I thought Slipknot peaked in 2004. Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) is one of the albums of my generation. The cover art, the prevalent, gothy press pics. The best iteration of masks (don’t @ me). Killer tracks like ‘Duality’ and ‘Before I Forget’. For 15 years that’s been my take.
15 (FIFTEEN!) years on, and a couple of mixed bags later - All Hope Is Gone (2008) and The Gray Chapter (2014) - the ‘Knot return with 6th album We Are Not Your Kind and blow my 15-year-old theory to shit. But, fuck, am I thrilled they did! A monster is reborn.
Seasoned metal-heads will say that Slipknot has always been an accessible kind of metal. But this time even your Mom and Dad want some of the action. Everyone from the Guardian to business insider magazine Forbes has given WANYK (unfortunate abbreviation) a rousing thumbs-up.
WANYK’s success is in its departure from being “too metal”. It fearlessly explores new sounds and strips itself down to bare metal riffs, only sparingly hitting full throttle. You can’t click your fucking fingers to it like, but it is as melodious as a Slipknot record has been.
In a similar style to Vol.3, WANYK’s success also lies in its completeness as a proper album, rather than just a tray of assortments. It’s a complete body of work; agitated and meticulous, created by wringing every last drop of talent from 9 sodden, beaten-up boiler suits.
It is hard to pick favourites, but for my money ‘Nero Forte’ is a clear standout for any newb thinking of trying the album on for size, not forgetting ‘Unsainted’, 2019’s answer to ‘Duality’. For Slipknot in more familiar brutality, try ‘Orphan’ and album-closer ‘Solway Firth’.
So, does it topple Vol. 3? Ultimately, I think my nostalgia will always stand in the way of that, but make no mistake, Slipknot have produced a devastating return to form and it is wonderful to see these mainstay misfits hit such deserved heights.
I’m a big Slipknot fan. But to think that they could have created 2019’s album of the year (could they just?), 20 years after their debut release? That's a surprise even to me. Happy maggot.