Review Summary: love them or hate them, this still remains one of the most pissed off albums ever recorded.
Some of you might remember Observer’s review of Linkin Park’s 2003 album Meteora, and how the album was a classic to him despite the fact that musically and lyrically it was a terrible album. It opened him up to music in general and provided him with a basis to branch off into many other genres and artists. I’m sure we all have at least one album or song that we can go on in our lives and always come back to and enjoy as much as the first time we heard it because of how much it meant at the time. We realize that without that particular album or song, we would not like the music we like today and we owe a lot to it in the end. For me, Slipknot’s 1999 self-titled debut is one of those albums.
Perhaps it’s the aggression of a 9 piece band crammed in a ***ty recording studio blasting their instruments; maybe it’s the raw production sound that Ross Robinson preserved during the recording sessions, or maybe it’s the fact that nearly every song here is perfect for the adolescent teen to release all their anger out with, but this album always held a place in my mind that still hasn’t faded. Forget all of the mainstream sounds you heard the band including on Vol. 3 and All Hope Is Gone. While those aspects would surely mature their sound and bring in a wider audience, this album is when Slipknot were just finding their style, trying to hone their gigantic wall of sound and being chaotic in the process. Corey Taylor’s voice wasn’t blown out yet and he could scream very well, and the songs were original and stood out from the other music that was sprouting up in the late 90’s.
Part of what makes this album so different and sets it apart from the sea of mediocrity that was nu-metal apart from the fact that it is a 9 piece band is that it just hits you with pure aggression and refuses to let up until the very end. 742617000027 leads into (Sic) and the speed of Joey Jordisons drums (which, by the way, he’s good but not THAT good people) combined with Corey’s fastly screamed vocals and the twin guitar attack make for a superb opening track and one of the bands most famous songs. The bands 3 (and sometimes unnecessary) drum assault is used best in songs like Prosthetics where they combine with the guitars to form a dark, creepy intro. Scissors, however, is the true highlight of the record. Unlike Iowa’s title track, which can get extremely boring to some with its 15 minute duration, Scissors is a terrifying and brutal close to the self-titled record. From the unusual percussion intro to the twisted guitar riffs and what might be one of the best vocal performances of Taylor’s entire career, it sums up just about everything this album is about. The late Paul Gray also has one of his rare standout points here, as the bass line actually drives the song along for a bit. The ending is superb, with a final heavy build up that has Corey screaming so hard he drives himself too far and you hear him vomiting all over the vocal booth as he collapses and the album ends. It just shows you that the band was much different then they are now, relying on aggression to drive the music and not catchy hooks.
The catchy songs (Wait and Bleed, Purity, No Life) are infectious. The heavy songs (Surfacing, Get This, Only One) are fueled with aggression, and the raw sound of the productions preserves the band in the chaotic state they were in when they first started out in the late 90’s. For me, Slipknot’s self-titled debut will always be a classic. While a lot of people don’t appreciate Slipknot, I think I always will because of what this record did for me. Its an album that I’m sure a lot of us have come across in finding new music, and while it is certainly not special at all compared to everything else out there that we listen to now it still remains an album we look back on and go “oh yeah, I remember that” to. Love them or hate them, this still remains one of the most pissed off albums ever recorded.