Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Slipknot - ".5: The Gray Chapter" (2014)

Legendary 9-piece group Slipknot from Iowa broke into the mainstream in the early 00s in unorthodox fashion, wearing abominable masks and playing loud rampant, aggressive music they quickly built a large cult following of die hard fans as well as causing a lot of controversy, which of course only helped promote them. Over the years Slipknot have slowed down there creative output and gone through some understandable changes. They no longer write the wild anger-driven chaotic breed of metal from their first two major releases. They have retained their identity but the Slipknot sound has undergone much change.

On this album more so than ever Slipknot sound more like a typical metal outfit, there once unpredictable guitar style is almost non existent, with most of the riffs lacking that spontaneous emotion driven aggression they used to have. The drumming is vastly different from Joey Jordison's style and his absence was instantly noticeable, the drums felt predictable and not quite up to scratch with Joeys style. Despite this negativity, Slipknot do still hold their unique and indisputable sound and put together an enjoyable collection of songs. On "All Hope Is Good" Sid's input felt almost non existent and nice change on this record is his inclusion of scratching and unusual samples in many of the songs.

An issue for me listening to this record is the constant thoughts comparing it to their early works, but after a few listens through the songs started to show their charm. There's some great energy in these tracks, especially in those moments where the percussion pounds in primal repetition along with the money riffs. As for variety this album has plenty, the moods, tempos and themes explored have a balance as the songs bring some melodic overtones and atmosphere to the table, alongside the more aggressive moments. The production is pitch perfect, crystal clear and honestly a bore. Some bands benefit from muddier, lower fidelity, charactered recordings and Slipknot is one of them. They can't be frozen on ice, and there progression as a group is a positive one, but after everyone listen all i want to do is play Surfacing at full volume... you probably know what i mean.

Favorite Songs: The Devil In I, Skeptic, The Negative One
Rating: 5/10