STONE SOUR, the band featuring SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root, have officially parted ways with drummer Joel Ekman. "This is something that we all discussed and feel is best for the five of us and for the future of STONE SOUR," the group write in a statement. "This has been the most intense recording process of our career and the next year of touring will be equally, if not more, intense. Our world tour kicks off June 2nd in Germany and our goal is to play as many cities and countries as possible. We're in discussions with a few drummers now and will let you know who that person will be as soon as we come to a decision. We wish the best to Joel and to his family."STONE SOUR's sophomore album, "Come What May", which is being recorded in Los Angeles with producer Nick Rasculinecz (FOO FIGHTERS, VELVET REVOLVER), features a guest appearance on drums by Roy Mayorga (ex-SOULFLY, currently a touring member of SEPULTURA). Mayorga was enlisted to lay down the drum tracks after Ekman was forced to sit out the recording sessions for the CD in order to spend time with his nine-year-old son, who was diagnosed with brain stem glioma (brain cancer) last fall. A July 18 release via Roadrunner Records is expected. In a recent interview with Revolver magazine (web site), Taylor said about the recording process for the new CD, "The first record was really just us making music and laughing a lot and having a good time in a studio in Iowa. There were no real expectations. Now that we know we have an audience, it's way more crazy." He continued, "It's priority No. 1 this year for Roadrunner [the band's record label], and they keep telling us, 'You've gotta stick to the schedule!' And then there's kids just fuckin' blowin' me up on the Internet, like, 'When's it coming out? When's it coming out?' I'm like, 'Wait, calm down — we just finished the fucking drum tracks, fer chrissakes!' but it's cool, you know? I thrive on the pressure, because it gets me going, and it gets me that much more psyched about it." "This album's gonna be miles above the first one," promised Taylor. "Even with scratch guitar and really shitty scratch vocals, it already sounds powerful as fuck." Musically he describes it as "more melodic and darker than the first one. It's not goth rock, it's not fucking emo, it's not garage; it's fucking hard rock, man. It's good, heavy rock that's going to kick you in the face. Why would you want anything else?" As for the disc's lyrical content, Taylor described it as a combination of "pain, pleasure, happiness, and grief. People keep asking me what the theme of the album is. Well, there is no theme, you know? If anything, the theme is life, because life is spontaneous and aggravating all at once. You never know what you're going to have to go through on a daily basis — you never know what life's gonna throw at you. "There's a track we recorded, that I hope makes it on the album, that's basically a love song to my wife, thanking her for dragging me out of the fire and helping me get sober. I've never written anything like that before, but it was very important for me to tell the world not only how much she saved me, but how much she means to me."