Slipknot
We Are Not Your Kind


4.2
excellent

Review

by Simon STAFF
August 9th, 2019 | 739 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album the Maggots deserve.

Slipknot has had a lot to contend with in 2019, having lost yet another one of its original members due to internal dramas. With that, when you sit back and analyse the places this band has gone to in the last 10 years, it’s amazing to think We Are Not Your Kind even exists. I mean, arguably, this band ran out of steam as far back as All Hope is Gone – an unfocused, bland and, at times, muddled record that saw fame and fortune getting the better of this nonet. However, when you consider the death of their primary songwriter, Paul Gray, and the firing of their original drummer, Joey Jordison, it left a lot of balls up in the air for .5: The Gray Chapter’s imminent release.

Like All Hope is Gone, .5: The Gray Chapter suffers from the same experimentally confused and flaccid songwriting its former pertained, the only distinction between the two being that age is far less forgiving of .5: The Gray Chapter as the years press on. It also has to be said that with our modern-day Slipknot, I sit dangerously close to a sentiment that could effuse a narrow-minded point-of-view, but I’m going to say it anyway: there’s been a budding complacency that’s been eroding the last 10 years of Slipknot’s output. From choppy songwriting, to Corey’s detrimental vocal performances, the band has lost sight of its fundamental values. This band isn’t Kiss; in their early days, these guys were intent on feeding on their own self-destruction until their inevitable demise. The irony here is that the demise part never happened, and over time their feral sensibilities have turned domesticated: a corporate brand name used to sell big-festival tickets, all the while dimming the white-hot, emotive intensity of their early days because of complacency and age.

And age plays a big part in this kind of music; it can sometimes be the difference between a good album and a great one. The band’s bedrock has always centred on anger and sincerity, and it’s something Corey has failed to convincingly deliver on since Paul Gray’s death, thus making an album like .5: The Gray Chapter a completely futile farce. The saving grace of their last record was that, potentially, its successor could be instrumentally interesting and superior – assuming it was going to be written collaboratively. Jay Weinberg was a perfectly organic replacement to Joey, and he showed massive potential and engagement behind Slipknot’s fifth effort. So, while I don’t look at .5: The Gray Chapter very favourably, the record still presents itself as an optimistic stepping stone for better artistic ventures. Which, for the most part, We Are Not Your Kind delivers on.

We Are Not Your Kind is not a perfect album by any means, there’s still a lot of niggling baggage being carried over from 2014’s misfire, but with that being said, this is a much more attentive album which manages to firmly grasp onto a consistent tone for the duration of its stay. There’s an ominous cloud that hangs over We Are Not Your Kind’s tracks, and it makes the record gel together more organically because of it – largely supported by the intermittent ambient sections that spring up from time to time, just to let the album breath and form its own world. Songs are handled more skilfully this time around and don’t present the same jarring juxtaposed-tonal-meshing that plagued the album’s predecessor – at least not to anywhere near the same degree. Without giving the usual spiel of a band promoting an album that’s hearkening back to their roots, this actually delivers on that count here. Compositionally, the album sits right in the middle of Iowa and Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, whilst ensuring it implements some of the more modern Slipknot traits to give the record a more distinguished presence. The band has learnt from their sloppy mistakes, cutting out a lot of the Stone Sour-esque writing in favour of a more authentic Slipknot sound. This is easily the heaviest album they’ve made since Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, and it rarely lets up from the pounding, metallic percussion, frantically complex drums and dense guitar work.

With that being said, my biggest praises have to go to Corey, though. After a number of years being the burden to a lot of Slipknot’s songs, he’s managed to rein in all of his worst habits. Taylor now walks on the frontlines using his signature nu-metal harsh-rap/shouting, placing infectious hooks and clean vocal work where applicable and with strategic planning. Like the early days of the band, radio-hooks have always been an important part of their sound, but they’ve never been a complete focal point. The biggest problem with latter day albums is the incessant lean on their Stone Sour-approach-to-writing. Here, that mantra is gone and choruses to tracks like “Unsainted” and “Nero Forte” aren’t distracting – they feel earned, rather than shoehorned in for the sake of accessibility. Lyrics sound more mature as well and don’t stoop to the level of common denominator like the infamously awful “Custer”. The frontman’s handling on these tracks is tasteful and relatively lowkey, but it also presents an obvious elevation in how he’s tackling things in the band these days.

