Thursday, 30 June 2016

Revisiting Bands - Slipknot

This is the 4th revisiting blog I’ve written now and I’ve quite enjoyed the ones I’ve done so far which is probably why I’m continuing to do them. So far, I have learned that my negativity surrounding the Deftones was probably due to the times I’d seen them live and not entirely to do with their albums. I’ve learned that despite them being one of my favourite bands about 10 years ago, Devildriver will likely never be one of my favourite bands again (despite their first two albums still being belters) and I’ve learned why Bring Me The Horizon have become a stadium filling band (and realised that I actually rather like their latest two albums). This time around, I intend to revisit a band who I still love, both live and on record – but want to go back and listen to some of the stuff I never listen to.

My Relationship with Slipknot – Slipknot were one of the bands that turned me onto metal. I remember firmly being in the “grungers are bad” camp at school because I received some terrible advice from people who used to be friends. I didn’t listen to the music but I didn’t need to. I remember in my circle of friends it being a real talking point when we all realised we liked a song that the “grungers” liked – Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit. During this time, I would flick through music channels to find something I wanted to listen to, but would never leave Kerrang on for more than a second as I knew I wouldn’t like anything that was on there. One time I didn’t skip straight past and there was a video on – I don’t remember if I liked the song on first listen but it got my attention and I didn’t change the channel until the video had finished. That video was for Slipknot – Wait and Bleed. It was Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park who got me on the road to liking metal music, but I remember when I was won over, I went back and listened to some of Slipknot’s stuff and loved it.

SLIPKNOT (1999) – Just as a note, I am listening to the “European Limited Edition digipak import” as that is the version I have. The one that ends with Get This. The opening track was an intro to the album. Little needs to be said about it really. I don’t understand the purpose of them. For me, the album really starts on track 2 with (Sic) – what a way to start an album! That positive start continues into Eyeless which prompted the response from me – “Eyeless. Fucking Hell Eyeless”. Clearly I’d forgotten about that song. Wait and Bleed is one of my go-to Slipknot songs – it is just ace. Surfacing continues the run of excellent songs. It is not hard to see how this album got everyone’s attention back in 1999. As I understand it, there was a bit of promotion just based on there being a 9-piece band from Iowa who wear masks and boiler suits which initially got people’s attention – I suspect this album being good helped their cause. This album, lest ye forget, is a Nu-Metal album, and Spit It Out is some Nu-Metal at its finest. I don’t overly like Tattered and Torn. I do not know the last time I listened to Me Inside (it has been a while that’s for sure) – I rather like this. Liberate is really good. I dug Prosthetics but not as much as I thought I would when I started.  No Life is decent enough. Diluted is a good song as is Only One. Scissors doesn’t do a lot for me. “Give me a scream Corey” announces the arrival of the last song on the album, Get This. This song is excellent. I’d forgotten just how good of an album this is.
Album MVP – Wait and Bleed
Also Recommended – Eyeless, Surfacing, (Sic).

IOWA (2001) – Another odd intro track but whatever – it’s only a minute long. The album really kicks off with People = Shit which is one hell of a way to kick off this album. Up next is Disasterpiece, which is not a song I listen to that often. I’m not sure why as it is quite good. Following Disasterpiece however is the run of My Plague, Everything Ends and The Heretic Anthem – all outstanding songs. Gently is a really good song. It is followed by Left Behind (another Slipknot song with an epic music video) which is fantastic. The Shape is a decent song. I Am Hated is another excellent song. Skin Ticket didn’t do a whole lot for me. New Abortion is a good song, as is Metabolic. The title track is the last song on the album. I wasn’t sure if there was a hidden track on it, as it is 15 minutes long. It did lose my attention at times.
Album MVP – Left Behind
Also Recommended – My Plague, People = Shit, Everything Ends.

