Sound — 9
Well, I'll put it this way: at first, I made a negative assumption about Slipknot before ever actually hearing any of their music. And then I heard this album. I was wrong! This album is so full-sounding. The guitars are very innovative in terms of both originality & technicality (the solos are pure shred). The vocals are at times brutal & very powerful, yet at other times very soft and melodic. The bass pounds your head in like there's no tomorrow. And the drums are pure genious-the double bass and fills are just mind-blowing! There's a lot of anthem-based material on this album, and of course, previous Slipknot fans will still be able to enjoy the complicated time signatures too. I have a 2-disc version of this album, which includes some unreleased tracks (which are also awesome), alternate versions of 2 of the songs, and a few live tracks taken as excerpts from their live DVD "Disasterpieces". All in all, this is a killer package.
Lyrics — 9
Corey Taylor proves to be both an excellent lyricist and musical vocalist on this album. He has a great ability to scream and yell with clarity (as in "Three Nil" & "The Blister Exists"), yet at the same time; sing very soft and melodic stuff (as in "Vermilion Pt.2"). Overall, the songs were all obviously written in close contact with each band member because all of these songs are played so flawlessly by all of the menbers live as well. And with 9 musicians in a band; you could imagine how difficult that can be!
Overall Impression — 9
This album just sounds so awesome to me. The songs are very well-written and really get you into a headbanging frenzy. I think that this album destroys every other Slipknot release, and probably won't be beaten by another album to come any time soon! A lot of people have characterized Slipknot as "Nu-Metal", but this album seems to stray from that sound, and if listeners still believe that this album adheres to that sound, then it's very easy to say that Slipknot is definitely the leader of the genre. My personal favourites of this album include: "Opium Of The People", "Welcome", "Pulse Of The Maggots" & "Vermilion" (parts 1 & 2). However, I like pretty much every track on this album. If it were stolen, I'd cause a riot simply because I love it so much.