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There’s something to be said for any band who can actively chase evolution without alienating their longstanding (and voracious) fanbase, and the end is far from over for metal mavericks Slipknot on album #7.
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A band whose collective vocabulary does not include the word “comfort”, Slipknot have grown from late night planning sessions at a petrol station in Iowa to one of the most recognisable and ferocious forces on the modern metal scene. Now seven albums into their journey, courtesy of their brand new album The End, So Far now out in the world, it comes as very little surprise that there are multiple sonic surprises lying in wait throughout the record’s 12 tracks. But what enamours most of all for the 2022 version of Slipknot is how the nine-piece, after multiple decades, actively energise their established tropes, balancing the trademark frenetic chaos with dazzling and refined complexity.
Straight outta the gate, The End, So Far leans into left of field elegance via the swaying, Bowie-esque swooner that is Adderall. An unexpected yet intriguing opener heavy with pianos and crooning vocals, the dreamy vibes are abruptly shattered by more traditional Slipknot fare courtesy of The Dying Song (Time to Sing). Loading up the bedlam dominantly in the album’s first half, The Chapeltown Rag is as much a monstrous delight as it was when it first appeared in late 2021, with frontman Corey Taylor slicing and dicing between howls, growls, and cleans like a man gleefully possessed. Vocally ageing like the finest of whiskeys, Taylor’s stellar performance continues with a Mike Patton-adjacent outing on Yen, with the downtempo single presenting as a macabre Slipknot ballad alongside razor-sharp execution across the board.
The End, So Far is also everything fans have come to know and love about the masked metal machines: an extension to join Slipknot beyond the comfort zone without sacrificing what made them a household name in the first place.
Lurching from frantic mayhem and a huge spotlight moment for drummer Jay Weinberg on Hive Mind, The End, So Far dishes up raw meat metal thumpers (Warranty), down-tuned, jangling gloom (Medicine for the Dead), heaving chuggs (Heirloom), proggy, stadium-ready grooves (De Sade) and tracks primed to blister your ears into oblivion (H377). And while there’s significant moments of flashy and biting brilliance to go with the expected Slipknot bells and whistles, it’s on the track Acidic that Slipknot melt into bluesy vocals, oozing instrumentals, and classic rock infusions on a track that has already set tongues wagging for both its stylistic deviation and salient execution. And as the actual end, so far, for the new album, Finale once again strays into prog and orchestral waters, aptly bookending the creative spirit first flexed on its album soulmate Adderall.
For long-time fans of the Iowa collective, it’s entirely unsurprising that The End, So Far is one heavy with experimentation and showcasing beyond the maggot-friendly madness. Having said that, this is still undeniably a Slipknot album, with plenty of snarls, riffing assaults, and pure rampaging audacity to firmly sink your teeth into. On one hand, The End, So Far feels like a conclusion, eagerly welcoming in a new era for everyone’s favourite masked metal makers. But simultaneously, The End, So Far is also everything fans have come to know and love about the masked metal machines: an extension to join Slipknot beyond the comfort zone without sacrificing what made them a household name in the first place.
STANDOUT TRACKS: The Chapeltown Rag, Yen, Hive Mind, Acidic
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