Review Summary: The "Nasty Nine" return with impressive performances all around. This one will be loved by the new fans of SlipKnoT, and grow on longtime fans.
Okay, okay, okay so we've waited since forever for the nine masked madmen to come crawling back out from whatever hole they hid in (back in Iowa then) and bring us more crushing metal. There is and always will be talk about SlipKnoT, "is there need for some of the members", "it's just noise, not music", "they're hypocrites and liked solely on image" etc. Say what you will, SlipKnoT did manage to help other extreme bands break into the mainstream e.g. Lamb Of God, Trivium etc, and have penned some brilliant songs, proving they are more than your average guitar player or drum player. The three albums they've released have always been SlipKnoT through and through, even Vol. 3. To say they've stuck to their guns is as true a statement as any.
So, after all this time, numerous side projects and speculation in between, they are back. But have they managed to make "All Hope is Gone" another classic SlipKnoT record. Well...
The one thing about this CD is that its definitely different. SlipKnoT have become more technical with slayer-like guitar solos and plenty of variation in the songs. aswell as longer tracks. But through this they've sacrificed some heaviness... actually, a ***load of heaviness. You don't feel the power of the guitars like the other albums and Corey's vocals are less aggro and more, well, just regularish metal vocals. Let's see how each band member does on the record...
Sid - The suicidal adrenaline junkie DJ is barely noticeable until the second half of the album. He pops up here and there, and does some great work on Gehenna onwards.
Joey Jordison - Still as fast as ever, SlipKnoT's main drummer needs serious recognition. The furious blastbeats and lightning pedalwork are still here, just used sparingly. He has some truly brilliant fills throughout this album. A definite standout, his stamina is unmatched.
Paul Grey- Rarely heard at all. A shame, he's a really inventive bassist, it's just there's so much going on in each song, you can't hear him
Craig "133" - Used even less than Sid, you can't tell when he's actually part of the song or not.
Shaun "Clown" Crahan and Chris Fehn - the mad pair are here, again just used sparingly. But when you hear do hear them, they compliment the tunes so well and provide skull-crushing beats. Their backing vocals are still pretty good too.
Jim Root and Mick Thompson - These guys take centre stage for this album. Inspired riffage and all over the place solos a la Slayer, these dudes really show they can play their guitars. If you didn't believe it on "Vol 3" you'll believe it now.
Corey Taylor - Vocals are nothing short of brilliant most times, as usual for Corey's unique voice. He just doesn't sound as pissed of as he does. One or two times you hear the old voice coming back. Alot more melody in his voice, which stands out the most on this CD. His lyrics are top class as usual, with catchy wordplay and at times monster hooks and choruses.
1) .execute - Just an opening track, one of SlipKnoT's weird things before the first song. It's here you hear Sid and Craig at their best, as well as Clown, Chris and Joey. Corey is whispering in the background. Good moodsetter - 3/5
Standout members - Joey Jordison, Shaun "Clown" Crahan, Chris Fehn, Sid and Craig
2) Gematria (The Killing Name) - Nu-thrash riffs litter this song, and they are definitely original ones. Nice and heavy all the way through, this song has a great guitar solo battle between Jim and Mick. Joey's drumming is a highlight. Simply put, how much f@@@ing stamina has this dude got" Imaginative fills throughout. Corey's voice is great, no melody just balls out Corey. This song has a brilliant chorus, just so suprising that no-one's come up with a chorus that shouts out "WHAT IF GOD DOESN'T CARE"" and "WE WILL BURN YOUR CITIES DOWN!" with my personal favourite lyrics "THE TRIAL OF THE NINE HAS BEGUN, GET OUT OF THE WAY OR YOU WILL SUFFER AS ONE". - Brilliant Opener - 4.5/5
Standout Members - Everyone
