The weight of expectation is the heaviest of all. When a band has a long publicity campaign of teasing out new releases, more often than not the hype built up can never be fulfilled. The album, single, live show etc. can be an underwhelming experience upon its arrival. Slipknot have gone about releasing their first single in four years the right way as out of nowhere on October 31st 2018, the world got new music from the Iowan nonet, and it’s a hell of a first statement..
Musically lying somewhere between 2014’s .5 The Gray Chapter and their self titled debut, it’s a bombastic romp of heaviness, with a raw and rattling production job. Three cheers for finally being able to hear Sid Wilson again after his conspicuous absence on the prior two releases due to mixing and mastering. Groovy and weighty in equal measure, it should satisfy any and all ‘Knot fans. Jay Weinberg proves that, while he may be emulating the distinctive style, he can provide a hard hitting backbone to a heavy song as well as original drummer and founding member, Joey Jordison. Blast beats towards the end of the song prove his fierce intensity, while his fills and paradiddles through the verses and chorus display sublime dexterity.
Corey Taylor sounds ferocious. It’s unsurprising given his relatively recent appearance on Code Orange’s The Hurt Will Go On EP, but it’s refreshing to hear him genuinely angry. Though fine albums in their own right, All Hope is Gone and .5 both lacked the rage that made Slipknot such an exciting proposition in their early years. The lyrics serve as a challenge to the mainstream mindset. ‘Old does not mean dead// New does not mean best’ is a stark gambit thrown down to any detractors that would write off Slipknot as a just a legacy band, and the venom in the delivery is testament to the fact that this band do not need to prove themselves. They are a necessity in the world of heavy music. They are here to shake things up, with a forward facing ideology, but respectful nods to the past.
Jim Root and Mick Thompson both give pummelling performances. The riff is an ear worm and brutal, and one that will have you head banging from its first refrain. The band have said in the run up to this album that they have written songs that are ‘Iowa levels of heavy’. This song isn’t that, more in the vain of the harder moments of their most recent album, but it implies there is much more exciting darkness to grace their fan base.
It may not be the absolute best Slipknot song, and doesn’t make a mark on the singles released from their first three albums. As a statement of intent and a blueprint for album number six, it’s an incendiary blueprint. Whether or not you enjoyed the previous two releases, this promises to be Slipknot’s best album in the best part of a decade. Get ready. The hurt is coming.