting takes a turn as Taylor sits down before the ivory keys, confessing that this is his first time playing piano live. “I spent two and a half years teaching myself how to play, just so I could record this song,” he reveals about “Home,” a love song for his wife. His vocals are sincere and clear, and the tune transfers seamlessly into “Zzyzx Road.” The band rejoins Taylor for the Stone Sour track, which perfectly blends contemporary pop and hard rock in a steady progression, all of it coming to a sonically shattering climax at the end. “This is by far the weirdest gig we’ve played,” Taylor laughs at the empty seats. “And I’ve played a lunchroom at a college, alright?”
The encore triad kicks off with “Bother” and “European Tour Bus Song,” two fast-paced, energetic tracks that lead into the meteoric finale performance. “CMFT Must Be Stopped” brings out The Cherry Bombs, the performative artists famously known as “the darlings of rock ‘n’ roll.” The track pushes the flex walls of any boxed-in genre, with rock-rap style verses, husky vocals and intense instrumentals. Fire spews out of pyro machines and on the heads of The Cherry Bomb girls, while two dancers hang on aerial silks above the band.
Taylor’s musical extravaganza is back, alive, dangerously enticing—and most importantly, here to stay. Corey Taylor can’t make many promises but one: “This is just the beginning. There’s so much more to come.”