Sound — 9
First of all let me say I am not a big slipknot fan. Actually, I'm not a slipknot fan at all. I bought their last CD, and was "converted" but I never enjoyed their previous material because I didn't hear much of it, and what I heard wasn't really my cup of tea. Fast forward to the present. I am hopelessly in love with All Hope is Gone. I really wasn't ready for this CD... it's got the amazing drumming, killer riffs, and passionate vocals of an outstandingly talented band at their prime. That's not even mentioning the tight grooves of the slightly overshadowed bass and intricate background melodies of innumerable electronic instruments. I gave the fury of this album's production and sound quality a 9/10 because of the sheer volume of audio information being thrown at the listener at all times: Sometimes it's not a good thing. The bass is very weak in the mix and the coolest little keyboard or turntable "diddies" can only be heard by throwing on some headphones or putting a hold to the headbanging - not exactly great news. Besides from that you've got to give credit for managing to fit all of this instrumental real estate in a workable production template so that the listener can hear the unadulterated fury of what is my favorite metal album of the year so far. Now, on to the important bit: The guitars. Never before has dropped tuning sounded so downright devilishly appealing. Root and Thompson have SERIOUSLY given Lamb of God's Adler and Morton some dangerous competition. Delightfully original breakdowns, chunky, unpredictable choruses, and playful verses put these two guitarists in the spotlight at all times, and that's not even including the solos. Usually not lasting more than a few seconds, you'll giggle to yourself in appreciation of the freedom and enjoyment that shines through the fiery fretwork like a beacon of guitar hope. These guys are shredding, and lovin' it. And so will you. But hands down my favorite part of the dual chops lovingly recorded here is the sheer originality of it all. Most songs have heaps upon heaps of riffs, always changing, ever evolving, and never tiring the listener out with "easy" escapes of predictable chords or overplayed pentatonic runs. Every riff, solo, interlude, and melody is massively unique and artfully and more importantly TASTEFULLY done. Bravo. Encore!
Lyrics — 10
Absolutely zero complaints with the lyrics. Corey's lyrics are hotly debated for being genius and contrived by two different viewpoints. I'm going for the genius one. I don't mean to sound corny but his lyrics really connect with my emotions and this material really hits close to home. The subject matter can be debated whether its about a person, or a place or a thing ... I don't really care. I usually relate it to things close in my heart and that's the important part - I can really appreciate and connect with these lyrics. This is probably my favorite part of the album ... aside from the insane guitar work of course.
Overall Impression — 10
This slipknot CD actually tops their last one, something I thought was probably an impossible feat. The funny thing is I remember reading in a guitar world interview that Jim Root was saying this CD was written and recorded in a disjointed way and he was not thrilled with the outcome ... if this is slipknot's worst than I am scared by what could be their best. I don't think the "maggots" are ready for the awesomeness of majesty that will be their defining album. This album will always be remembered for its insane guitar work: Not impossible to play by any means, but meticulously crafted in such a way as to disprove any naysayers of the dual guitarists song writing chops. Sheer guitar perfection.