As an undeniable presence than most other bands, nu-metal progressive nine-piece Slipknot have lived through so much. So rather than hearing a hiatus from the usual brutal releasing of new music, the Maggots were surprised to hear that their new album – and seventh LP marking the end with Roadrunner Records – would be called, “The End, So Far.”
Marking an end of an era for a band seemingly undevoid of carnage, gore and nu-metal noise since they planted the seed in Iowa backroads of 1999, The End, So Far is a fulfilling album release “almost like a reset”, as Taylor recalls in a recent interview of his.
While it doesn’t recall any comparisons from the substantial Vol.3 in 2004 – well, that was 18 years ago – The End, So Far offers the collective at their most experimental – and daring – yet. With We Are Not Your Kind not finding familiarity within an otherwise perfect track record for the band – and with the tribute tale of The Gray Chapter in 2014 offering the last meal that was worthy to devour on – there’s hope among their most buried maggots to coop up and stay in the dark with them.
Opener Adderall is nothing remotely Slipknot – warts and all – but offers a new depth of dexterity and a handsome flavour of what more they’ve got around the corner for the band. Pre-singles, The Dying Song (Time To Sing) and The Chapeltown Rag is a full gamut of guttural screams, matched with a rhythmic onslaught that really embellish this final chapter as it’s own – all the while attributing to the ’90s alternative-grunge scene before them. Taylor screeches in the swollen bridge, “Think hard, you bastards, you’re gonna tell me why/If I don’t get an answer, you’re gonna sing and die.”
All things experimental horror, Yen is a darker and broodier alternative for Vermillion, offering up a Slipknot that is very coherent, fresh and otherwise chaotic in every sense of the word. Startling favourite amongst most, Hive Mind is a cathartic drooling of blast beats, hardened gut-guitar that swoons into a real strong hook, “For your own information, for your own entertainment/This hell comes to unite/And if you need some assistance, a little time to convince it/Doubt in your soul and hivemind.” Warranty and Medicine of the Dead is another euphoric onslaught of true mob mentality with Taylor really pushing himself lyrically: “What happens in the dark feels away, the blackout never does/Turning the gears, sharping the blades of sheer terror, these fevered ones/But tell me the secret things, show me the bloody kings/Let’s play a game where the winners always lose..”
There was never a band like Slipknot, and quite frankly, there will never be another. And so more often than not, the inherent naysayers and rumour-dwelling skunks who write off Slipknot just from the passage of time, have to be reminded every album they release, that Slipknot are still alive and kicking – despite them disappearing, like everything else in this world.
The likes of Acidic and Heirloom do just that. Pensive and lurid throughout, they are statements of intent, dabbling with this and seeping a little bit of that, as they go full conjectural, like a prodding and probing of the next phase for the band. More so Frankenstein, the effervescent noodling and constant assault of H377 is some of their best work in a fair few years, especially considering it’s tailing the back-end of the album. The record ends as it always does with Slipknot – a Finale. Most fitting, the orchestral arch and Slayer-inspired of slow drench leaves us Maggots in an unrelenting lurch, eager for more post-Roadrunner.
With new contract clauses, comes new ideas, new inventions. What Frankenstein will they create next? What future will befall the Iowa-based collection of boiler-suited misfits?
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