The ever infamous SLIPKNOT is back once again (all nine members still intact) with their latest offering of Nu Metal glory, this time under the title of “All Hope Is Gone”. Whether you like the masked men or not, they don’t seem to be going away any time soon, and with the massive hype behind this fourth album, doesn’t look like the music industry wants them to go away either.
But does the new album fare up to their previous releases and the hype? That’s the question that should be asked at this point. “All Hope Is Gone” doesn’t disappoint but it also doesn’t blow me away either as their last album did. The album has the band bringing in some darker tones and increased complexity to the music, but some of the album doesn’t fit quite as well as I would have hoped.
The album is indeed a little more on the Metal side with some better instrument work and writing skills. The guitarists finally sound as though they are playing together, and with more technical work (including solos on almost every song!) they are sounding better than ever. Also Joey Jordison deserves special recognition for his unbelievable drum work on the album – which is the highlight of every song on the release. I still don’t understand why the band needs three percussionists when they have one of the best drummers out there – and their contributions aren’t all that noticeable. Same goes for the two members that pull out sampling and electronics – although occasionally you can hear them they seem to be lost in the mix for the majority of this release. But it’s not these ‘lost’ members that I seem to have the most conflicting issues with – it happens to be the vocalist, Corey Taylor.
Now I may not be a fan of Corey Taylor’s ego or attitude but I have found most of his lyrical and vocal work to be pretty good. But his performance has stirred some unusual feelings in my gut this time around. For those of you who don’t follow the band members’ other projects, Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root have another project beside SLIPKNOT, called STONE SOUR, and the Hard Rock band they visit between SLIPKNOT records has finally seeped its way into the new album. Songs like “Dead Memories” and “Vendetta” just reek of some of the vocal work from STONE SOUR, which normally isn’t a bad thing, but it makes the songs not feel like SLIPKNOT songs (except for the badass drum work). “Dead Memories” also marks the doldrums of the album for a few songs until they get back towards the more aggressive songs. It’s not that any of those tracks are terrible – but they’re not up to standard as the rest.
So once again SLIPKNOT don’t quite blow me away with “All Hope Is Gone” but instead just make me wonder if the band can actually make an album that is going to destroy any doubts of their abilities in my mind. There are some great songs on the album and the increased guitar work is only going to help them, but the middle of the album sags a bit too much to keep the good energy from the opening songs. It’s a good release for the band and fans are going to love it, but I’m still waiting and hoping for that day when the band just knocks me out of my socks.
Songs to check out: “Psychosocial”, “Gematria (The Killing Name)”, “This Cold Black”.
(Online September 10, 2008)