Slipknot - The End, So Far
Feb 25, 2023
Chapter 1: AOTY, I Love You, But... (Introduction)

Coincidentally, as I was writing this review, not only did it become one of my longest reviews ever (super proud of this one), it also happened to line up with being my 100th review. I genuinely have a LOT to say about this album, so I'd say that this being my 100th review is incredibly fitting. Anyways, onto the review!

What did this album do, piss on your lawn? The End, So Far, in my eyes, is a deeply overhated album that I feel gets a lot of flack for no real reason. Like, I see 30's and 40's thrown around and like, it's worse than The Gray Chapter? Really? Unnecessary rant aside, I really do have a genuine appreciation for this album, and I feel like I should justify why I like it so much while also explaining why the album fell flat on its face for a lot of people. Yes, this album has a decent amount of noticeable flaws that I'll discuss, but overall, I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
Chapter 2: What's The 'Knot Doing? (Changes From Their Previous Album)

Slipknot, as much as people say they don't, actually changed up their style for The End, So Far. Sure, it has a pretty big chunk of WANYK in it, but the approach this album takes seems to be a combination of the harsher riffs and songwriting themes from The Subliminal Verses, some very effective yells and growls that barely scratch the itch Iowa provided, and more of the experimental stuff we got from We Are Not Your Kind. While it may seem a little redundant to some (We'll get there, don't worry.), this is actually a pretty cool way to approach the Slipknot formula, especially since this is supposed to be the end of their contract with Roadrunner Records. It's a very fun spin on their previous albums, and it works to great effect here. The experimental elements are pushed possibly even further than they were on WANYK, with a decently large asterisk that we'll get to in a later chapter. A sizable amount of songs on this album don't even sound like they came out of Slipknot, and while you could levy that as a criticism, I think it adds a lot of personality and flavor to the album.

Onto the band themselves, the newcomers have much more to do this time around, especially my boy Jay Weinberg. Jay is an absolute monster on this record, he legitimately has some of the band's best drum beats appear on this album. His creative use of slow, groovy drum beats is shown in songs like Yen and Acidic, while his insane speed on tracks like The Dying Song and H377 is brilliantly shown off. In my opinion though, he really shines in his use of the cymbals and the kick drums. The kick drums have a meaty, punchy feedback to them, and Jay's creative use of them makes it puncture through the mix. The cymbals are used amazingly, whether it's to add impact to big moments, or act as a slow, almost industrial way to build up to songs or add atmosphere.

A smaller aspect of the album that I think works really, really well here is Alessandro Venturella's bass, which is nicely utilized in the slower songs such as Yen, Medicine for the Dead, and basically most songs in the last half. His bass tone, while not the clearest in the mix, is great, it's a nice blend between being impactful and groovy.

Another important element that has changed are the vocals, which is a double edged sword. On one hand, for most of the album's verses and bridges, Corey's voice is amazing, like legitimately the best he's sounded since All Hope Is Gone. He can go effortlessly from slow and melodic singing to loud yells and growls, which sound like they were lifted from Iowa. Micheal Pfaff's backing vocals have also massively improved, his addition to the gang vocals makes the songs feel that much more aggressive and mean. There is also one moment in Warranty which we'll talk about in a moment, but for now just trust me when I say that it's because of the vocals that moment stands out so much. On the negative spectrum, there's a certain vocal style that's particularly overused in many, MANY of the song's choruses, and we'll talk about that a little later down the line.

Sid Wilson and Craig Jones have a field day on this album, and it's their best performance since the band's debut back in '99. From the creative use of various effects, noises, and samples, to the endlessly fun turn-table scratching that adds a feeling of life into otherwise empty moments, Sid and Craig do great on this album.

Finally, Mick Thompson and Jim Root haven't changed too much from WANYK, but it seems there's more of an emphasis on odd guitar scratching techniques to get the gnarliest of sounds out of the guitars when needed. Jim also gets a lot more time to play solos, he basically has a guitar solo every other song on the album, which range from okay but forgettable to actually very satisfying and cool.

Now that we're done with all of that, let's talk about some of the tracks now, shall we?
Chapter 3: The Beginning, So Far (Track by Track, Pt. 1)

The album begins on a very decisive note with Adderall, perhaps the strangest song in the band's discography to date. In my opinion, it's an amazing opener with some great clean vocals and calming instrumentals, but that's just it, it's distinctly not a Slipknot song. Even with the tamer stuff on their earlier albums, you could still tell that these were soft Slipknot tracks, while Adderall feels like its own thing. About the song itself, though, it begins very slowly, only truly kicking into gear near the 1 minute mark, where the song plays with some very pleasant synths before transitioning into a simple piano. Corey's amazing vocals kick in as the drums begin their fairly simple, though fun beat. The verse progresses into the chorus (No shit, that's how songs work), and then the chorus explodes into a ball of pure clean energy, it's so good. The song doesn't have much going on for the rest of its run time aside from that, and while it's nearly 6 minutes and the song is very simple, it never really seems to overstay its welcome. It does, however, transition greatly into...

