Slipknot
All Hope Is Gone


4.0
excellent

Review

by David James Young USER (181 Reviews)
August 24th, 2008 | 317 replies | 26,083 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Four records in, and Iowa's finest still know how to rouse the teens and scare the children. With style, mind.

21 of 21 thought this review was well written

Take a look at your country’s top 40 charts. Do you notice anything in particular? With a few exceptions, one ideology one may come away with is this: it really is not as difficult to become a figure in popular music as one may think. It is, however, a much more complex task to actually stand out as a unique and memorable act, especially amidst overcrowded genres.
One band that has managed to make their mark on both popularity and recognition is Slipknot. Since the release of their self-titled record in 1999, the band have soared to almost inexplicable heights of fame and success, as well as establishing one of the most recognisable sounds in modern heavy music, heralding what is known as the new wave of American heavy metal.
If there’s one thing that can never be doubted, it is the sincerity of this band’s connection to their music- they give it their all every single time, and are fully dedicated to keeping the band alive. “Maggots”, the title by which Slipknot fans are known, are also unquestionably some of the most dedicated fans in music today.

Regardless, critics of the band often question whether there is actual substance to what Slipknot do beyond their gimmicks- there are nine members of the band, and each have constantly changing masks. Certainly our last encounter with the band, 2004’s Volume Three: The Subliminal Verses, gave some evidence to the affirmative- a borderline schizophrenic array of blistering, crunching guitar, vehement ranting vocals, drum lines executed with military precision and almost shocking contrasts (intimate acoustic guitar, drawn back keyboard loops and choir-like harmonies). This was the sound of a band revitalized and ready to go the next level, whilst many of their contemporaries floundered or chased their tails. All Hope is Gone sees the band pick up exactly where they left off in this respect.

Bad news first, unfortunately- clocking in at just shy of an hour, the album is not for those lacking attention span (i.e most of us). Naturally, there are tracks that feel padded out and repetitious. In spite of all its anti-authoritarian angst (“My anguish conquers all/pay the price and watch me fall”), “This Cold Black” fails to reach its full potential, plodding where it should stomp. “Butcher’s Hook”, too, also has trouble being, as an overall song, better than its shout-along chorus.

Given there are two members of the band dedicated to electronic elements of music, as well as a further two dedicated to custom percussion, you would think it would not be too much to ask to hear more than the occasional vinyl scratch, keyboard loop or untuned snare. Unfortunately, this part of the music is all but buried under the core quintet, leaving the remaining four members to basically twiddle their thumbs until the songs are performed live. Thankfully, however, when Slipknot are good on All Hope is Gone, they’re fantastic, and the album’s flaws are almost instantly forgiven.

“Sulfur” sees the band create the best of both worlds with a scathing guitar attack the driving force behind vocalist Corey Taylor’s belligerent barks and the hook that brings the entire song together. “Dead Memories”, meanwhile, is the musical equivalent of a love-child parented by “Enter Sandman” and “Come As You Are”, with soaring harmonies and a solid backbeat in the spirit of Burton and Ulrich. There are even moments in album highlight “Gehenna” where you will feel genuinely frightened as a tormented Taylor surrounds his agonised and unpredictable vocals (arguably his best on the whole album) with Craig Jones’ sinister synth line and the distortion-laden sirens of guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson.
The band’s finest moment, however, comes in the most unexpected of forms. “Snuff” is, quite simply, the ballad that Stone Sour wishes that they wrote. The guitars are the key to the song’s emotion here- the chord progressions commence on a lone twelve-string, followed by subdued harmonics, leading to perfectly-toned ringing distortion. Overscoring this, Corey Taylor’s still-beating-heart-on-sleeve poetry depicts lovers torn apart by spiralling depression and unforgivable deeds (“I couldn’t face a life without your light/But all of that was ripped apart/When you refused to fight”). His use of dynamics on his distinctive, emotionally wrought vocals here emphasise this to a far greater degree.

There is clear evidence throughout All Hope is Gone to the sound of Slipknot in 2008- bridging the gap between the callous aggression of the first two records and the newfound sense of melody found in Volume Three. Lyrically, the war still rages on between Corey Taylor and the world. “I am the worm of pure distinction/I am the remedy- spit in my face”, he seethes on the hard-hitting title track; as well as along with the affirmation that he will “never become another piece inside the paralytic construct” on “Wherein Lies Continue”, before adding “Live Forever? I’d rather die”. The more understated battle here, and yet the most vital yet, is the one Corey Taylor undertakes with his worst enemy yet- himself. “Free my severed heart!”, Taylor wails in the chorus of “Gehenna”. “I don’t want to be myself”. Perhaps the most telling of this inner struggle is found in the first chorus of “Snuff”:

So if you love me, let me go. And run away before I know.
My heart is just too dark to care. I can't destroy what isn't there.
Deliver me into my fate. If I'm alone, I cannot hate.
I don't deserve to have you.
My smile was taken long ago
If I can change, I hope I never know.


