Sound — 9
Slipknot's newest album will definitely shock hardcore fans in that it is their most melodic effort to date, but unlike their previous effort Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, when they decide to go heavy it begins to sound much like Iowa, though Vol. 3 was a great album, at times when it was agressive it felt forced and it wasn't as abrasive or disturbing as Iowa was. The album begins with "execute" an intro full of noise and nifty drum solos by Joey Jordison, it's very reminscent of "(515)" from Iowa, then everything rounds itself up and the first proper track on the album, "Gematria (The Killing Name)", this song alone shows that even though the members of the band were either taking a peaceful break or off playing in their side projects, they still had that same anger, hatred and agression they became known for. We then find ourselves listening to "Sulfur", the first track with melody in it, though it still has that agressive sound, the chorus has Corey singing in it and I have to say, Corey is a damn good singer and I'm happy to hear him singing on this album. But let's focus on the music now, the riffs that Mick Thompson and Jim Root provide on the first 2 tracks are brilliant, as are the solos, we finally get a Slipknot album where the talented duo get to show off their skills. When Sulfer ends we find ourselves with Pyschosocial, the first single, everyone is bound to have heard this song by now, it is definitely much more restrained than the rest of the album, it is a great track and definitely stands out. Now we come to "Dead Memories" a song that is bound to have hardcore fans scratching their heads, though I don't think it's a terrible track, it could fit on either this album or a Stone Sour album, the guitar tones are definitely Slipknot, but the melody and subject matter are Stone Sour, it was rather brave of them to put this on the album, especially so early on in it. Vendetta begins and shows a lot more promise, it is definitely closer to the old Thrash metal acts in style and arrangement than anything Slipknot has written. "Butcher's Hook" is definitely a stand out track, it is agressive and emotional to a relentless extent and definitely cements Slipknot as a top metal act of today. "Gehenna" is a restrained little piece with a haunting melody and atmosphere that is reminiscent of "Gently" from Iowa. "This Cold Black" is arguably the heaviest track on the album, I don't find myself listening to this track as much as the others' though, it's heavy, but a tad bit uninteresting. "Wherein Lies Continue" has a great anthemic chorus, but it also has some highlight heavy moments as well, another stand-out track for me. "Snuff" is without a doubt the most daring track on the album, it's a power ballad, and a good one too! A lot of fans will probably hate it, I don't care, I like this track. "All Hope is Gone" ends the album on a high and powerful note, it's heavy, fast, agressive and contains some of Joey Jordison's best drumming in years and I should also mention the guitarwork is phenomonal.
Lyrics — 10
Slipknot have had a really great track record when it comes to lyrics in my opinion, and this album is no exception. This is the first Slipknot album to truly say without remorse that "THIS is how we live today, look what we have done, we need to do something about this", it is definitely the most political album Slipknot have released, but it also contains some nods towards social issues as well.
Overall Impression — 9
All Hope is Gone is definitely a great effort by Slipknot and it is a step in a good direction, many metal acts today find themselves becoming repetitive when they get to their 4th major label album, but not Slipknot, somehow they still manage to remain fresh and original after all these years, and they blow away all of the competition. 2008 was definitely a good year for me, because three of my favourite bands were releasing a new album, we had Death Magnetic by Metallica, Shogun by Trivium and neither of those albums disappointed me. This album will probably dissapoint a few fans who were expecting the entire album to be as heavy as Iowa, I wouldn't have minded if it was, but I am satisfied with the way All Hope is Gone has turned out so I won't complain. There isn't a weak track on this album, but a few weren't as impressive as the rest, though they were still good tracks.