Over the past week or so, I’ve gone through a deep dive of all the Slipknot albums. Throughout my listening extravaganza, I came to realize that if I had to pick a favorite Slipknot song it would most definitely be “Gently” from their second album, Iowa. This is one of those songs that packs so much into it yet, it’s a very minimalist song. It’s one of the songs in their catalog that is experimental yet totally makes sense. When put into the context of the sequence of the album on Iowa, “Gently” not only acts as a perfect transition piece of shifting the album into even darker territory. Something else that is quite interesting about this song is that it dates back to the very first Slipknot release, Mate Feed Kill Repeat. This is one song that I wish they would play more live. And now, “Gently.”
Sometimes it takes a death to put thing into perspective. It’s never easy to deal with, especially when it’s someone very close. When it was announced that Slipknot were in the studio recording a new album, it was met with great skepticism. Joey Jordison was booted from the band under still unknown circumstances. So what would it sound like? Early reports from the band equated it to a mix between Iowa and Volume 3. Personally I think it is more mix of the first album and Volume 3. There are plenty of tributes to the late Paul Gray on the album. “Skeptic” really shows this especially with lyrics like “the world will never see another crazy motherfucker like you/the world will never know another man as amazing as you,” this seems like touching ode to their fallen brother. Lead single “The Devil In I,” is full of melody and introspective lyrics. The entire album is full of lyrics that examine loss, selfishness, pain, and anger. There’s also the sullen ballad of “Goodbye.” “Killpop” on the other hand is a leap into uncharted territory.This song finds the band stepping outside their skin to focus a new wave/electro pop attempt. The course soon heads toward more traditional fare, thumping percussion and bristling riffs. There is the occasional classic rapid-fire vocal delivery of Corey Taylor and the sonic throwbacks featured in a track like “Custer.” This seems destined to be a live favorite due its anthemic usage of “cut me up” and “fuck me up.”
It’s not an album without faults. There are some inconsistent tracks. The band still has their predilection for melodic pursuits. But this is easily the groups most consistent album from start to finish. This is a welcome return to form for one of modern metal’s most revered (and despised) acts. One thing also that is a step in the right direction was the inclusion of Greg Fidelman to handle the production on the album and Joe Baressi to mix it, These two have brought the best of what Slipknot has to offer in 2014.