The Dying Song, the song that was met with an unwavering, "Oh, cool. That's a good song.", then people just moved on. I don't think people really give the song credit for how well put together it is, plus, it's just a straight up banger. While it isn't a particularly innovative first song to put on the album, it sure as hell kicks ass. The verse is awesome, it transitions from the opening in a pretty satisfying way, and it has great riffs and vocals. The vocal delivery on the mouthful of a line that is, "The middle of a nuclear winter is a modern achievement of the retro apocalyptic horde!", it's so over the top and long that it kind of turns into being awesome. Yeah, the lyrics are kind of cheesy, but not to the point of being overtly edgy and kind of dumb (In a bad way) like they are in some tracks earlier in their career. So, wow, the verse was amazing, it was heavy, it was juicy, it was energetic. Let's see how the chorus is-

... Welp, we've run into our first major issue of the album, and it may be why some people thought that this, the album with crazy experimentation, felt generic and samey. Cue the boss music, play that drum roll, because the choruses on this album are sure worth talking about. It's not about the individual choruses, especially on The Dying Song, since I think it's done well here. But that's the thing, it's done well "here." About 2/3's of the songs on this thing abuse the same vocal delivery for each chorus, and it gets very tiring to listen to. Even if the tracks themselves are well made, finely written, and have good production, the lack of unique or catchy choruses hurts a ton of songs on this album. Even if The Dying Song specifically doesn't really suffer from this problem as much as the others, it's worth mentioning here since this is when it pops up.

Back to The Dying Song, after the chorus, the song transitions immediately into the bridge, which holds a pretty decent solo, that, while not very memorable, is atmospheric and fits the calmer tone of the bridge well. After the solo, though, there's a pretty nice breakdown with some good screams by Corey. And the song caps off with a final chorus. Yeah, that's it. It's surprisingly short, at only 3:23 minutes, and it makes room for the great track that follows.

I didn't care for The Chapeltown Rag on my first listen, I thought it was a little generic and kind of boring. However, the more I listened to it, the more I began to appreciate the song in its true glory. There's so much to love about this song. To start off, the song begins with some atmospheric turntable stuff, then Jay's drums come in, which sound pleasantly industrial. Then the verse kicks in, and this song has some of the best verses in Slipknot's whole discography. Whether it's the great riff, Corey's maniacal vocals, or the constant tonal switch ups, the verse is able to keep your attention the entire time. I especially enjoy the light death metal influence in one section of the verse, the blast beat and guitars there are very cool. Then the chorus comes around, and, like I've gone over before, it's... fine. It's okay, it's not the most egregious use of the same vocals, and the rest of the song is strong enough on its own to where I don't think the chorus affects the song very much. It's very short anyways, so let's move on to the bridge, since the verse and chorus repeat once. The bridge is great, it begins with Corey uttering the same lines he did in the intro, then it hits you with a decent breakdown. Sure, the lyrics in this section are a little cheesy, but I don't care, it's just a damn good breakdown. The song calms down after this, then with the clash of a cymbal, ANOTHER breakdown occurs, and this one always gets my head moving. Corey's delivery of, "WHEN EVERYTHING IS GOD, ON, LINE!" is just so crunchy. If you were feeling exhausted after this intense analysis of The Chapeltown Rag, or just exhausted by The Chapeltown Rag itself, then lucky you, the next song takes things down a notch.

Yen, much like The Chapeltown Rag, needed a couple of listens to truly grow on me, but once everything clicked, it became one of my favorites on the whole album. Yen is great, not only because it's a well put together, emotional song, but also because it breaks the formula that has been set up by the last two songs. Instead of the verses having the punch and letting the chorus sow the melody in, Yen does the opposite, the verse is a slow, atmospheric build up to an absolutely awesome riff and hungry vocals. Corey's lyrics and vocals in the verses seem lonely and cold, but also kind of ominous and deceiving. It's as if he's luring whoever he's talking about in the song, and it creates this somber but simultaneously unnerving atmosphere. The tension is broken in the chorus, though, with the lines, "As the knife goes in, cut across my skin, when my death begins, I want to know that I was dying for YOU!" The buildup and payoff of this song cannot be understated, and I love the subtle differences between the verses. The first one is slower, tame, less confident. The second verse has more prominent instrumentals, and it goes by faster, as if the song is getting slightly more intense. The song's bridge begins with an awesome CD scratching solo courtesy of Sid, who just absolutely kills it here. Sure, maybe it's slightly less serious than the rest of the song, but I don't even care, it's so cool that Sid and Craig get so much time to shine in these last two albums. Then the breakdown begins, which is like an amazing bridge between the intensity of the chorus and the softer verses. Great riffs, great vocals, etcetera, just an absolutely beautiful track.

