In one of my previous reviews I said that I’d probably do another one like it, meaning that I’ll talk about the album and mix it with a bit of personal history. Since this is my tenth contribution I figured this would be a good time to do so. Which is why I’ve decided to review a record that awakened my musical hunger, which to this day luckily hasn’t been stilled, and made me really relate to it as well.
Even though I started listening a lot to bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit and Bloodhoung Gang around the age of thirteen, I was never really into metal since I just hadn’t found the right thing. Then at sixteen a classmate, who happens to write for El Gore as well, introduced me to bands like Megadeth, Exodus and the likes…the stepping stone for a large musical evolution had been laid. In 2004 however an online friend sent me a new song, Don’t Get Close, by Slipknot and I couldn’t stop listening to it (fyi: the song ended up becoming a b-side). Even though I had known the band before and actually enjoyed a song or two by them, I wasn’t really into them since my taste was still elsewhere. But now, for the first time in my life I was anxiously awaiting the release of an album: Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses). It wasn’t until May 25th of that same year that I finally held it in my hands and listened to it non-stop. I’m not kidding when I say that by the way…I literally listened to the album at least five times a day over a period of almost nine months in a row.
Enough about me; let’s get down to business…well kind of. The 3rd album, ignoring Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat., by the nine masked Iowans was produced by Rick Rubin and recorded in his notorious Mansion in L.A.. I’m not sure whether it is due to the change of producer, from Ross Robinson to Rubin, or due to the various side projects the band had during their hiatus between Iowa and this album but the difference of the sound can already be noticed after the first note of the intro. Even though I thoroughly enjoy the two predecessor albums, Iowa and Slipknot, this one just finds the perfect mix between heaviness and melodic parts. The production has gone through a similar change and, at least to me, this is their best sounding album.
The fourteen songs pretty much cover every aspect of Slipknot‘s sound, that fans have grown to love, and introduce new touches such as the marching percussion on The Blister Exists and The Nameless. Then there’s two ballads that were a big surprise when the album first came out; especially to people who didn’t know about the singer’s other band Stone Sour who released a ballad as a single the previous year. The thing that strikes me the most is that every single song has at least one highlight that will make you remember it.
The vocals are, as is tradition with Corey Taylor, flawless and in some parts quite creepy but in a way that you just get sucked into the song’s atmosphere even quicker. The prime example for this is the song Vermilion, which is about a stalker that follows a girl around…or at least thinks he does. Just listen to it and you’ll see what I mean. The choruses on the album are, I’d say, among the best ones that Slipknot have ever written and you’ll be chanting them along faster than you can say the album’s title three times in a row. The lyrics are filled with metaphors and less common words which I tried to figure out for ages.
All in all, this is definitely my favorite Slipknot album for a couple of reasons: first of all because it’s the album that got all of it started for me. Secondly because it’s just so diverse and well-written, ranging from neck-breaking headbang parts to goose bump inducing passages. And last but not least because it put the band, who had been written off prior to this release, back on the map with a bang. It’s pretty safe to say that this record will remain in my top 3 albums of all time until the day I die. Go ahead and check out the song below, which actually won them an Emmy, and their Facebook page.