Lemme tell ya- that headline doesn’t lie!
They may be inexorably linked with the nu metal era, but isn’t it about time that Slipknot were recognised and praised- thanked even- for being the band that did the most to hasten the genre’s demise? By introducing a generation reared on grunge, pop-punk and, erm, Coal Chamber to authentically brutal mental that brought the past and the future violently together, Slipknot helped to usher in a new era, one in which the decidedly non-mainstream likes of Lamb Of God and Mastodon are now able to reach out to big audiences without being thwarted by their own refusal to compromise. No one else has ever taken blastbeats to the top of the UK album charts, after all, but sometimes a fearsome reputation isn’t enough. Four years on from Vol.3, Slipknot need to fire a few million volts up metal’s arse all over again. And guess what? They’ve made it look easy.
Insanely heavy and as ugly as the sickest of sins, All Hope Is Gone is stuffed to the gills with gruesome, churning guitar tones and waves of interwoven noise and discord that fizz and fester with malicious intent. Songwise, it’s a relentless barrage of brilliance, as vast numbers of crushing, mutant thrash riffs, squealing solos and hair-raising percussive potency collide with the strongest melodies Slipknot have ever written and, appropriately, a career-best vocal performance from Corey Taylor. Most remarkably, Slipknot have reached a mature, creative zenith without sacrificing any of their trademark intensity. Gone is the aimless indulgence that made Slipknot and Iowa such cluttered affairs, and white the impetus behind Vol.3’s scattershot experiments remains, this time you can trade a red line of inspiration from the righteous proselytising of spoken word intro .excute right through to a raging, breathless finale, 60 minutes later. The opening riff-riot of Gematria (The Killing Name), the Rammstein-ish stomp of Psychosocial, the urgent tempo shifts of the Anthrax-like Vendetta and the wild sonic steel spray of This Cold Black all hark back to the bug eyes exuberance of Surfacing and People – Shit, while offering so much more in the way of emotional depth and shrewd musicality. The curveballs come with the lurching vitriolic and plainly Meshuggah-inspired Butcher’s Hook, Sulfer’s skewed harmony trippiness and the huge, instantly memorable choruses that inject Dead Memories, Wherein Lies Continue and Snuff with such disquieting poignancy. Best of all, the untamed assault of the title track bring the album to a commanding close- a perfect encapsulation of the Des Moines destroyers’ entire sound, ethos and appeal, in five non-more-‘knot minutes.
There are very few metal bands around today that would dare to be this adventurous while still maintaining such drive, focus and belligerence. Familiarity may have dulled Slipknot’s visual impact and there’s little here that will turn naysayers into frothing advocates overnight, but who cares? All Hope Is Gone is dizzyingly close to perfect. It’s not just this band’s greatest achievement to date, but one of the most distinctive and obscenely thrilling metal albums of the century so far.
Order ALL HOPE IS GONE online at HERE