When I first heard Hive Mind, before I truly understood the album, the previous songs weren't exactly blowing me away. So, I was more skeptical going into this one, since I had heard no samples from it, and it wasn't a big single. Imagine my surprise when, after the admittedly very cool sample they use in the beginning, there's some incredibly heavy downtuned guitars that kick ass. Then Jay's pounding, industrial, straight up heavenly drums show up, punching straight through the mix. The main riff hasn't even begun, and I'm on board. The riff hits, and I might as well have said, "Oh shit." out loud. Hive Mind is spectacular, taking everything that has made modern Slipknot heavy, multiplying it by 2.5, then throwing it into a blender with itself. Sure, the chorus is, similarly to The Chapeltown Rag, simply okay and abuses the exact same vocal performance, but like... this song is just too good to care! Other highlights of the song include the surprisingly kind of intense and beautiful bridge, there's some very pleasant instrumentals that are juxtaposed with Corey's harsh yells, it creates a really cool atmosphere. The ending's riff is also pretty cool too, overall, just a song deserving of a chef's kiss.

Warranty is kind of similar to Hive Mind, in that it's very obviously trying to be an intense Slipknot track, and I think both of the tracks succeed, but Hive Mind just does it better, in my opinion. That being said, Warranty is still a great song. Oddly enough, this song breaks the formula similarly to Yen, but this time, Warranty is just purely intense the entire time, there's no cheesy vocal line until the bridge, which itself is contrasted by the breakdown which we'll talk about in a bit. The verse has a very strong riff and good vocals by Corey, overall the song's core is good, but it needs just a bit more flair to make it a great song, especially since the lyrics are confusing as shit. Seriously, I'm not sure if this is a metaphor or anything, but Corey is straight up just screaming about warranties and how, "You always buy brand NEW!", it's very odd. However, remember the "flair" I was talking about two sentences ago? Well, that's contained in the absolutely stellar breakdown. Despite my love for modern Slipknot, they've never quite reached the level of heaviness of their old days. Sure, they get close with tracks like Custer, Solway Firth, and The Chapeltown Rag, but on average, most songs on their last 3 albums haven't gotten heavier than All Hope Is Gone. That's perfectly fine, though, again, I love modern Slipknot. So, you may be asking, what's the point of bringing this all up? Well, Warranty , for a fleeting moment, is able to momentarily bottle the rage shown in Iowa, and comes up with a moment that just barely matches a couple of songs from the old days. I'm serious! This breakdown is awesome. Whether it's crushing riffs or the legit deathcore growls, Warranty is able to capture some of the magic that made Slipknot's first two albums so incredibly heavy. Tangent aside, let's take a quick break to see how the rest of the album goes, since we're officially at the halfway point.
Chapter 3.5: A Few Thoughts Before We Continue...

The End, So Far, so far (hah), has been a really solid album, with a great combination of head banging tracks and some subtle experimentation. After Warranty, though, the album completely shifts. That subtlety in the experimental songs such as Yen is completely thrown out the window, as The End, So Far, is filled to the brim with tracks that either match or surpass the experimentation displayed in Yen, and Warranty is the cutoff point. There is one exception to this that we'll get to later, but for now, the album is now Experimental Metal, a genre which I just made up. Sadly, if you take a look at the track ratings or just, you know, listen to the album, the experimentation is a little hit or miss. Sometimes the ideas shown here aren't fleshed out, or they simply go on for too long. I wouldn't say any of these tracks are necessarily low quality or even mediocre (Aside from one), they're just not overall as solid as the start of the album. That isn't to say the second half of this album doesn't have bangers, in fact, this side of the album has a couple of songs that are genuinely incredible. To get to those genuinely incredible tracks, look no further than Medicine for the Dead.
Chapter 4: The Experimental Era (Track by Track, Pt. 2)

I cannot overstate how much I love Medicine for the Dead. Honestly, it's my favorite track of the album, and likely Slipknot's best track that truly leans on the experimental side, minus Not Long For This World. In fact, Medicine for the Dead seems to follow in that song's footsteps, with a few key differences that we'll go over here. First of all, the song begins with some great atmospheric samples, which gradually build with these calm but grand drums, some great bass, and what I assume to be is a beautiful guitar. It's hard to tell, but anyways, the song has slowly been building up to something, and that something is Corey's classic, "YEEEAHH!" at around 1:07, and the song just explodes! It gives you chills, the subtle melody that was in the previous section of the song is built upon with a riff that follows the same pattern, and it's absolutely incredible. The song's verse is amazing too, carrying the riff from the opening and pairing it with some soft vocals by Corey. Then, we get to the chorus, and while, yes, it's part of the generic choruses the album falls into, I think it works here, since it's the backing vocals doing clean notes while Corey is screaming. It's almost as if there's two sides fighting each other, I think it actually works pretty well. The bridge is also really good, it's more intense than the rest of the song, which a heavier riff and more intense vocals. Also Corey's vocals on the last chorus ooze personality, it's very good. So yeah, the album's 10/10, love this song a ton.

