There comes a time in every band's life where they take off the masks and grow up -- then again, maybe not, as Slipknot have managed to dig deeper without ever shedding their grotesque veils. They're still wearing disguises but they have shed producer Rick Rubin, the metal legend who produced 2004's Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, giving the nonet just the slightest hint of broader horizons beyond their relentless aggression -- not enough for the band to crossover, but perhaps enough to earn grudging respect from listeners outside of metalheads.
Having escaped the horror of nu-metal, Slipknot have quietly (well, you know what I mean) taken their place among metal's most acclaimed behemoths; the nearest thing today's world has to Metallica. After myriad troubles, the masked mutant clowns regrouped in Iowa, dumped Rick Rubin and called in stadium producer Dave Fortman in what was announced would be their most aggressive work to date. That promise is borne out on the astonishingly dense thrash of 'Gematria (The Killing Name)', which explodes out of a frantic spoken-word intro derived from vice-president Spiro Agnew's infamous 'effete corps' rant against Vietnam war protestors.
Is it possible to dress up like a Halloween creep and still rail against social injustice? Slipknot pull it off on their new album All Hope Is Gone, which is a metal assault-and-battery on the hypocrisies of the modern world. ”The state of the nation…a broken promise is as good as a lie,” Corey Taylor barks in his best Cookie Monster voice on the title track, and asks, ”What if God doesn’t care?” on the anti-organized-religion rant ”Gematria,” as drummer Joey Jordison pounds double-bass patterns to wake the undead. This is dark stuff, but there’s excellent musicianship to be found on these heavy meltdowns.
Review Summary: Slipknot tries to go back to their roots while pulling as far away from them as possible. It is not entirely successful.What happens when a band carves itself deeply in the womb of a passing fad? What happens when a band who has always fit inside of a niche tries to evolve beyond the trend yet still remain faithful to their established sound? Slipknot's All Hope is Gone happens. To put it plainly, the album is greatly evincive of an identity crisis.