Remember the days when an album release was an event? I do.. I remember counting down the days until the release of the new record from my favourite bands. Those days seemed to be a thing of the past.. until now. Slipknots new album, We Are Not Your Kind is finally upon us, and with its release, I feel like the anticipation has been huge – reminding me of the old days.
Everything old might just be new again, as later this month we’ll be treated to a similar experience from Tool. Two albums released only weeks apart, that both have fans excitement levels at a fever pitch. What an exciting time for music!
Rather than write a review of We Are Not Your Kind, I decided to do a track by track look at the album – an album that is a triumphant return for the masked machine from Iowa.
Track 1: Insert Coin
Slipknot have always featured a relatively short intro piece, so this comes as no surprise. Insert Coin sounds as if somebody has taken the Stranger Things theme song and manipulated it just enough that it becomes something entirely different. It’s moody, and flows into the next track perfectly…
Track 2: Unsainted
Opening with some eerie effects, and a vocal choir, Unsainted comes to life the minute the pounding percussion and Corey Taylor’s voice come in, but then takes it to the next level – superbly pissed off versus build us to a catchy sing along chorus. It’s a huge track, and a good indication that Slipknot are well and truly back.
Track 3: Birth Of the Cruel
Intelligent and poignant lyrics have always been a big part of the Slipknot pantheon – whether looking at a fucked up society or sharing deeply personal tales, the band have a way of getting their point across. Here we have a musically dark and claustrophobicly busy take on disconnection – “we are the bitter, the maladjusted”. This is the Slipknot we all fell head over heels for two decades ago. The nuances from Sid Wilson bring a lot to this particular track as well.
Track 4: Death Because Of Death
A short and subtle track. Repeating the lyric of “death because of, death because of you” over and over. Musically it’s laid back – it’s the effects laid over the top that make this grating and uncomfortable.
Track 5: Nero Forte
Opening with a buzz saw riff, and barrage of percussion, there is nothing about this track that wouldn’t have been out of place on the 1999 debut album. The cadence of Taylor’s vocals, the cacophony of instrumentation used – but not at expense of groove, and even more importantly, melodic elements. The chorus is again a massive sing along moment. Nero Forte provides a strong highlight thus far.
Track 6: Critical Darling
Again, this track feels like the Slipknot of early days. That’s not a knock on anything released post Iowa, but this album has feels a little like the band is re-visiting their past in order to move forward. Critical Darling is venomous and driven by anger, but the choruses soar, and the stripped back mid section is elegance amongst the brutality.
Track 7: A Liars Funeral
Atmospheric and emotive is A Liars Funeral. Slowly building towards an eventual climax that is sonically metallic. I can’t help but wonder if this is written in response to the allegations of former bandmate, Chris Fehn.
Track 8: Red Flag
Red Flag plays in stark contrast to the previous track. It’s an unrelenting song, great riffs and precision percussion are the driving forces here. Again, we are treated to some great sampling and effects from DJ Sid Wilson – adding to the overall experience rather than just appearing for the sake of it. This is classic Slipknot!
Track 9: What’s Next
An interlude. Basically filler – but does the job of calming the mood down after the weightiness of Red Flag.
Track 10: Spiders
This plays like the theme to a horror movie. Surely John Carpenters Halloween theme had to be an inspiration here. A little ominous, a lot experimental. Spiders is not a bad track at all, but not one of the better.
Track 11: Orphan
Frantic and enigmatic. Orphan is another throw back to Iowa era Slipknot. Uncompromisingly heavy, with immense bursts of light in the choruses. This proves to be another highlight, and I honestly didn’t expect to stumble on a track I enjoyed this much so late in the album.
Track 12: My Pain
This track is rather dull and lifeless. And at nearly seven minutes long, it well and truly overstays it’s welcome.
Track 13: Not Long For This World
Follows a similar style to My Pain to begin with, but ultimately builds its way to something far more full of life. If it weren’t for the length, it could make a potential single.
Track 14: Solway Firth
The final track of a really solid album. Solway Firth is a suitably heavy album closer – showcasing the immense wall of sound that Slipknot is known for.
We Are Not Your Kind is without a doubt the best of Slipknots last three albums – the sound of a band working hard to put the past behind them, and in turn, carry themselves into the future.
By Shayne McGowan