Acidic is a little similar to Medicine for the Dead, where the song is a little more focused on atmosphere and more emotional vocals. Unlike Medicine for the Dead, though, Acidic seems to achieve this through its odd structure, its riffing, and that BASSLINE OH DAMN. Yeah, I think this is the song where Venturella's bass really comes into play, not only is the bass tone groovy and atmospheric, the riff he plays is also just catchy as hell. The song starts off with some slow atmospheric stuff, then it transitions into this legitimately amazing riff, it's not necessarily heavy or anything, it just builds this perfect atmosphere. I love Corey's vocals in this song, this is the first time where he switches from clean vocals to yelling on the same line, shown in the beginning with, "I'M LIVING IN A dead man's shoes." Aside from all that, though, I don't have very much to say about it, just take my word when I say it's a great song.

This next song, though, is not a great song. Heirloom, sadly, is the one song on the album I would call mediocre, and it's undoubtedly one of the weakest songs in Slipknot's catalogue. It's basically the definition of a good idea robbed of time and execution. On paper, it seems like a very cool experimental track, with an odd flow, pronounced but relatively laid back vocals, and some moody riffs. In practice, though, it's very, I hate to say this, MID. I think the vocals are genuinely a little off putting, and the song isn't that interesting instrumentally, which could've legitimately saved the song. I don't know, it's not a bad song per say, but damn, if it ain't the most aggressively meh song in this band's catalogue.

H377 is a strange track that I really enjoy. It's a nice palate cleanser from the mid fest that was Heirloom, and when I say it's strange, I mean that because it kind of defies the whole "experimental" vibe the second half of this album goes for. That's right, we're right back to the intensity of Hive Mind and Warranty, and it's perhaps taken even further on this song. The song begins with some creepy industrial noises, then the song's classic lines sung by the gang, "One of us knows who hates me! One of us loves it!" The song's intro ends when Corey delivers an incredibly furious, "AND I KNOW IT'S YOU!" Yeah, it's a little cheesy, but I gotta say, it's nice to be back to that stuff after all this experimentation. The main riff is an absolute chugger, just a good, solid Slipknot riff. The verse carries the energetic riffs and vocals shown off in the intro, which also carries into the chorus, which has the backing vocals from the intro returning playing alongside Corey. The only other notable thing about the song is the solo during the bridge, which surprised me during my first bout. I thought it was a pleasant surprise, Jim Root plays very well on this song. H377 is overall just a really good execution of a modern, "angry" Slipknot song.

De Sade is kind of an unfortunate case, because, while I for sure enjoy it quite a bit, it seems like a lesser version of the song that immediately follows it, Finale. Still, De Sade is still a merely good song, and is one of the more adventurous when it comes to exploring different experimental soundscapes. I especially enjoy the drums and effects in the opening, they create a really cool, almost otherworldly atmosphere. The vocals are a little odd, but Corey still delivers with some overall solid vocals. I enjoy the song's unique progression, but it does feel a little long, at 5:39. Even though it's only the second longest song on the album, it feels like the song's ideas could've been explored in an easier way, almost the opposite of Heirloom's problem. The only other thing to say about this song is the great breakdown, which is a surprising burst of intensity, even if the lyrics can be a little overbearingly cheesy at times.

Finale is a good, well, finale to end the song on. It's one of the few songs that (From what I could gather) uses string instruments and a simple piano to carry its somber and climactic atmosphere. Corey's vocals are ponderous and almost sorry, kind of reflecting the lyrics of the songs, which are incredible. The whole song has this ambient but final vibe to it, it's a very cool tone. The choir-esque backing vocals also add a sense of impact and importance to this whole ordeal. It's definitely a one of a kind song in Slipknot's catalogue, and I think it's a perfect cliffhanger to end the album on.
Chapter 5: That's The End (Not So Far, It's Just Over)

Thanks for reading this review! I have a lot planned over the next couple months or so, but for now, I have to finish both my Radiohead and SOAD reviews, so I'll get to that before thinking of starting any other large undertakings. Again, thank you all so much for the support, it keeps me motivated and allows me to put my heart into stuff like this. Alright, I need some sleep, have a great day!

Track Ratings
1Adderall / 90
2The Dying Song (Time To Sing) / 75
3The Chapeltown Rag / 85
4Yen / 95
5Hive Mind / 95
6Warranty / 80
7Medicine for the Dead / 100
8Acidic / 80
9Heirloom / 50
10H377 / 80
11De Sade / 60
12Finale / 75
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