[By Trishul Vikram]
(Listener aggression is advised)
After five long years, Slipknot is finally back.19 years, 9 men, 20 awards including a Grammy and 4 albums on, we have arrived at this moment, the moment where you will have the privilege of listening to their best album – and probably one of the best nu-metal albums ever made. .5: The Gray Chapter is not the Nightmare of Slipknot but it is the Ride The Lightning, and it certainly will take you on a ride.
Continuing with the second part of the track-by-track review of ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’
Nothing beats a catchy chorus, and Nomadic is no exception. Technically the ‘Wherever I May Roam’ of Slipknot, the sick ‘I’m going to make you hate me’ is preceded by such a groovy chorus you will start screaming it yourself. The main riff itself spells Pantera, with Slipknot sprinkled all over it. Sid’s turntable scratches fit so perfectly here that Tupac might rise again just to rap over them. Mick and Jim also get a chance to showcase their mastery here with 2 distinct solos, both perfectly describing their styles. Contrast and perfect syncs overlaid with Corey spewing intellectual vomit – what more can you ask for!
What a title, they should have just finished it off with ‘still kills us all’. Oh well – 6 words are enough. As much as this song wants to burst into a fiery rage at every corner, it just doesn’t; instead it maintains its pace and has mini bursts. The guitars here are something else. Every riff and note just hovers around – they never actually slam you but they do occasionally slap the back of your head. A solo appears and then grabs your neck and tosses you to the 70s for a while and then shoves you back up the 21st century. Right before the end, DJ Starscream finally gets his thumbs up and goes full retard and spins his vinyl in beautiful sync with the riffs after threatening to burst at every chance throughout the song.
Remember the Russian sleep experiment that was flooding the interwebs a few months ago? This is the result of that experiment, if Slipknot were the participants. With a chorus that will make you spring to cover your parents’ ears, this is officially the live anthem of this album. This is the one that’s going to make Knotfest and every other show they’re going to ravage bounce up and down – this is Slipknot at their rawest. If there’s one thing I have learned from this song, it’s that Slipknot certainly does not like you and they are not afraid to show it, publicly, while you’re desperately trying to cover your face. “Due to the prolific nature of this statement, listener aggression is advised”, is intoned in an almost announcement-like fashion, and I’m pretty sure some politician somewhere is going to attribute some crime to this statement. But hey, Slipknot ain’t gonna care, they just wrote this song. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. This song runs deeper than it seems, the lyrics are raw and gory and with two possible paths, one being the current state of the human race and the other being just the story of good old General Custer.
What can I say about this? This is Slipknot.
And yes, be prepared for hell.
13. The Negative One
Ah, the flag carrier of The Gray Chapter, the one that started a whole wretched reaction of painstaking numbers we had to compute to convince ourselves that the album was not going to be released on the following day. This song is the perfect glimpse of the album, and Corey was spot on with it. Initially becoming the talking point of every question pertaining to Joey, The Negative One proved to be much more than a nuclear warhead aimed at the ex-band member. I mean, come on, what could Joey have done so wrong that he’s referred to as the ‘morning star’ and the ‘lord of lies’? Thus, with that cleared up, let us appreciate the sheer anger and masochistic tendencies displayed throughout this song. This constant battle between good and evil contains brilliant biblical and satanic references at every corner. Lyrically and musically, this is really what Slipknot is about, fighting demons and saving the world, while getting every church running!
Dear drummer, whoever you are, half the world thought the drums on this one were programmed. We still don’t know for sure, but currently, it looks like you did one hell of a job.
14. If Rain Is What You Want
This ends the standard edition of the album and does it with a bang. Starting off with a creepy Soviet-esque distorted communication, things go haywire initially but come around and regroup eventually. Being the longest song on the album, the progression of themes throughout the song is brilliant. Calmly paced and not too rushed, Corey questions things with you right up until you fall. And then the real build up starts, almost like a fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, just only with Corey coming down into the ring, singing ever so majestically. All until he bursts into a violent rage that results in him showing you the edges of his voice, spectacularly roaring his heart out, in fact. Then everything slowly falls back into the initial sleep it was waking up from.
15. Override (Bonus track on deluxe album version)
Orwell’s 1984 is written all over this one, a dystopian future of nothingness. As much as this sounds nothing like Slipknot, it has a distinct ring to it, a beautiful build up, a powerful chorus with lyrics over it that will make you go on about the Illuminati. I see this as the anthem of the next cyberpunk uprising alongside Lamb of God’s Again We Rise. Everything is randomly thrown at you, words from every corner flying towards every other corner – this song is really something that’s sending a message. A message that sadly will fall unto deaf ears, because hey, metal is the Devil’s music. Deep beneath this bombardment lies a bridge with the words,
“You are not the way
You are judged to be afraid
You are simple and unchanged
We believe you should give up”,
overlaid with a rhythm that will throw you back into the days of the Anschluss.
16. The Burden (Bonus track on deluxe album version)
This one’s the one, this one’s the ‘Walk with Me in Hell’. This is what happens when someone reaches their fringes, standing on a cliff, saying enough. The sheer darkness of this song is testament to Slipknot’s view of this glorious planet and the various things that ruin us. The overall dark tone and creepiness surrounding this song almost make it seem like you’re in The Blair Witch Project, all with constant random reminders throughout the song that you should be afraid of the unknown. This is not the song that is sick and tired of oppression but this is the song that just can’t take anymore, this is the song that won’t take anymore. “For god’s sakes we’ve suffered, this pain is now our lives, for god’s sakes we’ve suffered, enough,” will continue echoing through your day as this is the last one on the album. The one you will not forget.
They made us wait five years for this, five years of nail biting and skin tearing, five years well spent.
I am not an expert on metal nor Slipknot but I do have to take daily doses of each to keep my addiction under control. But if you wish to call me one after you have read my review, here’s where you can find me, Facebook