Review Summary: Thrashy transcendent nu-metal. Solid in every sense of the word.
I must admit, I was really excited for this album to drop. I’ve been a Slipknot fan for some time, and I’m a fellow Iowan, so it instills pride to know these guys are from my nowhere of a state.
On their fourth disc (if you don’t count Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat), Slipknot do bring in more of the thrash elements they fiddled with in Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses. Guitarists Mick Thompson and Jim Root’s parts are much more technical faster on every song, sounding very much like a sort of “nu-thrash”, a lower-register version of Slayer. Drummer Joey Jordison must have gone through several drums during recording with the way he pounds the living hell out of them. If you watch the bonus DVD that comes with the Special Edition, there are a couple clips of Joey tracking drums, and a toddler pounding on pots and pans with wooden spoons comes to mind.
Vocalist Corey Taylor’s voice is as good as ever, despite rumors that he had hurt it somehow. He roars like a pissed-off anti-politician who may be slightly tipsy, then immediately converts to sober melodic singing, Stone Sour style. His singing does sound a bit scratchy, but not too horrible. Ballads Snuff and Dead Memories are actually beautifully written, despite coming from the man who once wrote “*** IT ALL, *** THIS WORLD,” etc. It appears #8 has grown past his blind anger stage, and gone slightly softer (Mudvayne, anyone?). However, the Knot stay gruff with yellers Gematria (The Killing Name) and Butcher’s Hook, quoted below.
Quote: “Consume the BITCH, the ***er.” Sound familiar?
Although the songwriting has taken a step away from the unbridled teen-angst of the first two albums, the heaviness is still present, just different. Gone is the rap-metal, now is the time of the growl-to-sing transitions. Singles Psychosocial and All Hope Is Gone are plenty satisfying for those who enjoyed the violence of Iowa, but with certain melodic factors and no rapping. I was severely disappointed by Gehenna, a mumbly mess of a song with a rhythmically nasty chorus, that is a disgrace to the Children of the Korn. Vendetta is easily the catchiest track, and I wonder why it isn’t the next single instead of Dead Memories. The verses are clean singing and the chorus consists of Corey Taylor and percussionist/backup vocalist Chris Fehn grumble a couple of extremely hooky lines, before going to a gang-vocal chorus of “Hey! Hey!” and “Are you ready for the time of your life?!” If it involves more like Vendetta, then damn right I’m ready.
Near the end of the album, two other influences are drawn to the Nine’s sound: Death metal and…what…POWER metal??? On the consecutive tracks This Cold Black and Wherein Lies Continue are incorporated death and power respectively. This Cold Black has a bellow chorus with almost no melody whatsoever, while Wherein Lies Continue’s chorus could have been written by Iron Maiden.
It’s only a solid album from the Knot brethren, but very solid it is. There are a few songs that I could live without, like the terribly schizoid Gehenna or the the bland bonus track Til’ We Die, but when Slipknot hits the target (on tracks like Psychosocial, Vendetta, or Gematria), they hit it HARD.