Eschewing the traditional self-titled approach when it comes to naming a debut solo album, GRAMMY® Award-winning singer/songwriter, actor, and New York Times best-selling author Corey Taylor chose to put his own slant on the tradition by simply calling it ‘CMFT’. All caps. No mistaking the intent. This is an album by Corey-Mother-Fucking-Taylor. Which, given the one-extreme-to-the-other definition of the phrase, i.e. either “a despicable or very unpleasant person or thing”, or “a person or thing of a specified kind, especially one that is formidable, remarkable, or impressive in some way”; could Taylor really have called his debut solo album anything but ‘CMFT’?
Like Slash’s debut solo album, released ten years ago (also on Roadrunner Records fact-fans), ‘CMFT’ see’s a larger than life performer and Rock/Metal icon releasing an album of varied material miles away from their “day job”. And like ‘Slash’, ‘CMFT’ is also great fun. Blind Pew himself could see how much fun Taylor and his compadres; guitarists Christian Martucci and Zach Throne, Jason Christopher on bass, and Dustin Robert behind the kit, had on this 13-track gem.
13 tracks might normally sound an alarm bell, the chance of veering into “filler” territory being a real threat, but the variety featured amongst the 13 tracks is the album’s strength. At heart, it’s a good-time rock album; hard rock, classic rock, modern rock – whatever you want to call it, it rocks. Opening with wailing guitars, and an atmospheric intro with a hint of foreboding, ‘HWY 666’ soon takes a turn to the left and goes down a country-meets-southern-meets-metal path. Similar in feel to the ‘Rebel Meets Rebel’ album from David Allan Coe and Pantera (minus Anselmo) it comes complete with chugging riffs, powerful vocal hooks, and a stellar drum sound, in essence; it’s the ideal introduction to ‘CMFT’.
The surprises keep coming in the shape of ‘Black Eyes Blue’, a slight Joe Strummer-esque feel in places, in others; the cleanest vocals that Taylor has ever put down. The kind of track that might just sneak onto Johnnie Walker’s playlist on BBC Radio 2. If ‘Black Eyes Blue’ was made in England, then ‘Samantha’s Gone’ is pure American born. Bob Seger and The Doobie Brothers jamming at a keg party over at the Eagles’ gaff, but with a few F-Bombs thrown in. ‘Meine Lux’ has Taylor gatecrashing said party, stealing the booze, and stealing everyone’s girlfriends. Love, love, love the pacing on this one, it’s greaser rock n’ roll with a 2020 kick to it (as well as some insane guitar play).
‘Silverfish’ takes a darker path, and again, features some delicious guitar playing, the shimmering effect throughout is particularly memorable, and offers up a few trippy moments. ‘Kansas’ is the light to the shade on ‘Silverfish. A toe-tapping sing-a-long tailor-made for that once in a lifetime adventure along Route 66, the Thin Lizzy influence is strong with this one, especially on those gorgeous melodic guitars. The kind of track that leaves an everlasting smile on the listener. Fuelled by a throbbing, pulsating bass groove, ‘Culture Head’ is the closest that Taylor gets to Stone Sour territory, The kind of track that sounds better the louder it goes. ‘The Maria Fire’ is a real grower of a track, the kind of track which, thanks to the strumming tempo, seems quite jolly on the outside, then the lyrics take a twisted turn and the listener gets sucked in; “…the longer I’m away from you the more I can’t wait, just to dance in your ashes and to spit on your grave…”. A slow-burning nugget, and goddam, there’s the Lizzy melodic guitars again. Bloody brilliant.
The closing stages of the album are shepherded in by the piano-driven ‘Home’, a tug on the heartstrings from Taylor which manages the rare feat of being a ballad that doesn’t need to resort to schmaltz. How does Taylor follow that up? With the hip-hop strains of ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped (feat. Tech N9ne and Kid Bookie) of course. If you grew up on a staple diet of Wu-Tang Clan, Run DMC, NWA, and Public Enemy, then you might approach modern hip-hop artists the same way you might approach a manufactured pop star; all style and no substance. Too busy scrawling on their face with magic markers to come up with anything interesting. Thankfully Taylor bypasses the electronic, auto-tuning that is blighting modern hip-hop music, in favour of riffage-to-the-max and more of a Beastie Boys vibe rather than a Pitbull (or anyone with the word “Lil” prefixing their name) approach.
Ending on the hardcore punk, short sharp shock of ‘European Tour Bus Bathroom Song’, ‘CMFT’ is pretty special indeed. Plenty of surprises contained within, and something for everyone.
Available October 2nd on Roadrunner Records, pre-order here.
Get Tickets to Corey Taylor’s Global Livestream on October 2, 2020 now: https://watch.thecoreytaylor.com
Review – Dave
Header image – Ashley Osborn