Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapters

Slipknot has been through some rough times after the completion of their fourth studio album All Hope is Gone in 2008. The demise of one of their founding members and the departing of another put some pressure onto the band.  

Despite the adverse conditions, they pulled through and have now released their fifth record under the name .5: The Gray Chapters.

The first thing to get out of the way is probably to say that Slipknot are still Slipknot. The singles that were released prior reassured us already, that their sound didn’t change all that much.

The opening track to this album gives off a different impression though. It actually sounds like Slipknot drew some inspiration from Neurosis here, bringing in a lot of additional instrumentation over some tribal drums in the back and Corey shouting his lyrics out into empty space. This song is untypically ambitious for Slipknot and is a pleasant surprise on this record for me.

They get right to the point after that. Sarcastrophe is the next song and Slipknot fall right back into gear. Bringing in some more intense parts that remind me of their IOWA album along with the well known rhythmic song structures of previous records.

The next track worth mentioning is Killpop, a ballad in Slipknot’s style, reminiscent of the more quiet tracks on All Hope is Gone.

I can see tracks like Custer doing really well in a live performance, being the perferct hymn for the crowd to shout along. Right after that there’s a short filler track with some spoken word ending in some creepy giggling along with a few lone piano notes.

After putting it all together, Slipknot return with a really compact and tight sound. The dense, crisp guitar tone. The punch-packed, lush drums. Corey’s voice brimming with emotion and anger. It’s all still there. This record is Slipknot in its essence, but really, nothing more. If you’ve always liked them you will still like them and if they’ve never been for you, they still aren’t.

I didn’t expect an abundance of ambition or experimentation on this record and my expectations pretty much have been met, but I’m still not really convinced. Almost each song leaves enough of an impression to stick with me and at the same time feels kind of unremarkable.

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