Sound — 3
Let me start off this review by quickly stating that I am all for bands innovating and changing their style, and I ask that the reader does not go under the impression that I am simply writing this poor review because Slipknot decided to change their style. Now that that's out of the way, let me get to the review. In promotion for their next album, "All Hope Is Gone", Slipknot decided to have listening parties at all hot topics today. Being that I work there, I got to hear the album in it's entirety. Now, I've been a fan of Slipknot for several years. When I was younger, they were a sort of gateway drug into metal for me, as I had no introduction to the genre at the time and knew nothing of how vast the whole genre really was. Even after discovering other bands in the metal world that are more technically and musically proficient, I have stuck by Slipknot's music. Despite the fact that the songwriting is often simplistic and rhythm-oriented, I have had a definite appreciation for the way in which it was put together. The way each member (or well, at least most of them) contribute to the music puts together a sound that I still believe is entirely original. I even had a strong appreciation for Vol. 3 when they toned down the aggression and focused more on the instrumentals. My first introduction to this album was with the single "All Hope is Gone," which I quickly became addicted to. Good song, good instrumentals, a very catchy chorus, and a badass guitar solo. Joey Jordison still managed to drive the song home on the drums, and even Sid Wilson was still able to contribute his DJ skills. Once I heard this, I was more than stoked to hear what else they were planning on releasing. Then after that, I heard Psychosocial. This disappointed me a bit. The riffs were much more simplistic, and it seemed like Slipknot was definitely going much more in the direction of a more Stone Sour-ish type of sound. What upset me even more was the hardcore-esque breakdown in the middle of the song, which just seemed like at that point they were trying way too hard to match up to what's popular in the metal scene right now. So I was sitting on the fence when the clock struck 7 to play the album in the store. I was sincerely hoping the band was going to put together something new and innovative that had some of the aggression of their self-titled album and Iowa along with the musical innovation of Vol. 3. After the first few songs, I was already getting more and more disappointed. What I heard was not Slipknot, but very bad and very generic alternative rock. The tempos were all slowed down, the guitars doing very little musical innovation, a complete absence of Sid Wilson, and Joey Jordison doing a very steady and uninspired drum line. Corey Taylor was barely screaming and focused more on singing. Now, as I said, I am all for bands expanding and innovating. I am a huge fan of all of Metallica's softer works up through the Black Album, but the major difference there is Metallica's softer songs were innovative and original. This music is not. Then I started hearing some of their heavier stuff. Again here, I was not impressed. The guitars were doing some more complex riffs, but barely anything to qualify as innovative. Still very little contribution from Sid Wilson. In fact, the only thing I felt driving these songs at this point was the drums. The thing I loved about Slipknot's original style was the use of effects, samples, and DJ. They weren't necessarily playing anything complicated, but the use of those things together helped to create a unique sound. What I heard sounded more like sludge metal than anything else.
Lyrics — 7
Unfortunately it's hard to recall everything Corey Taylor was singing about, being as though I was also trying to work at the same time I was listening to this album. I will comment on the fact that I do believe his vocals have gotten increasingly better though. His screams are improving and he's still managing to maintain the kind of sound he used on the old albums. He also has a fantastic singing voice, but decided to use it way more than he should have.
Overall Impression — 4
This album stands very poorly next to their previous works. If any of you enjoyed the single "All Hope is Gone" as much as I did, your best bet is to stick with that single and not listen to the whole album, because none of the songs on there sound anything like it. This album won't have the opportunity to be stolen from me, because I won't buy it. I would have been able to buy it on pre-sale today with my employee discount, but after hearing it, decided to get something else instead. Some of the customers who came in just to hear the entire album decided to go in the same direction. I'm going to stick with the one song off the album that I do like and hope if I ever decide to see Slipknot again in concert that they don't start sticking too many new songs into their set-list.