3) Sulphur - Destined to be the next single, and for good reason, it's damn catchy. Corey shows us why he's such a renowned vocalist, with some amazing vocals. The chorus is brilliant though a little Stone Sourish, as Corey sings "Like breathing in sulphur!" Mick and Jim again show us great riffs, keeping it fresh throughout, with harmoized guitar parts as well (which is a first for "The KnoT") I love the chorus riffs. You hear Sid scratching here building up to the solos, which is always a plus. The solo is Jim i think. It's short but effective, just quick sweeps and such. Great mainstream song - 4.5/5
Standout Member - Corey Taylor
4) Psychosocial - Best song on the album and the first single released. This is definitely SlipKnoT's new mainstream anthem next to Duality, Before I Forget etc. Simple main riff but very catchy and Corey's lyrics are very memorable, you'll know the words to this after only a few listens. The solo is the best on the album, managing to have style and shred at the same time. Judging by the video, Mick does the solo, but i'm not sure if Jim has his bit aswell. The bridge is shout-along as Corey screams "THE LIMITS OF THE DEAD!" with Clown and Chris on their drums providing a great drumbeat to back it. Overall a great performance from everyone and a fantastic song - 5/5
Standout Members - Everyone, but Mick and Jim do have the edge on this one
5) Dead Memories - SlipKnoT's balladish kinda thing. I know, i know, SlipknoT don't do ballads and never did. But they haven't gone soft. I did tell you this CD was different, Corey said himself it'll be just as weird and experimental as "Vol 3". The song does grow on you, as it is very catchy. Corey has no screaming duties here, just singing, and as usual, he delivers. Joey's a little restrained obviously, as it's not a heavy song, but he helps carry it and make it interesting anyways. Jim and Mick pop up here and there with some harmonised axework, and the solo does have real emotion in it too, so well done guys. No Sid, no Craig, no Clown, no Chris in this though. A song that's going to get mixed reactions from people, but it did grow on me - 3.5/5
Standout Members - Jim Root and Mick Thompson
6) Vendetta - This one is very different, and does belong more on a Stone Sour record. I'm not too big on this. The riffs are kinda "meh", nothing special. Joey's obviously not comfortable going through this song. At the start he's fine, but you can tell he's begging to obliterate his double bass any minute now. The thing that really got me on this was in the middle of the song, where SlipKnoT did something i was hoping they'd never do: chanting "Hey! Hey! Hey!". And really, you'd think if they did, it would at least be really ballsy and angry... but it's not. It's just half-assed, as if they couldn't find anything to fill in that gap. Sid pops up for about two seconds, as do Clown and Chris, but it's basically a 2 second "If you're not listening close, you'll miss them" kinda thing. Corey sounds like he's singing in Stone Sour, not SlipKnoT, so he does a good job, but it's nothing impressive. Very average tune - 2.5/5
Standout Member - Corey Taylor
7) Butcher's Hook - With a name like this, you'd expect distgusting lyrics, aggro vocals, loud guitars, thundering percussion and Sid and 133 adding their bits. It's just not happening though. Sid is heard more on this record, as is Craig, but unfortunately this doesn't save the song. The guitar riffs are really weird, but not in a good way. They actually get annoying and monotonous after about two minutes. This is the first time you hear Paul's bass, which is a good thing, but again doesn't save the song. Joey is again not in his comfort zone, though is in slightly better form than "Vendetta". Corey is again okay, just not as impressive as usual. Sid and Craig come in near the end to help things along. Again, quite average - 2.5/5
Standout Members - Sid and Craig
8) Gehenna - Worst song on the album. It tries way too hard to match the weirdness and build-up that tracks like "Prosthetics", "Gently" or "Virus Of Life". While these tracks were so brilliant in doing that, Gehenna fails spectacularly. Mick and Jim's guitars aren't anything to write home about, and Joey sounds bored, adding lightning fills in desperation, therefore adding them in the worst places. Corey does well with his lyrics with phrases like "bring my severed eye, bring me you, I WANT IT!" but again, it can't save the song. Craig's wierd alien/ufo effects are really cool though, and Sid brings his a-game with some weird DJing which keeps the mood. Paul's bass is here finally, and he has some good basslines throughout. Other than that, nothing else to really report with song, except it sucks. - 2/5
