Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter
Dec 29, 2022 (updated Feb 8, 2023)
Edit: Stfu old me this isn't that bad. It's pretty good actually! My slander of The Negative One and Sarcastrophe got cocked, those are huge bangers, and AOV got even better.

I really wanted this album to prove me wrong like All Hope Is Gone did. I wanted to like this album so bad, but 70% of the tracks just went out the other ear. I won't try to stretch this review out so far, because I don't want to review each and every one of the mediocre tracks. I suppose I should talk about what's changed since last time we checked in with Slipknot.

Sadly, Paul Gray passed away in 2010, long before they started recording this album. The impact of his death definitely affected the band, and this album, as mediocre I think it is, was meant to be a love letter to him, and there are many tracks that are deliberately about losing him, such as Skeptic, AOV, and Goodbye. I've talked about the new members in my WANYK, but replacing Paul Gray as bassist is Alessandro Venturella. The bass is servicable in this album, though it does get much better in the following album. Joey Jordison left (Or was fired, the details are very fuzzy.) the band in 2013, but he also sadly passed away in 2021. Replacing him as drummer is Jay Weinberg, and he's actually pretty great, I like Jay. Sure, he's not as technical or skilled as Joey, but he fulfills his role very well as the drummer, and he enhances some of the truly great tracks on this album.

The biggest problem with this album is just that it's really boring. There's maybe 4 tracks that I really like, 2 that are okay, the rest are filler in my eyes. Most of the riffs sound painfully similar to each other, and they lack the energy of any of Slipknot's other works. The album is horribly bloated, and absolutely does not need to be over an hour long.

Let's get into some of the tracks that are worth talking about.

XIX is actually a pretty good opening, I undersold it as a single, but I honestly like Corey's vocals on this one, it gives the song an interesting vibe.

Sarcastrophe is a fine enough way to open the album, the riff is energetic, and I like Jay's drums in this song. The slower riff is my favorite part of the song, but otherwise, it's an okay opener.

I love AOV, probably the best song on the album aside from, well, we'll get to Custer in a moment. AOV has an interesting riff, it's this chaotic, fast spasm of a riff that I actually really like, it's one of the few riffs on this album that doesn't bore me. The song is also hinting at Paul Gray's death, and I'm glad they made a good song to pay tribute.

The Devil In I is good, it's what it is. A catchy riff, good clean vocals, good chorus, I like the song. Not much else to say to be honest.

Skeptic is okay, definitely the best of the generic songs. It's directly intended to pay tribute to Paul Gray, which is wholesome.

Killpop is still one of the most bizarre songs Slipknot has ever made. From the very beginning, the song has a pop-esque snare beat. Corey's vocals don't really annoy me, they're just quite odd. The lyrics are very jarring, it's very explicitly about a woman, and it's not really done with the maturity or subtlety of the Vermilion songs. All that being said, at least I remembered the song. It's not a bad song, just tonally very odd.

CUT CUT CUT ME UP AND FUCK FUCK FUCK ME UP! Custer is such an insanely heavy turn that it makes the other weak riffs in this album look like child's play. The progression between the first and second verse is great, Corey's voice changes in a really satisfying way during the second chorus. And that chorus, oh boy, is it delightful. As great as the iconic, "CUT CUT CUT ME UP AND FUCK FUCK FUCK ME UP!", I actually prefer the whole, "IRREVERANCE IS MY DISEASE!" Overall, just a blood-curdling, awesome song.

I still don't understand the hype around The Negative One. Sure, it's better than most of the other tracks, but it's just fine.

Sorry if I disappointed some with this review, it's a little short because I've been working on something that'll probably be out by new years.

Track Ratings
1XIX / 85
2Sarcastrophe / 90
3AOV / 100
4The Devil In I / 90
5Killpop / 75
6Skeptic / 55
7Lech / 80
8Goodbye / 90
9Nomadic / 75
10The One That Kills the Least / 60
11Custer / 90
13The Negative One / 100
14If Rain Is What You Want / 100
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