Review Summary: Iowa’s nine piece metal out-fit bring a thick, raw and crunchy sound to the metal masses using masks, jumpsuits and an almost unique combination of sounds creating a metal record that is angry, new and somewhat innovative.
The year was 1999 and the metal community was already waiting for future music from the 2000s but from various areas of Iowa came a sound that most had not heard before combining strong heavy nu-metal influences, mixed with sometimes rapped verse lines, overly aggressive and sometimes provocative lyrical content mixed with weird and what only can be described as creepy sample effects creates a dynamic that at times can be catchy and accessible while at other times motivates some listeners to eject the disc and swiftly throw the disc out of the nearest open window. However what Slipknot have created is a kind of restart from their less well known release ‘Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat.’
Slipknot’s self titled effort can to some extent be seen as a second debut for the band and its listeners as new elements are presented including a new lead vocalist and the inclusion of more members. Slipknot use texture in a way to animate and attract the listeners’ attention, that being for the most part a main element in their sound. Most of the time is thick and greatly layered when all nine members participate fully displaying raw aggression with thick tones (see Sic, Surfacing, and Spit It Out) while at times some elements of the self titled effort become rather thin (see Prosthetics and parts of Scissors) displaying a sense of diversity and drawing the listener into the next track. Whether the current dislike for Slipknot is merited or not there is a high and almost unique level of talent shown by Slipknot as a whole over the course of the album.
The main style of the album can easily be seen as fast paced and aggressive. This is reinforced by most of the tracks utilizing the ever present screamed vocal lines from the famous (and sometimes infamous) voice of Corey Taylor combined with the down tuned, high gain guitar riffs and most of the time fast paced percussive work.
Highlighting the album is the sample working. It is a feature not used in such a dominate manner heard in most groups and on this release it is used in a manner to attract the listener, to keep the listener guessing. Right from the start with the opening sample track ‘742617000027’ listeners will not know what is going to come next before being hit in the face by ‘Sic’ which demonstrates perfectly the driving level of aggression displayed throughout the album. The album itself is not overly catchy but what grabs the listeners’ attention is all the rage presented to them making it a little more accessible to the masses, however there are small amounts of catchiness on display in tracks such as ‘Wait and Bleed’ and ‘Liberate’ where recurring musical ideas are presented in a fashionably and creative manner, enough for the listener to sing/scream along. Rage it seems is a niche where Slipknot attract a portion of its fan base.
Many listeners will find tracks they like; thus being most of the heavier songs (Sic, Surfacing, Spit It Out and Liberate) while there will be others who prefer tracks showing different levels of aggression that display on a greater scale of Slipknot’s innovative manner such as and especially ‘Scissors’. Whatever the listeners musical preferences may be Slipknot have proved to the greater metal community that they have become a force to be reckoned with.