Review Summary: Guys in masks make an album that shows that they are MORE than just guys in masks. They're angry guys in masks.
Now, we all remember the nu-metal craze back in the Nineties, when the nation, after the concussion that was Nirvana and the entire grunge movement, searched for something else to fuel their alternative needs. Instead of getting a genre with legitimate artists and jaw-dropping albums, like we did in grunge, we got Limp Bizkit. And Korn. And Linkin Park. And any other of the rapping/screaming/corporate-minded bands that fed to us on a platter by MTV. Well, try to forget all of those bands. Try to forget what Nirvana did to alternative music, and what Limp Bizkit and Insane Clown Posse tried to ruin all that was previously accomplished. Forget all of that. Just focus on Slipknot's Iowa album.
If you can manage to do that (and I'm not faulting you if you can't, hell, I can't even forget the craptacular album Results May Vary that Fred Durst and co. forced upon us), you definitely will enjoy Iowa. There's not a whole lot of nu-metal influence here, despite what most critics would have you to believe. Instead, Corey Taylor grunts out emotional and almost emo-ish lyrics in his screaming, serial-killer way, Joey Jordison pounds out complex and completely frightening bass rhythms, and the rest of the eight or nine members play the living crap out of their detuned insturments. Iowa is often scary at first listen (if you don't like metal, I mean. Slipknot are pretty tame compared to mostly all of the death and black metal bands out there), and mostly the songs are the same. "People=***", "I Am Hated", and "The Heretic Anthem" are just heavy as hell, with Taylor screaming his lungs out, screaming about how people suck, he's hated, and he wants to be a heretic. Whoa, talk about some cryptic song titles!
But all this hate and screaming and heaviness translates into something more classic and more like metal art than you would believe. The tracks thunder on, and the quality of ruthlessness here is simply breathtaking. Keep in mind Iowa isn't perfect: the fifteen-minute title track is as boring as the state after which it's titled, and "Left Behind" is such an obvious radio-wooing track it almost makes you think of Slipknot's peers you tried to forget about. But if want a seriously amazing metal album, one that doesn't reek of stale riffs and non-decipherable death grunting, Iowa is worth picking up.
PS, I'm ready for all the fanboys ready to say how Slipknot sucks and they would rather listen to their "serious" metal bands. Whatever, most of metal today is funnier than Spinal Tap, with their grunting and tough-guy attitude.
PSS, But I don't hate metal or anything. I like Lamb Of God and Shadows Fall. Okay, I'll shut up now.