Overall Score: 10/10 Riffs: 10/10 Slipknot Style: 10/10 Moshability: 9/10 Pros: Catchy | Beautiful | Filthy Cons: Honestly can't think of anything
When you’re a band as huge as Slipknot you’re bound to feel the pressure when you release a new record. Especially when it’s your first with 2 new members. With the death of bassist Paul Gray and departure of drummer Joey Jordison, there was some speculation as to whether the 9 would, or could, continue. Here we are though, six years after the release of All Hope Is Gone, about to review .5: The Gray Chapter. Slipknot are a band who influenced my life in a number of ways, and even now, 15 years on, they still make my heart beat a little bit faster. With singles The Negative One and The Devil In I teasing us and giving a taste of what to expect from the 14-track album, I couldn’t hit the play button quick enough. Ladies and Gentlemen we give you 2014’s most anticipated album: .5: The Gray Chapter.
Immediately I know this is going to be another triumphant Slipknot album. Haunting intro XIX harks back to the Iowa days, it is gritty and angry, but it also carries a message of unity amongst the maggots. Sarcastrophie is a brutal ripper of a song, which would drive a crowd mad at a festival, and has me moshing around my bedroom from the outset. AOV is probably my favourite track on the album, with its furious guitars and catchy angry hook line “Approaching Original Violence”! Twisting and tumbling riffs spin us and twist us as we fall down the rabbit hole in to the unknown.
Many critics have said that .5: The Gray Chapter is a Stone Sour album, but I could not disagree more. Slipknot have an incredible ability to make music that is so instantly recognisable. They really do possess an inherent sound that is theirs and theirs alone.This is clearly a Slipknot album, and their signature sound is ever present throughout. In fact the only song I could see Stone Sour do is the anthemic The Devil In I, but even then the chorus is Slipknot at their finest. The subject matter is pretty thinly veiled- Lech spits venom that could burn through steel and there are multiple references to The Negative One…we wonder who or what that is?!
Goodbye is one of the most emotional Slipknot moments ever, as we bid farewell to Paul Gray. Then its straight back in to the heavy with Custer (who can’t love a chorus of “Cut, cut, cut me up and fuck, fuck, fuck me up”), this is Surfacing 2014. Be Prepared for Hell has all of the horror of Scissors…OK so its an interlude but it sets the scene perfectly for The Negative One.
5: The Gray Chapter offers the next phase in the life of Slipknot. It isn’t Iowa, Slipknot, Volume 3 or All Hope Is Gone and it doesn’t try to be. Rather, it’s a powerful, passionate, and potent piece of music in its own right, while still retaining the hallmarks of the group’s patented sound. Don’t just disregard 5: The Gray Chapter as another Slipknot album, its a masterpiece of modern metal mayhem. This is Slipknot in 2014, and they’re still haunting, toxic, modern, urban and oh so dark. Their music is so much more than it seems. Beneath the surface lurk layers and layers of purification, while ushering in a gorgeously chaotic and crushing future for the new nine.
.5: The Gray Chapter is out today, October 20th, on Roadrunner Records.