Slipknot has released a greatest hits album, the subject of this review. From what I hear, the actual release itself is a fairly awesome production, with tons of stuff contained in it for the hardcore fans. As for me, I was fazing out of metal when they hit, and at the time, the masks and prison suits struck me as being completely contrived. So I never really bothered to check them out.
As I listen to the tracks on this collection, I have to admit that I was wrong… about the music. While not able to relate to the suicidal depression, nihilism, and angst, from a purely objective musical standpoint, it is completely understandable why they have such a devoted fanbase.
This band is, for all intents and purposes, light years ahead of anything I’ve heard in contemporary metal. For starters, let’s talk about texture. There are times, such as on ‘Spit it Out’, when the texture is fairly straight ahead, but still so sonically dense that the very act of trying to parse out individual sounds is incredibly compelling. At the other end is a track like ‘Disasterpiece’, that contains constant subtle shifts in the texture, and is about as close to aural chaos as I’ve ever encountered from a high profile metal act. The fact that they have a dj goes a long way to providing this textural sophistication.
And then there’s the songwriting aspect. For a band that gets tagged as a ‘metal’ band, the stylistic palette is incredibly diverse, calling upon blast and grind bands, as well as some seeming hip-hop and even techno influences (listen to the beginning of ‘Eyeless’.) About the only I can’t appreciate is the use of false harmonics, but I’ve always disliked false harmonics.
Added to this is the fact that as a band, they’re incredibly tight, nailing intricate rhythmic patterns dead on. The interplay between the drummer and guitarists is almost telepathic in its cohesiveness. Listen to ‘Pulse of the Maggots’. This track has it all, from textural shifts to intricate riff patterns and sonic insanity; keep a running tally of the sectional changes as the song unwinds.
On top of all of this, Corey Taylor possesses a vocal range that I can only describe half sardonically as a psychotic Mike Patton. He can do the death metal zombie growl thing, he can do the hardcore shout style thing, and he can actually SING, meaning with clear tone and a solid sense of intonation. If only they weren’t so overridingly negative and devoid of any sense of hope, I might like them more. There is a way out, though the current state of things might seem completely hopeless. Giving into the hate is the easy choice.
Tags: paul paradis, Reviews, slipknot, Slipknot - Antennas to Hell album review