Slipknot have been through a lot of changes, tragedy and turmoil in the past few years. A lot of people, including myself, did not know if we would ever hear another Slipknot album. They lost their bass player and brother Paul Gray a couple years ago and that was a horrible situation for his bandmates, friends, family and Knot fans everywhere. A huge loss in the metal community that no one will soon forget. After such tragedy came the split with drummer Joey Jordison who has been a HUGE part of Slipknot’s sound since the very beginning. A couple months later, Slipknot/Stone Sour guitarist Jim Root let word out that he was no longer a member of Stone Sour with Corey Taylor. We had learned that Jim was fired from Stone Sour and everyone feared this would put a major strain on his relationship with Slipknot/Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor.
After many bad things happening over the last few years it was such a sigh of relief to get word that the band had started work on a new album. Much to everyone’s surprise, the band had hired a new drummer, new bass player and Jim Root was still a part of the band. Next, we got our first taste of the album with the track “The Negative One” and it took everyone’s doubts and flipped them upside down. After hearing that track I knew this album was going to be amazing. The album opens up with “XIX” giving us creepy synths and Corey telling us not to let this world tear us apart. After the creepy and badass opener we have “Sarcastrophe” starting off where “XIX” finished with more creepy ambiance and a cool riff followed by a huge explosion of distortion and ridiculously killer drum fills. This is the Slipknot we all know and love, double bass drum, Corey’s screaming vocal and sick riffs from guitarists Jim and Mick, a return to the Self Titled/Iowa era Slipknot. This track will send crowds into a frenzy at live shows and people will be beating the shit out of each other in the pit during this track!
Next up is “AOV” which comes on like a freight train with blast beats and quick riffs before turning into a sick groove with Taylor’s angry screams letting us know the Knot are back and they mean business. This is one of the most dynamic tracks on the album with a clean sung chorus after all of the devastating riffs and blast beats before it. The next track is the album’s killer lead single “Devil In I’ which everyone already knows followed by the song “Killpop”, starting off with some synths and drums until Corey’s clean vocals come in and make this one of the best tracks on the album. This song really needs to be released as a single. I can just see the crowd having a huge sing a long during this one, however, screams and a heavy riff come from out of left field here and surprise you, a really cool and unexpected transition. “Skeptic” is next and besides the albums opening track, this is the first time we hear about Paul Gray in the lyrics, but don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a ballad in regards to Gray, this is a full on thrash track! “Lech” starts out BRUTAL with Corey screaming “I know why judas wept motherfucker!” before we get some spoken word from Corey and head into a screaming chorus that really reminds me of Iowa.
“Goodbye” is next and it is SOMEWHAT of a ballad that I can only assume is about Gray. Corey’s vocals really shine on this track. His clean vocals are just as badass as his screams and both are all over this record. “Custer” is easily the heaviest track on the album. This will be the new “Get This” and is my favorite track on the album, it starts off heavy and never gives up. Corey has a spoken word verse before coming into his screaming/rapping verses . When the chorus comes in it KILLS!! This will be a live favorite, everyone in the band is on full display here. The closing track is titled “If Rain Is What You Want” and I was always very curious about this track after seeing the title. It’s a very ambient, synth driven track in the beginning and is a great way to end the album. Slipknot have really outdone themselves with this album. It does not get better than this! After the tragedy and member changes in the band these last few years it is so great to hear them come back with such a great album. This is truly their best album to date. 5/5 by David Rader