Sound — 10
Lets recount what happened with Slipknot before this album, they released their self-titled major label debut, they were categorised as nu-metal, and there were unmistakable elements of it example: Corey's rap-style vocals, and many so-called metal purists dismissed them as just another nu-metal band. The one thing that you cannot deny is that Iowa was an evolution for Slipknot, it was their heaviest, rawest and most twisted effort to date, guitarists Mick Thompson and James Root play chugging uber-heavy riffs (the heretic anthem), twisted leads (disasterpiece, skin ticket), bassist paul gray has two haunting riffs on here (gently, iowa), drummer Joey Jordison is just unbelievable, his drum solo on "People = Shit" is like "WOW!", percussionists Shawn and Chris help create this wall of sound that makes you wanna punch someone in the face, on turntables is Sid Wilson, he isn't as prominent on here as he was on the self titled, and sampler 133 fills in the gaps, the best example of his genius is on the title track where there are samples of corey laughing maniacally, people screaming in agony, and all matter of twisted sounds, while the bass plays that haunting riff I mentioned before.
Lyrics — 10
Corey Taylor is one of favorite songwriters, his lyrics are cryptic and make you think, I relate to most of the topics presented on this album, his volcabulary is what makes this album a more theraputic listen. 01. (515) - there are no lyrics on this, it is just an intro for the album personally I don't see the point of it being on here. 02. People = Shit - this track will scare the hell out of you if you aren't used to heavy music, my interpetation of this song is that it is about how corey hates people who judge him for his mistakes in life, and how it is his business and not theirs. 03. Disasterpiece - this song is about being bullied and getting revenge for it and then killing yourself afterwards, my interpetation is that it is about someone Corey got bullied by and how this person never learnt to deal with his own problems so he took his anger out on people smaller and weaker than him, I can relate to this topic, because I suffered a lot of bullying in school. 04. My Plague - this was the second single, it is about posers who do terrible things to others to prove that they are "cool", of course Corey says it much more cryptic. 05. Everything Ends - this song is about a relationship that has failed, and how Corey wants to end it all by killing himself, it can also be interpeted as an unrequited love, and how this has affected him, at first you would think this sounds emo, but the music actually captures the angst of the feelings being described. 06. The Heretic Anthem - any true slipknot fan has at least heard this song, this song is about how people hear the story of God and Heaven and are so desperate to believe in something, they are easily convinced, but this song also explains that the band are not going to give in to commercialism or conformity. 07. Gently - this was on their album Mate Feed Kill Repeat, it is slightly different from the other version, my interpetation is that it is written through the point of view of someone with an addiction, and it makes them forget about their problems for a short time, and then it wears off and they accept the inevitable, this doesn't have to be a drug or alcohol addiction, it could be a sexual addiction, OR it could be about a rapist who forgets about his problems through hurting others, there are so many ways to interpet this song. 08. Left Behind - this was the first single and is the song everybody knows, I interpet that it is about being decieved over and over again by the same person and how Corey ignores it, and how every time he sees this "friend" he feels like killing them, this song is good but it gets kind of old after a while. 09. The Shape - this song is about breaking off some kind of relationship, this does not have to be a girlfriend or boyfriend, it could be about a friend or a family member who wronged you, I think that it's about being friends with somone who does harmful things to himself and others, and how this is interfering with their relationship with Corey, and Corey decides he doesn't want to fraternise with them anymore because he is sick of trying to convince them that what they're doing is wrong. 10. I Am Hated - this song is about the band hating people who follow trends and change their personality, choice of clothes etc. to fit in with the popular crowd, and they will never be truly free and they also judge others who are different which is a big mistake. 11. Skin Ticket - this song is pretty twisted, it is about feeling like the entire world is against you, this is caused by being decieved through your entire life, and how you thrive off other people's sympathy and how this mentality drives you to insanity. 12. New Abortion - this was dedicated to us maggots not the posers, the people who really understand the band and music there are mentions of if you mess with one of us we will unite and destroy you, this song isn't a personal favorite of mine, but it's still a great listen. 13. Metabolic - I think when Corey wrote this he had his father in mind, I interpet this as how he always wanted to be like his father despite the fact he never met him at this point, this messed with Corey so much he felt like killing himself sometimes, there are also mentions of how Corey had a great life anyway but he wasted it trying to be like his father, this song shows Corey's vulnerable side in the best way. 14. Iowa - this song was also on the MFKR album, it was originally called "Killers Are Quiet", and the lyrics are slightly different from the older version, though they still keep to the same topic, which is through the point of view of a killer who would rape, murder and then cut up women and shape them into dolls, it kind of takes the exploits of killers like ted bundy and ed gein to the extreme, the song itself is over 15 minutes long, and is possibly one of the most twisted songs I have ever heard. Corey's voice is amazing, he screams, sings, mumbles, and laughs his way through the album, and if you listen closely you can tell he is wearing his heart on his sleeve on every single track, the lyrics and music fit together so well it makes it hard to tell which was written first.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is one of my favorites of all time, the passion and soul put into it showcases Slipknot are not into being typical rockstars, and out of all the nu-metal bands they stand out the most. Although this style of music is not for everybody, if you're not into heavy music this album isn't for you. I would say that this and Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) tie for best Slipknot album. The only flaw on this album is in the song "I am Hated" the vocals are hard to understand during the verses, although the song is still pretty badass.