I'm a dirty, filthy Slipknot fan. Always have been. And I was pretty worried going into this album.
Slipknot, while not the most critically adored metal band in the past couple of years, has always has a small, creepingly filthy spot in my heart ever since I first heard 5. The Grey Chapter back when it first released. I know that's not their best album, but sue me for liking something why don't ya? And after listening through their discography, I was quite literally hooked and dragged to this bands world. Are the masks kinda gimmicky? Sure, but the pure aggression displayed in some of the lyrics and destructive instrumentation provided by all nine members (really? Nine? What are half of them even doing? Playing Bongos?) all while remaining catchy, entertaining, exciting and memorable took 15 year old me by storm.
So, being a pretty closeted Slipknot fan at heart for a while, why was I, of all people, so nervous for this album?
Well, it just didn't seem like it was gonna be that good! The singles for the most part were extremely lackluster, with literally nothing about them being memorable or interesting, and we're just slogs to get through. And with the group saying this album was their most 'experimental' yet, I was worried for this band that 'experimental' and 'throwing in the towel' were in the same dictionary, and at an hour and 15 minutes, I was straight up scared, and not in the usual fun way that Slipknot is known for. This was a new 'this is gonna suck' fear that was setting in. All Out Life was an amazing song, so surely there has to be something great to chew on here? Right?!
Surprisingly, this is one of the best Slipknot albums in years! It's true that the band is genuinely trying to experiment with their sound, with a lot more emphases on atmosphere and electronic elements while maintaining that classic tribalistic heaviness that has always loomed over this group. Which, in some cases, works rather well. Tracks like 'A Liar’s Funeral' and 'Spiders' are surprisingly pretty while still having this dark undertone to them, making for at first a headscratching listen, but later a satisfying and interesting change of pace for this group.
And yes, the fury and aggression is here in droves. God, this album fucking makes me want to head bang into the stars! The punches this album pulls off, while predictably punishing, still do hit at the right amounts. Altough this group isn't re-writing their own book completly, there are differences here that doesn't make it feel like a full on carbon copy. Hell, some of the influences on this record seem like they range from John Carpenter to David Bowie to even Sepultura! It's all over the place in terms of styles!
But it's far from perfect. It's hour long time length is very rarely justified, feel a little too ploding and stretched out at moments and the overall experince can feel pretty messy. The albums overall flow and pacing can feel slightly scattershot at times, with these strange inturludes like 'Death Because of Death' that could either be fleshed out into the starts of interesting songs, or moments like 'What’s Next' that could have been just put onto the upcoming track instead of being it's own entity. And...well, while it's happening it's fun, but at the end of the day, some of these tracks feel like Slipknot by the numbers instrumentally. These riffs, while exciting in the right moments, it's still very generic.
And remember what I said about how the experimentation works 'at points'? Well, the song 'My Pain', while very experimental for the group (hell, it sounds nothing like them!) there is no real pay-off that the song delivers sadly. It's just a interesting electronic track with nothing that moves on from it's meandering and atmospheric nature, which is a real shame, as it had such potencial to be one of the best tracks Slipknot have made period.
What keeps making these tracks exciting are the electronics, the satisfying satanic vocals and the tight as a Nuns Asshole rythem section. (i'll be here all night Ladies and Gentlemen) It's genuinly one of the heaviest, brutal and in your face since...well, since the last Slipknot album. They are going for the throat and wont take any prisoners, and it doesn't feel forced or sounding like they 'have' to, like acts like Korn or Limp Bizket always have. This is the brutal exploration of Slipknots depressing and dark world, and nearly all the rocks have become unturned. Slipknot aren't going anywhere, but are gladly watching you being dragged into such a Hellish Heaven with them.
So yeah. I'm a Slipknot guy. Opps?
Favorite Jams: A Liar’s Funeral, Spiders, Red Flag
Lest Favorite: What's Next