Certainly a man who is miles away from the “Fuck everything that you stand for” of yesteryear.

And so the next stage of Slipknot’s career has begun. Whilst Volume Three remains the band’s best overall record to date, this is certainly not to discount All Hope is Gone as a very close second.
The band may have lost all hope in humanity, but rest assured that not all of humanity has lost hope in Slipknot just yet.



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user ratings (2141)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
AtavanHalen
August 24th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This came out in Australia on Saturday, but I've had it since Thursday. Interested to know what you all think about the record.

fireaboveicebelow
August 24th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

actually a great review

I love this albumThis Message Edited On 08.24.08

badtaste
August 24th 2008



824 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Whoa, it released here already? Hmm, time to do some shopping perhaps...

Neat review anyway. Pretty much described the key tracks right. And yeah, I agree about the lack of electronics and custom percussion, but hey, that's Slipknot for you. One thing that bugs me - you open a paragraph mentioning the Slipknot of 2008 combining various elements of old, but then you immediately discuss Taylor's lyrics.

I really do think that there will be quite a few varying opinions on this album, so here's the first of many...This Message Edited On 08.24.08

StrizzMatik
August 24th 2008



3175 Comments


Hmmmm. Sounds interesting. I'll listen.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

SHOOTME
August 24th 2008



2393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

there are a few paragraphs you forgot to split, other than that great review.

taylormemer
August 24th 2008



4913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Bet me to it, I'll have my review up tomorrow sometime.

I don't really like some of the descriptions but not too bad.

Thor
August 24th 2008



10176 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Album is kinda awesome yo

VicariousIntent
August 24th 2008



1593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Aggggh you beat me to it. Oh well. I'll submit mine really soon then...really good record actually.

Poet
August 24th 2008



5920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Album was boring

taylormemer
August 24th 2008



4913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It's got its moments, but it lacks the consistency that Vol. 3 has. it's not a four at all really. Objectively between a 3 and a 3.5

P13
August 24th 2008



1327 Comments


Mick's/Root's guitar style is obnoxious. Good review though.

What's with their fake pentagram thing?This Message Edited On 08.24.08

AngelPhoenix
August 24th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Really excellent review, am very much looking forward to getting this. Maybe it's enough that the album isn't completely terrible to quell some of the anti-slipknot protesters here.

Bleak123
August 24th 2008



1902 Comments


Iowa's finest = Modern Life Is War

ZombieMetalhead
August 24th 2008



46 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For me this album wasn't there best,but it was a great try at something a little fresh.i just think as the album went one it soften up but overall i liked it.Maybe there Next album they can pick up where they left off, improve a bit. BTW nice review manThis Message Edited On 08.24.08

Bleak123
August 24th 2008



1902 Comments


^^there may not be a next album, they've said in interviews that if any one member was to leave that would be the end, they could never replace him or carry on without him, that they will always be the 9 etc. and we all know there is a member who is seriously considering leaving.

AngelPhoenix
August 24th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Slipknot could have gone out with Volume Three (which I found amazing) and I would have been happy. So if this is about/nearly as good, I'm fine with that too.

ZombieMetalhead
August 24th 2008



46 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

:O DamnIt Clown!

asaf
August 24th 2008



885 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i was a fan in seventh grade when they were starting out and bought the s/t the day it came out. bought iowa the day it came out. went to virgin megastore at midnight to buy vol 3 and almost threw up on my self when they played duality over the stores pa. never bothered to go back since. to much has happened in aggressive music. nu metal has been dumped and became deathcore. get the new acacia strain and leave this hip hop rap with double bass and guitar noise alone.

Digging: Heart To Heart - Dulce

taylormemer
August 24th 2008



4913 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

lol that's so ignorant.

Willie
Moderator
August 24th 2008



15877 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've listened to this a few times, but not enough to rate it yet. It's already easily better than Vol. 3 and it has the best production of any of their albums. I just wish they would drop all their extraneous members because, like the review says, that don't make any use of them anyway. If they did they could be making unique and phenomenal music.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary



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