Standout Members - Paul Grey, Sid, Craig
9) The Cold Black - This is more like it! More like the old SlipKnoT coming through now. Mick and Jim's riffs sound like they belong on Vol.3 or Iowa which of course isn't a bad thing. Solo is not bad. Joey can finally breath as he unleashes some double bass and a few little extras. Chris and Clown are cracking skulls on this track, battering their kegs and snares with Joey and screaming their guts out with backing vocals. Corey sounds quite aggro on this one, which is what we needed after three tracks of un-impressive vocal work, his scream of "WE'LL LIVE OUR LIVES AGAIN!" has been, as I said, well-needed. Only downside is no Sid or Craig on this one. - Great track though - 3.7/5
Standout Members - Chris Fehn and Shaun "Clown" Crahan"
10) Wherein Lies Continue - This one doesn't get going properly until well into the song. This one is all build-up, with palm-muted riffs throughout, little teasing aggro vocals and guitar lines keeping you on the edge of your seat waiting. The chorus is sung, but what makes it great is the way its sung. It's so different, Corey's vocals soar majestically. Finally, a breakdown at around 2:40 lets loose, then back to teasing you back and forth till the end. Very cleverly structured, a good track, leaves you quite tense - 3.5/5
Standout Member - Corey Taylor
11) Snuff - If anyone believed that SlipKnoT would never make a song that would make you cry, they'd be proven wrong with this one. A track about losing a loved one, SlipKnoT are capable of making beautiful music. That's right i used the word "beautiful" and SlipKnoT in the same sentence. A fully acoustic track, much like "Circle" or "Vermillion Part 2", the gentle guitars and Corey's shattered-heart vocals are very touching, even to a huge metalhead like myself. His lyrics are real and emotional without sounding "emo" at all. Standout lyrics include "So if you love me let me go. And run away before I know..." Everyone has their little bits, to Paul's backing, Sid and Craig's effects really help set the mood. A song with plenty of heart, it is the best acoustic track SlipKnoT have ever written - 5/5
Standout Members - Corey Taylor, Jim Root, Mick Thompson, Sid, Craig
12) All Hope Is Gone - They saved the best till last. This is the future SlipKnoT right here. Isnanely heavy, with Joey going nuts and unleashing barrages of blastbeats, double-bass, Chris and Clown joining in like the armies of hell marching forth. Mick and Jim destroy their guitars with sizzling nu-thrash riffs and a mathcore style verse riff too. The solo is a complete frenzy which fits in with the assault. Sid, Craig, Chris, Clown and Paul all chip in, and all contribute well. Corey is at his most aggro here, with pissed off lyrics and shout along lyrics like "WE HAVE MADE THE PRESENT OBSOLETE! WHAT DO YOU WANT, WHAT DO YOU NEED! WE'LL FIND A WAY, WHEN ALL HOPE IS GONE!" You can imagine this one live, with Sid diving from some place fifty feet in the air while Clown swings his bat into numerous kegs. A joint best track with "Psychosocial" and an all around headbang-fest, this tune is dynamite - 5/5
Standout Members - Everyone
Overall, it's another strong outing for SlipKnoT, the different styles on this album are for the most part, really refreshing. A few fails sure, but that can be forgiven with the great guitar work, Corey's one and only vocals and some really really catchy songs. Joey's drumming shows why he's seen as a legend, while Sid and Craig contribute well, as do Clown and Chris' beats that you'll be drumming on the table to. Paul isn't heard alot as i said, but he does contribute to the texture and has a few good basslines here and there. In a time where many unoriginal bands are surfacing and constant labelling of bands are destroying their reputations and careers, SlipKnoT still emerge as original and as credible as ever. These days, you have to rely on the old-school. Stay (sic).