Slipknot The End, So Far Roadrunner Records
Slipknot are experts in mythmaking. Since the original nine first stepped out in boiler suits and homemade masks, the group have built a reputation as the uncompromising, abrasive and yet undeniably magnetic stars of nu-metal. It’s fitting, then, that their seventh album – which marks their departure from longtime home Roadrunner Records – is titled The End, So Far; a name filled with the promise of a gory death and glorious resurrection for Iowa’s finest.
It’s equally appropriate that Slipknot chose to open the album with possibly the least ‘Slipknot’ song in their discography. While the group has flirted with ballads and poppier hooks before, they’ve never released a track quite like Adderall, which sounds closer to early Linkin Park covering the Beatles. Strangely, it really works, as 60s basslines and nu-metal synths share space with Corey Taylor’s choral harmonies.
But maggots, fear not. Once the opening track has faded away, normal service is resumed. The one-two punch of The Dying Song (Time to Sing) and The Chapeltown Rag is frantically paced and thunderously heavy, and all the more powerful for the contrast.
Throughout the album, Taylor’s voice is more confident than it’s sounded in some time. Instead of relying on pure fury, tracks like Yen allow Taylor to sit back and almost narrate proceedings, throwing in the odd Christopher Lee-esque chuckle for dramatic effect. Meanwhile, the electronic elements that are often lost in Slipknot’s chaos have a renewed prominence on this record, as Sid Wilson and Craig Jones’ scratches and samples build layers of intensity on already brutal highlights Hivemind, Medicine for the Dead and H377.
For all the restored experimentation (and putting that opening track to one side), the band rarely stray too far from their trademark havoc. This will no doubt comfort some fans, but it’s hard not to wonder where Slipknot could take things if they followed the direction hinted at on Adderall. Perhaps we’ll find out when the next chapter begins.