Has it been 5 years since “The Gray Chapter”? It really doesn’t feel like it at all. Hell, it’s been 20 years since they dropped their self titled. How is that possible?
We now only have 6 of the 9 members who were on that self titled album. 2 of the 3 were main songwriters in the band. But with 2014’s “.5: The Gray Chapter”, we were shown that they could still Slipknot. I certainly had no worries then or now.
Keep in mind, I look at all of their albums as fairly equal across the board. “Iowa” might be my personal favorite, but in general, they’re all great to me. What I’ll tell you beforehand is that “We Are Not Your Kind” ranks as #3 out of their 6 (or 7 if you count “Mate Feed Kill Repeat”). Something about this album is really gravitating to me. The production, the vibe, the diversity, the lyrics, the tone, and most importantly… the songs.
There’s 14 tracks, which includes an intro and 2 interludes. I’ve always been a fan of intros and ‘ludes, so I don’t mind it at all. So that leaves 11 songs. The shortest being 4 minutes and 4 seconds, and the longest being 6 minutes and 48 seconds. Actually there’s 4 songs over 6 minutes long, with another one clocking in just 4 seconds shy.
I didn’t rush to get this review up yesterday morning because I wanted to absorb it more. I needed the positives and negatives to weigh themselves a bit more. I also didn’t obsessively listen as to not wear off the freshness either.
Corey’s vocals are as vicious as ever, and his clean singing and melodies are in top form (duh). Some of the choruses are among their strongest to date. The only Stone Sour reference I will ever make to Slipknot is that I won’t. There you go. Corey had made reference to this album being “Iowa levels of heavy”. Truthfully, I do hear plenty of elements. Does it compare? Well, no. They’ll never be that violently angry again. But I can hear certain things that have been missing in their sound since 2001.
This album truly does combine all of their previous efforts, while somehow showcasing a subtle glimpse into the future. Jay Weinberg’s drumming has fully come its own here. The percussion from Clown is on display in fresh ways. Jim and Mick’s guitars range from ambient acoustics to doom metal to black metal and damn near everything inbetween. Sid and Craig are still bringing the samples, blips, bloops, and neat stuff to make everything that much more interesting. For that something new and different, check out “Spiders”. Since when did Slipknot do Mushroomhead better than Mushroomhead? (Rhetorical, please don’t answer that because they never compared.) “My Pain” is even a step further into the experimentation zone for them. I’ll only say that it reminds me of the classic Tetris-like game, Columns. You’ll know why. For the musical sequel to “The Heretic Anthem”, just go straight to “Orphan”. “Unsainted” is the catchy single of the album, I’m sure you’ve heard it by now.
It always seem to be the right time for a new Slipknot album when one drops, and this is no exception. But for some reason, this one is really making more noise than usual. It feels extra right, and it’s the right album at the right time. As of this exact moment of writing, it finally topped my #1 of the year so far (Soilwork), but there’s competition coming up as soon as this week (Killswitch Engage) and the rest of the year. So we’ll see where it fares by December 31st. I have a feeling it’ll be a top 3-5 even still!
Thank you fellas for crafting another great album. It was a pleasure to review, a pleasure to listen to, and a worthy addition to your discography.
Favorite tracks? Basically everything.
Reviewed by Marcus Miller