Slipknot Volume V: The Gray Chapter-
A band that has such a polarizing effect on the metal genre, one fact is for sure, they have made an impact that will be felt when they leave the world of music. Nine musicians that have been through many trials and tribulations, departures and death, side projects threatening the longevity of the band itself. Slipknot are much more than a ”Nu Metal” band that they have been labeled as. And with Volume V, they have become the band that they’ve been itching to be after the previous four albums, it took six years to get here. I have been along for the whole ride of the monster that is Slipknot since 1999, (disregarding the Mate Kill Feed Repeat demo from 1996, as it IS a demo, and even the band doesn’t count it, as their fifth album is, you guessed it, titled Volume 5) This is my track by track review of what I consider one of the best albums of 2014.
1) XIX – The intro’s of Slipknots albums are usually very noisy, sample heavy tracks. This one follows suite in a way, but sounds closer to a funeral dirge. As this album is dedicated to, and basically a concept album of the life and death of their late bassist and founder, Paul Gray. Slow, brooding, meloncholy, and anger are evident in Corey’s voice.
2) Sarcastrophe – Each album’s second track is usually a punch directly to the face, this song, does just that. It starts off with a dark melody of keyboard and guitar, then out of nowhere, the impact takes shape in the form of drums, Taylors growl and a very ”Slipknot” guitar riff. While may not have the staying power of ”People=Sh*t” from ”Iowa”, but it sure as hell shows that the band still has a lot of anger left in their systems to push onto the world. This isn’t Slipknots most unique track, but it also isn’t trying to be.
3) AOV – The rumored drummer replaced Joey Jordison, shows his pacing and drumming chops on this track. The ”rapping” style of singing that Corey implemented rears its head on this track, some people love it, some hate, I happen to dig it. It is a straight forward slipknot song, with slight elements of ”Stone Sour” thrown in for good measure. Clown and Chris’s trash hits at the end of the song are a nice touch
4) Devil n I – This song was released a little while before the albums debut, and it whet the appetite for those who had waited six long years for another ‘Knot album. I enjoyed Corey’s vocals very much in the verses of this one, it and a echo effect to it, and a softness that works with the guitars that loomed in the background. The hook is VERY ”Stone sour-ish”, which many former fans point out to what turned them off of the band, that the side project is blending too much in the main one. This was a solid single, and the video was very entertaining as well.
5) Killpop – I love the drums on this one, the first few seconds has a great sample from Sid playing along with the basic but effective. The backing guitars of the verses compliments the vocals. Corey’s voice is very much the center of this song, and the very crisp and clear drumming just works. It is a simple song, which seems to be very radio ready, and if you think of the lyrics, perhaps that is point, is this a mocking of pop music itself?
6) Skeptic – Feeling that the last song was a bit too soft? This song brings the band back to the frantic ”Iowa” sound. It is a direct love letter to Paul Gray, the lyrics speak volumes of how angry they are about the loss of Paul, and that he is irreplaceable. It is very reminiscent of their song
7) Lech- ”I know why judas wept, muthaf**ker”… THAT is how you open a Slipknot song. There’s samples, amazing drumming, The lyrics in the song scream about the solidarity between the band itself, ”Im not your f**king superstar”, calling out the critics and those that constantly negatively judge the band or perhaps even Corey himself. Instrumentally this is a good song, but it is forgetable among the better songs on the project. I do however like how abruptly it ended, it was a very ”Bottom line” point of the songs lyrical content
8) Goodbye – This could be regarded as this albums ”Snuff” (from All hope is gone) in ways, this song is heartbreaking, a different point of view of the loss of Paul Gray. It stays in a very depressed pace tonally from beginning to the middle, but it picks up with very good drum work and downtuned guitars. Jim Roots small solo at the end was appreciated, albeit basic, they are bringing more solos into their songs.
9) Nomadic – This is not a bad track. It was a very by the number Slipknot track, it is just hard to stand out among the better offerings of the album. I did like Root’s very keytair sounding solo. This song just doesn’t stand out too much on the rest of the album.
10) The One that kills the least – Another song, similar to ”Killpop” that sounds very much prepped for radio play. Not a great song, it is passable, but nothing really stands out on it. It would have fit pretty well on ”All hope is Gone”.
11) Custer – This is a kick right in the gender parts song. The Sid Wilson sample that grates your ear in you are wearing ear buds, the scratching that he does in the background provides that old school Slipknot sound, so does Corey’s ”rapping/sing” verses. VERY profane, loud, and has a groove that you can’t held but nod your head too. It will be a staple at live concerts, you will know which part I mean if you listen to it.
12) Be Prepared for Hell – More of a short interlude of Sid Wilson samples and a few cymbal crashes. Very atmospheric, and ends with a very haunting piano loop. Could have served as a very creepy album outro.
13) The Negative One – Misinterpreted as a ”Diss” towards former drummer Joey Jordison, which has been denied. This a very ”Iowa” sort of song, angry, and to the point. It has what I call the ”Slipknot drum groove” in the verse portion that makes me want to head bang my head off my neck like ”Heretic Anthem” did back in 2001. GREAT song, I feel it should have been a bit earlier in the tracklist but it very much one of the best songs on the album, and my GOD the drumming.
14) If Rain is what you want – The last track on the album (not counting the bonus tracks) This song, builds and builds, and takes many different turns. Arguably, in my opinion, the best song on the Album, and possibly the best Slipknot song in their entire career. Corey’s voice is so haunted, so purely desperate, the effects on his voice along with the echoed backing vocals are very much chilling. I have to give a lot of credit to the producer and editor of this album. Every instrument and sound is so crisp and audible in this track in particular.
Override – The first of two bonus tracks starts with Sid Wilson providing an odd sample and a few bell tolls. The drum work by the still as of named replacement of Joey does a good job on this song as he did throughout the whole album. I can see why this was not on the main album,BUT, it could have replaced of the weaker songs like ”Nomadic” or ”The one that kills the least”
The Burden- This song…NOT being on the main album..is a shame. It could have EASILY fit the very creepy factor that they were trying to convey,and the sadness that Corey put across lyrically. Paul Gray’s death hit this band VERY hard, and this is another song that expresses the sadness of dealing with their own mortality and struggles of live.
All in all, this is one of Slipknots best projects, as it takes from all of their eras for influence, and created something all together different. I would suggest this album to anyone who isn’t a Slipknot fan, to former fans who thought they ”lost it”, but to true long time fans of the band, you probably already own this album, so go listen to it again.
This is Twiztid Rodimus (David Barry) signing off.