Sound — 9
Slipknot's heavy and extreme yet beautiful sound truly comes to head on this album. Guitars, vocals, drums and sampling/scratchng are at their best. The songs stay consitent in style but maintain their own identity instead of molding together like a lot of very heavy albums. Slipknot were intent of staying different from a lot of bands in the nu-metal scene and I must say that they became a definite stand-out with IOWA.
Lyrics — 10
Overall the lyrics are generally of the same topics as on the first album. The only differences are: Corey being able to dig deeper into his childhood and his entire past life and give us a bigger view of his early troubles. Corey also being able to give more vocal changes from screaming and singing to give more emotion when needed. Individual songs: 01. People=shit - Slipknot's signature saying become one their most brutal songs. The lyrics seem to speak of Corey just slowly becoming more psychotic due to people he can't stand anymore. 02. Disasterpiece - the opening lyrics are just gruesome but they convey the message saying "Don't f--k with me" and Corey adds a haunting singing bridge that makes you feel like you are trapped in an insane asylum. 03. My Plague - this song is a good take on Corey being able to switch between screaming, rapping and singing. I find the lyrics saying that Corey knows the innermost secrets of someone and compares himself to that person. Near the end he begins to scream that he will never be them. Speaking as to a mentor or parent. 04. Everything Ends - Slipknot's take on a relationship gone bad. The opening lyrics say it all as Corey speaks to someone who has completely betrayed him. 05. Heretic Anthem - a giant middle finger to the music industry and record companies. Using references of God, humans and Satan as labels, Corey tells how Slipknot will not allow themselves to be used. 06. Gently - this song is a remake from their independent release. It has been reconstructed well, musically. The lyrics are the same but they seem to bring the listener into the mind of a killer or someone who has lost all sanity. 07. Left Behind - one of the singles from the album, Left Behind is another song where Corey transitions from screaming verses to singing chorus. The lyrics are of someone being abandoned by his friends/relatives. 08. The Shape - this song is being sung from the point of view of someone like a serial killer who as become completely insane as he speaks of losing his only way and seeing "The Shape." 09. I Am Hated - lyrics brought to the listener by rapping of "fast-talking" the lyrics are kind of garbled but are very important the mindset of the album as Corey restates how people make him feel. 10. Skin Ticket - this songs gives the impression as to the mind set of someone like Charles Manson or any psychotic killer who has just completely snapped. 11. New Abortion - this is Corey talking to the fans, calling them "... beloved cysts." This song also seems to talk to the Slipknot haters as Corey screams "You can't take my soul away!" 12. Metabolic - not a real standout track, lyrically. I find it to be more of a transition between New Abortion and Iowa. 13. Iowa - the title track is more of a story at it's climax than a song. The lyrics tell the tale of a man trapped in a desolate, isolated place who has become obsessed with someone. He speaks as he tortures this person, playing as a narrator. The character seems to slowly become more insane and vicious as the song progresses. The song itself is a monster at 15 minutes. Near the end, odd vocal sounds can be heard such as: psychotic laughing, demonic gurgles and heavy breathing. This song is the masterpiece of the album and definately should be saved for last.
Overall Impression — 10
This album is so far Slipknot's most brutal and heavy and it is full of lyrics concerning with hate, pain, depression and psychosis. If you love brute force and power, then this is the album for you. First time listeners for Slipknot should hear the first album before this one to get an idea as to where the topics and ideas come from. I love the power and aggression the the entire band displays on this album. I am not a fan of I am Hated because musically it doesn't seem to fit the album. The best songs are "People=Shit" "Left Behind" "Disasterpiece" "New Abortion" and "Iowa." I would buy this album over and over again!