This is easily the best album Slipknot has produced in 15 years, there’s no disputing that, however, there are two weighty problems that surface with repeated listens: the album’s length, and the homogenised stomping rhythm. Both are technically married to each other, because if the record wasn’t so long the classic stomping rhythm wouldn’t be as much of an issue. By the last quarter of the album though, I felt a little fatigued with the way We Are Not Your Kind was sticking to some of the same patterns. There’s not a bad song here, but there are moments on “Orphan” or “Solway Firth” where I started to feel the pinch; the unshakable feeling some of the payoff wasn’t quite there by the time it had ended. If they’d condensed or cut a couple of tracks, I feel the band would have struck a home run. In addition, another less severe con is the symphonic elements that creep up here and there. The choir in “Unsainted” is simply cringe-worthy, distracting and incompatible with the track’s mainstay metallic scorn. This inspiration enters the fray elsewhere at times, but it’s a little less on the nose and far less obnoxious, albeit damaging nonetheless.

Overall though, it’s been a good year for old-school metal bands, and this album has turned out to be a surprisingly welcoming addition to the list. Sure, We Are Not Your Kind is a little bloated and it occasionally stubs its toe on trying to be grandiose, but their determined focus on making this sound like Slipknot is wildly successful. The level of experimentation is a positive draw as well, going all-out weird with moody instrumentals and strange electronic ambiences, and having them applied pretty impressively to the hard-hitters of the album guarantees its persistent tone. Most importantly – even with its ambitious side occasionally rearing its head – this is grounded, back to basics writing that becomes the breath of fresh air for the album. This is the record the band should have come back with post Paul Gray’s death; it has all the hallmarks of what made Slipknot great in the first place, but it contains a lot of the good elements that came from .5: The Gray Chapter as well.

FORMAT//EDITIONS: CD/̶/̶D̶I̶G̶I̶T̶A̶L̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶

PACKAGING: Standard jewel case.

SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://slipknot1.lnk.to/wanyk/



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3.7
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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2019


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

sorry for the length, i didn't expect to have this much to say.

Digging: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind

Shadowmire
August 9th 2019


5118 Comments


good work but the choir part in unsainted is great

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 9th 2019


31903 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4 | Sound Off

Jeez way to bring down the metacritic average from 100.

Great review for a surprisingly strong release.

Digging: Off With Their Heads - Be Good

BrushedRed
August 9th 2019


3141 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I’m not understanding the hype. I mean it’s not bad, but it sounds the same as say Volume 3, but with electronics. It’s not some revolutionary statement everyone is trying to make it out to be. The acclaim around this boggles my mind.

Matthias812
August 9th 2019


102 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Calling out Orphan and Solway Firth where you start feeling a pinch (two of the stronger songs on here to me) but ignore the horrendous Spiders and My Pain, two that would rank on a top 10 worst songs by Slipknot.



A lot of people seem to like Spiders though so I guess I'm in the minority on that one.



Also I dig the choir in Unsainted too.

Digging: Oh Sees - A Weird Exits

Brendan352
August 9th 2019


37 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A lot of strong songs on here and great atmosphere building. I'm happy they attempted to create a full listening experiance and I think they achieved their goal in that. I'm still warming up to some of the more experimental tracks like Spiders, but even the ones that are clearly growers for me aren't bad songs at all and kept me interested throughout.

AaroN911
August 9th 2019


2546 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

If this continues to interest me over a month or so i will up the rating for sure

Digging: Carnifex - World War X

SymbolicInTime
August 9th 2019


4732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My only complaint with My Pain is that it seems stretched to fill out its runtime for no reason other than meeting a certain timestamp, but it's still a really neat track imo



Especially when I remember that it's a Slipknot song

JWT155
August 9th 2019


14394 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Their best album since Volume 3 easily.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2019


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

"Jeez way to bring down the metacritic average from 100."



lol this was never going to be a 5 in my book. it's crazee it has(had) a 100.





Also loving the fact you are enjoying all these awesome metal albums this year sow

Protomorph
August 9th 2019


81 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Spiders and my pain are absolutely reinventing for the band. I cannot believe how much negativity I see for those two tracks everywhere .

Digging: Gravemind - Conduit

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2019


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

"Their best album since Volume 3 easily."



by a landslide

Gyromania
August 9th 2019


28184 Comments


i feel like the hype train is a lie. i think subliminal verses is great but i have serious reservations about this being in league with it after the last two albums they shat out.

SymbolicInTime
August 9th 2019


4732 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This makes the last two look like a joke imo



Even moreso than they already were, because now its apparent they still have energy and creativity in them

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2019


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

@gyro



no one is more cynical on these guys, these days, than me. this was a whopping surprise for sure. check it man, it'll probably surprise you

BigPleb
August 9th 2019


59553 Comments


I love how well placed the YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH’s are here.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2019


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

as people have said as well, spiders is fantastic

Larkinhill
August 9th 2019


3597 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I’m not understanding the hype. I mean it’s not bad, but it sounds the same as say Volume 3, but with electronic



Haven’t listened yet but if it sounds like Vol 3, then that sounds awesome to me.

Toondude10
August 9th 2019


13981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Still not impressed with most of this, but good review otherwise.

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

Gyromania
August 9th 2019


28184 Comments


Aight, Gonzo, I'm going in!



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