VOL. 3: (THE SUBLIMINAL VERSES) (2004) – The album opens with Prelude 3.0 which is a better opening song than the previous two albums have had. In its own right, it is an alright song. Up next is The Blister Exists, which is pretty good. Three Nil is a decent song. Duality follows it and this is a Slipknot anthem. I imagine these days it would be rare to see Slipknot live and them not play this song. As it happens, I quite like it – a lot. Opium Of The People is another good song. I had completely forgotten about Circle.  This song is very different to anything else Slipknot had done previously. This album was the start of Slipknot moving away from Nu-Metal, and Circle is just one example of that. I like it. Welcome is a decent song. Vermillion is an excellent song – another example of Slipknot changing their style a little bit on this album. I loved it when they played this song live at Wembley Arena in January last year. Pulse Of The Maggots is a pretty good song. Before I Forget is another Slipknot live favourite and it is not hard to see why – it is a great song. Vermillion, Pt 2 is the softest Slipknot song to date. I’m not entirely sure it fits on this or any Slipknot album, but I love the song. The Nameless follows and I like this song. It is a bit disjointed in places, switching from heavy verses to softer choruses. The Virus of Life did nothing for me. Neither did Danger – Keep Away. The album should have ended after The Nameless or even Vermillion Pt 2. I like the album but it is the weakest of the 3 albums of theirs I have listened to.
Album MVP – Before I Forget
Also Recommended – Duality, Vermillion, Vermillion Pt 2.

ALL HOPE IS GONE (2008) – The intro track was a bit of a waste of time. The drums at the end led nicely onto the first proper song of the album - Gematria (The Killing Name). I really like this song and thought this would become a live favourite before long. I think I’m right in saying it has never been played live so I was wrong on that one. Sulfur is next up and this is a great song.  Psychosocial follows it. This is another Slipknot live anthem and for good reason – it is excellent. Dead Memories is next up and it is another excellent song. On the All Hope Is Gone tour, the first time I saw Slipknot live (and the only time I would see the original 9 members on stage together), they only played two songs from this album, Psychosocial and Dead Memories. I was surprised they only played two but two very good choices. Vendetta is the next song and I’ll be honest, it did very little for me. Butcher’s Hook is a pretty good song. Gehenna didn’t do a lot for me. This Cold Black is a decent song, as is Wherein Lies Continue. Snuff is an excellent song but I can’t help but wonder whether it should have been a Stone Sour song rather than a Slipknot song. Oh well. The album closes with the title track, All Hope Is Gone, which somehow seems heavier than it is following Snuff – and it is pretty heavy as is. I like the song. This album has its moments – the run of Gematria, Sulfur, Psychosocial and Dead Memories is excellent. It all gets a bit sketchy after that. There are some good songs there but nothing that sticks out until you get to Snuff and All Hope Is Gone. I would say, despite the early run, that this is probably the poorest Slipknot album they have released.
Album MVP – Dead Memories
Also Recommended – Gematria (The Killing Name), Sulfur, Psychosocial.

.5: THE GRAY CHAPTER (2014) – What is it with Slipknot and odd opening tracks? Anyway, Sarcastrophe is a really good song, as is AOV. The Devil In I is an excellent song. It took a few listens initially for it to grow on me but now it has, I love it. Killpop does nothing for me. Skeptic is a good song, as is Lech (if you ignore the opening line – makes me cringe every time). Goodbye doesn’t do a lot for me. Nomadic is one of my favourite songs on the album and I think one that has been criminally overlooked. The One That Kills the Least is a pretty good song and one, if I’m honest, I had forgotten about entirely. It was a nice surprise. However, it is followed up by a song that I love and hate (love it most of the time, hate it when it comes on when I’m running). Custer is one of Slipknot’s best songs. Be Prepared for Hell successfully fills two minutes on the album. That’s all I’ve got on that one. I assume it is there to serve as a breather between Custer and The Negative One. Speaking of The Negative One, that is the next song and it is really good – one of the best on the album. The album closes out on If Rain Is What You Want. I don’t mind this song but it takes a really long time to get going. Slipknot didn’t record an album for 6 years for a number of reasons – Paul Gray sadly passing away being the main one I imagine. This is an excellent album. I’d probably rank it as their 3rd best album – but there is no shame in being third to the self-titled album and Iowa.
Album MVP – Custer
Also Recommended – Nomadic, The Negative One, The Negative One.

CONCLUSION – I’ll tell you what, that Slipknot are a bit good aren’t they? This was a fun revisit to do. There were songs I had completely forgotten about (Eyeless from the debut album and The One That Kills The Least from the latest album). There were songs I knew I liked but hadn’t listened to in a while and of course, there were songs I love which I got to listen to again. Yes, there are songs I don’t overly like but when a band releases 5 albums, that is bound to happen. The latest album is just as good as the first two and that is quite the compliment as those first two albums are fantastic.

The next band I will be revisiting is another one that I’ve gone off of recently and that is Alter Bridge. See you next time!

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