THE GRAND RETURN (?)
Some time has passed since the last review in this challenge, but we are back! I have no idea for how long but we will try our best to actually finish this, I have no idea how long it's going to take but we’ll see. The show must go on, am I right?
A nu-metal classic.
I've been familiar with Slipknot for quite a while now, when I started listening to old rock and metal 2 years ago a classmate introduced me to them. At first, I didn't like them at all, their music was way too loud and ‘’scary’’ for me. Yeah, back then I thought Slipknot was terrifying, with their masks, scary album covers, and disturbing lyrics. Especially the music video for ‘’Devil In I’’ really creeped me out, and I thought the music was way too loud and basically ‘’not music’’. That didn’t age very well...
It was just too heavy for me at the time, but from what I can remember I kept listening to some of their top songs and eventually started to really enjoy them. They also dropped a new song near the end of 2018 that I really enjoyed called ‘’All Out Life’’, and that made me like them even more.
Now I gotta admit, until this day. I have not listened to their entire discography. Even when I had my sort of ‘’nu-metal phase’’ in late 2018 till summer 2019, I did not listen to any of their records in full except for the self-titled, and We Are Not Your Kind, that came out in summer 2019.
At the beginning of 2019, Slipknot was really starting to be one of my favorite metal bands, I couldn't get enough of them. I remember putting their songs on in class to kind of isolate myself from the other people in my class. I was also pretty depressed at that time and their angry songs really helped me deal with my frustration and loneliness. Thank you for that, Slipknot <3
So yeah, I was pretty damn excited to finally listen to this album in full, I heard a handful of songs from it already but never actually in full. Also, it's been a while since I listened to Slipknot, like a whiiiile. I don't think I listened to them much anymore after I joined AOTY. And that was august of 2019….Such a shame really, but hey, I still like their music. Not that much as I used to though, but that's okay.
Now let me just say this right off the bat. This album aged very well. Like very well. I think this album and Science by Incubus are one of the few nu-metal records where the production still holds up really damn well. I think this holds up way more than their self titled debut, which has some rap metal moments and samples/turntable scratching which makes it sound a tiny bit dated. This album is way more straight to the point, it's brutal, groovy, and very well produced.
When Slipknot was making Iowa, they were really in a dark place, the band members were facing a lot of issues while recording it and Corey said himself that there was ‘’nothing happy about it’’ and other members saying that recording the album was ‘’fucking hell’’. It makes sense that they were under a lot of pressure because their 1999 debut did amazingly well at the time.
Corey was right, you can tell that this isn't supposed to be a happy album at all by song titles like ‘’People = Shit’’, and you can tell even more by the lyrics. I feel like the lyrics are very overlooked on this album, as there's some really brutal lyricism to be found here. For example, the song ‘’Disasterpiece’’, which starts with the line ‘’Yeah, I wanna slit your throat and fuck the wound’’. Sounds pretty painful to me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Slipknot already had really dark and disturbing lyrics on their debut, but this album goes even further into it. They also put themselves through hell when recording on this album, especially on the final song, ‘’Iowa’’, where Corey was ‘’completely naked, vomiting all over himself, and cutting himself with broken glass’’ when recording the vocals for it. Ouch.
Production-wise, I can totally see why some of these songs would be considered ‘’death metal’’. It's just really that brutal. The guitars and bass here are immensely heavy and Corey sounds like an absolute beast on most of the tracks. His vocals are seriously impressive as they go from heavy screaming to melodic and back. I know I said this before but the production on this album aged really well, to me it doesn't sound dated at all, especially compared to other nu-metal releases at that time like ‘’Infest’’ by Papa Roach, ew.
I'm not gonna do a track-by-track review but I can say that I almost enjoy every track on this album quite a lot, it's just very enjoyable and the production on almost every song is very well done. Notice how I said almost? yeah... it's the last track that kind of feels unnecessary to me. It doesn't add a whole lot to the record, and I wished they just ended it on a final banger. But that's just me I guess, I think there's a lot of people who enjoy the 15 minute closer on this album, I'm just not one of them. I also have a small complaint that after 10 tracks or so the album gets a bit.. stale, like the album is just heavy song after heavy song after heavy song, it gets a little bit too much after a while, but that might be because I listened to some of these songs with the volume a little bit too loud, I think my ears really needed some rest, lol.
Would I return to this in full? maybe, but I think I'd rather just listen to a couple of tracks with the volume turned up and have a blast than listening to the whole thing including the 15 minute closer. But despite those mostly personal complaints, this album is damn great and is definitely one of the best nu-metal albums out there :)
great review :)