Metal Hammer hit the streets yesterday, not only sporting three different covers (each featuring 3 different Slipknot members- see these HERE) but it also held the first review of Volume 3: (The Subliminal Verses) to hit the UK. And the verdict? Read on… “Could this be the final volume in the Slipknot saga? There are going to be maggots out there that HATE this record. They will regard it as a betrayal. Maybe they’ll burn copies in mass bonfires. Inevitable, of course. Had the ‘Knot just recycled ‘Slipknot’ and ‘Iowa’, they would still have pissed people off, though maybe different people. But this….acoustic guitars? Ballads? Fucking flower power music? Can you imagine Slipknot Unplugged? Yes you can after you’ve heard this. But you, reader, are not a (small c) conservative. You want music to be an adventure, you want the thrill of the ride, the unexpected twists and turns and the implosions and explosions that make today’s hard rock the most vital and alive expression of modern music. Slipknot’s third will deliver that thrill, as they always have done. You are either in for a surprise or a shock when you hear this for the first time and how I envy you, being able to hear this for the first time. Where Ross Robinson would bounce heads off the studio wall and scream until the veins stood out on his head to get results with the first two albums, Rick Rubin coaxes and experiments and builds slowly and meticulously and you can hear the difference from the outset. Where ‘Iowa’ opened with the rage drenched ‘(515)/’People=Shit’, ‘Prelude 3.0’ eschews the histrionics for a darker, heavier and spacier sound. It’s weird, like Tool at times, but as soon as we reach ‘The Blister Exists’, there’s no doubt that this is a Slipknot record. This is war music for wartime, a pulverising martial beat and explosions of noise like well aimed bunker busters. Along with the curiously retro rap-rock of ‘Three Nil’ and the amazing widescreen blast of ‘Pulse Of The Maggots’, this is Slipknot as we know and love them. But Hammer would defy anyone to hear ‘Circle’ or ‘Vermilion’ or ‘The Virus Of Life’ and guess that it was Slipknot. ‘Circle’ is a mad bit of psychedelic folk rock remiscent of Mark Lanegan or even Arthur Lee and Love ‘Vermilion’ sounds like John Barry (who composed all the best Bond themes) had he written a song for Iggy Pop ‘The Virus Of Life’ could easily have been an outtake from Massive Attack’s ‘Mezzanine’. ‘Vermilion Pt.2’ is completely acoustic with Corey singing close harmonies with the rest of the band, and a string section driving the whole thing to an emotional crescendo. Beautiful, but let’s face it, it’s not exactly ‘Scissors’. The first two albums were stark, black and white (mostly black) this is multicoloured, full of shade and subtlety, never a word that you’d immediately associate with Slipknot. Obviously the extra curricular projects of Corey, Joey and Shawn resonate throughout this album there are definite Stone Sour moments and To My Surprise moments. It takes balls of steel to fuck with a winning formula, and ‘Vol.3: (The Subliminal Verses)’ could easily be Slipknot’s 14-track suicide note, alienating loyal fans who just want more songs about serial killers that they can mosh along to. But it’s a great record, filled throughout with the shock of the new, and it makes all their contemporaries and imitators sound like the plodding donkeys they are. TOMMY UDO (8/10)” Volume 3: (The Subliminal Verses) is released on May 24th.