Six years have passed since Slipknot released their most recent album, All Hope Is Gone to critical acclaim and the approval of metalheads everywhere. Since that album in 2008 the band has experienced their fair share of turmoil, starting with the tragic death of bassist Paul Gray in 2010 and then the departure of drummer Joey Jordison in 2013. There was much speculation following Gray’s death as to whether or not the band would continue on without their close friend and key member. Slipknot albums have always been born out of turmoil and struggle within the band and the recording/production process, but as each year passed it seemed less and less likely that the masked musicians would return.
Fans around the world were shocked when Slipknot announced a new album release in the very near future. Vol. 5: The Gray Chapter will be released on the 21st of October, putting it on shelves only two months after the official announcement. Not only is the release just around the corner, but two songs have already been shown off. First came The Negative One, clearly recognizable as a Slipknot track. Opening with some unsettling ambient noise before transitioning into the main bendy down tuned guitar riff. The saturated chugging guitars grooving alongside DJ noises are classic Slipknot as is the drumming, but since drummer Jordison left last year, fans are not quite sure who tracked the drums for this song or the entire album. Some have pointed to Chris Adler of Lamb of God, but the drummer has since denied it. It is of course possible that all of the drum tracks on the new album were programmed, but the chances of a reveal of the new drummer when the album drops seem high.
Only a few days after the release and generally positive reception of The Negative One, Slipknot put out the first official single for Vol. 5, entitled The Devil In I. The second released song is similar in tempo and structure to The Negative One, displaying the same tight and polished heaviness mixed with ambient noises and melody featured on All Hope Is Gone. Some fans have lamented that newer Slipknot songs sound a little too much like singer Corey Taylor’s more radio friendly band Stone Sour. Gone are the days of Slipknots expletive laden rap-metal songs. The band seems to have discarded many aspects of their sound from when they first debuted in order to streamline songs into the essence of how Slipknot makes metal. Slipknot singles are consistently the heaviest songs on rock radio, but still include far more melody than other bands with comparable levels of heaviness.
After the release of the formerly nu-metal band’s fifth album they will be going on a North American tour with their peers in Korn as well as the up and coming and controversial King 810. Slipknot has been touring recently, fueling fan’s hunger for new material. When the album drops fans will have the final say on whether or not the band member’s labors live up to their previous efforts.
By Matt Isaacs