Sound — 10
So, finally it's here. The long awaited successor of The Subliminal Verses which saw the nine-piece beast push into a slightly more melodic and adventurous approach than with previous albums. The record offered that Slipknot didn't compromise with their image and attitude while diving head first into uncharted territory. All Hope Is Gone continues the style of The Subliminal Verses, with a little more productional space gained by now legendary mixer Colin Richardson and the absence of Rick Rubin's ultra-dry and tight production.
Lyrics — 6
Corey Taylor is by now one of the most respected frontmen in all of heavy metal and his venture with "time-off band" Stone Sour, being his main focus in the last couple of years, has surely matured him as a lead singer in terms of range, style and melodic sense. On All Hope Is Gone he goes from his trademark roaring, a few growly moments to complete clean singing in the style of the Stone Sour single ''Through Glass''. Lyrically, All Hope Is Gone being the title of the whole record, one can rather quickly draw the conclusion that Mr. Taylor doesn't write nursery rhymes about clear blue skies and teddy bears. While his lyrics, as ever, works tremendously on soaring tracks like Gemetria (The Killing Name) and This Cold Black, and even when his voice is only on somewhat half-overdrive as on Vendetta and Sulfur, the most bits of clean singing, Gehenna being a nice exception, simply generate an estranged feeling. When the lyrical themes are so dark and depressing as on All Hope Is Gone, Taylor sometimes sound a bit whiny, complaining about "Dead Memories" or something else. Those moments are quite honestly the closest Slipknot have come to being emo, and must throw off one or two fans along the way. By no means, does this mean that they cannot make experiments within their music, but this path is a bumpy ride at best.
Overall Impression — 7
All Hope Is Gone is a really all or nothing-record. There are songs that certainly qualify themselves as new Slipknot classics. Stand out tracks of the more traditional (if that's a word that can be used in the same sentence as Slipknot) sounding songs, are Gemetria (The Killing Name), This Cold Black, All Hope Is Gone and Vendetta while the experimental pieces work rather admirably on Sulfur and Gehenna (a slow, doomy Alice In Chains-y track. The in-betweens are first single, Psychosocial, with it's monstrous kick-ass groove turning a bit moody getting through to the chorus, and Snuff with it's almost hopelessly beautiful chord progressions and melodies but with lyrics a bit too depressing, even though Corey Taylor really shines. Overall, there are enough tracks to keep us satisfied, but Slipknot must be careful with their experiments and must realise that with full artistic freedom comes great responsibility. However, if Joey Jordison plays this great on all 'Knot albums to come, we should never get to hear the complete disappointment.