You know exactly the album I'm talking about. The one that all bands who last longer than one or two albums go through. The one that signals a kind of change, possibly. But also one that does something as old as time itself: divides fans, but also attracts new fans, like me.
While I share a similar taste in music, Slipknot hasn't always been for me. A lot of people like their thrash songs, whereas I need a bit more diversity. And so while I've listened to their previous albums, enjoyed particular songs, I've never had the patience to listen to a whole album. Until now.
All Hope is Gone feels, in some ways, a culmination of everything that's come before; the sometimes melodic nature of Subliminal Verses, the pounding nature of their earlier work in Iowa, with, yes, maybe a smidgen of Stone Sour on the side. The thing is, when Slipknot isn't trying to pound you silly with their music for a dozen or so songs, they can be quite enjoyable.
For me, All Hope is Gone picks up right as "Psychosocial" comes into play. This song, the album version which rocks so much more than the "radio-friendly" version released as a single, exemplifies their nature perfectly: precision trash metal, with an actual melodic hook and a melody that carries through.
But the diversity continues, with "Gehenna" verging into atmospheric territories that sounds reminiscient of a heavier/more technical Korn. And "Vendetta"'s rousing anthem chant of "Are you ready for the time of your life," answered by shouts...perfect live material at shows. Then, of course, there's the Slipknot ballad (how surprising is that?) "Snuff," the song which will invariably have critics calling it a Stone Sour song with heavier drumming.
Don't get me wrong; there's still plenty of thrash songs with the barking vocals and the precision drumming, pounding submission into your head. It's just that there's more here than that. This is the first Slipknot album in which I believe Slipknot has found their niche. They've found a way of distancing themselves from similar acts that stretches beyond wearing masks (which, as an aside, are much better than their previous ones).
So we come full circle. This album will possibly be a divisive one for some fans. But I believe it shows growth, maturity and a willingness to look beyond one song played twelve different ways. Your appreciation may very, but I like this new Slipknot.
Songs to listen to:
"Gematria (The Killing Name)"
"This Cold Black"