Slipknot has been confirmed for the 2015 Rock Am Ring and 2015 Rock Im Park festivals.
Metal Injection posted a track-by-track review of Slipknot‘s upcoming album .5: The Gray Chapter. Below you can read an excerpt from the review.
Since the first teaser for Slipknot’s .5: The Gray Chapter went up on July 15, speculative postings and supposed “insider knowledge” has been running amok. Who was going to take the place of recently fired drummer Joey Jordison? Who would fill the mighty shoes of the late, great Paul Gray? Would the band still be able to bring it like they used to after six years of silence? While the answers for the first two questions have been all but confirmed across the great expanse of the Internet, I personally can answer the last question- Slipknot can bring it just as hard as they used to and then some, but with the acrid grace and brutal maturity of musicians who know how to sharpen their proverbial knives and efficiently kill with them just as well.
This review is pretty straight forward in terms of layout. I’m going to go track by track in the order they appear in on the album, excluding the two bonus tracks considering I don’t have them, and then give my overall impression of the album at the bottom. Deal? Deal.
Let’s get to it!
“XIX” opens up with a distorted bagpipe-sounding keyboard patch, a glockenspiel and an acoustic guitar in the background. Corey Taylor’s vocals come in over the eerie soundscape alongside muted drums quietly keeping the beat and Taylor’s voice just sounds strained in a fed up, pissed off way. “XIX” is interesting because it keeps building on a lot of additional instrumentation, volume increases and layered vocal harmonies seeping into frame. The main scratchy, sickening soundscape remains constant and you can almost feel Taylor glaring at you. It seems like Slipknot is trying to make you feel uneasy and scared with this track.
The song builds and builds, edging toward total paranoia, and finally arrives at… nothing. Everything falls apart and you’re left with the original soundscape in extreme disrepair. It’s you’re expecting something to jump out at you from behind a curtain. You reach toward it and there’s nothing behind it, but you’re pretty sure there’s someone breathing down the back of your neck now.
“Sarcastrophe” picks up where “XIX” left off in terms of mood. There’s light percussion, effected clean guitars and a bubbling static noise. Things pick up with the addition of cymbals and distorted guitars. Then, out of nowhere, a drum fill and you’re thrown into the midst of Corey Taylor growling his fucking face off. The heaviness arrives in the same way the band did heaviness on their debut record- plenty of heft in terms of a traditional metal band, but with more percussion going on and the added madness of DJ electronically adding layers of insanity.
It’s immediately noticeably that this is not the Slipknot you think you’re getting. This is a Slipknot that is righteously pissed off. There’s blasts, there’s tremolo-picked riffs and there’s non-conventional breakdowns that include sampling and keyboard work and aren’t drum centric. There’s a strange, airy quality to the heaviness of this song. It’s not this laser-focused precision that’s cut and dry. It’s haunting, terrifying and larger than life. It’s as if Slipknot were this spectral being here to kill you, but slowly… painfully.
“AOV” is driving in the same way the members of Amon Amarth are just kind of vikings. The combination of double bass and percussive attacks on the downbeats give the song a militaristic stomping quality while guitars simply drive like tanks through your speakers and keyboards sound the air raid sirens as if it were the end of days. There’s a big hooky chorus that pops up between the bursts of violence that’s going to get stuck in your head, and that’s just the first half of the song. What surprised me was the interlude toward the middle of the track.
During the interlude, the majority of the band fades off and featured prominently, providing the melody aside from a tinkling piano and dreamy, swirling guitars, is the bassist. I’d go as far as calling this a bass solo. It’s melodious and has a sense of direction in that it touches on what the guitars are doing in the background but doesn’t stick to them. With the band still mourning former bassist Paul Gray, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be Slipknot’s …And Justice For All.
It is not.
Read more at Metal Injection.
Mick Thomson (#7 of Slipknot) is on the cover of the October issue of Metal Hammer Greece. There’s an interview with Corey Taylor and some excerpts from an old interview with Paul Gray.
Australia’s Music Feeds recently conducted an interview with Jim Root (#4 of Slipknot) about the Slipknot’s new album – .5: The Gray Chapter. Below you can read a couple excerpts from the interview.
Music Feeds: New album, new tours, new members. How’s life in the Slipknot camp at the moment?
Jim Root: Life in the Slipknot camp is pretty damn good right now. I used to be really hesitant and reluctant and resistant to say such things [laughs] Actually, everything’s pretty cool. But I don’t want to jinx it and I don’t want to…. usually when I feel like everything’s going good that’s when something really fucked up happens. So, I’m gonna say it’s all shitty, everything sucks, blah! [laughs]
MF: Corey mentioned how you and Shawn got the ball rolling on the songwriting process. Are you able to elaborate on that and take us behind the scenes a bit?
Jim Root: Sure. We’d been talking about doing a new record for quite some time, we just didn’t really know when. I mean, to give you sort of a whole synopsis, the whole us touring started to see if we could see do it without Paul, continue the healing process and then see what we could do after that, see if that could lead us into doing a record.
And so time went by and we were touring for a while and got to the point where we knew it was time to do a record and we wanted to do a record. So we pushed forward and started thinking about that and talking about that and we kind of had to wait for other bands’ tour cycles to wrap up and all that stuff.
It kept getting pushed back and pushed back and people in the band kept getting a little more antsy and a little more frustrated and a little more like, ‘What the fuck’s going on?’ And then finally I had enough, I was like, ‘This is stupid. We’ve been putting this off for over two years now. It’s time to get back to it and do what it is we’re put on this earth to do.’
And in conversations with Clown and with management and with the record label, it was definitely time. So, in November I sat down and kind of went to work. And then I’d finish arrangements and bounce them down and send them to Clown and that was it, that’s where the ball started rolling. That’s when everything else started to unfold, but basically in November 2013 is when I started demoing and inviting people into my garage.
Read more at MusicFeeds.com.au
.5: The Gray Chapter is unequivocally and unabashedly a Slipknot album. That means a few things. First of all, it once again sees Iowa’s finest expand the boundaries of heavy metal similar to what they did on the timeless Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses. Secondly, brutality abounds. ‘Nuff said.
This is Slipknot at their most incendiary, invasive, and infectious. Moreover, there’s absolutely nothing like .5 – The Gray Chapter in either the band’s catalog or the modern heavy metal canon, period. There will be nothing like it either. Few men can conjure what these gentlemen do once the sonic séance begins. For lifelong fans, it not only meets expectations; it obliterates them. Would you have it any other way though? This is Slipknot after all.
At the same time, .5: The Gray Chapter offers the next phase in a larger body of work. This isn’t Iowa, Slipknot, or All Hope Is Gone. Rather, it’s a powerful, passionate, and potent piece of its own that retains the touchstones of the group’s patented sound, while ushering in a gorgeously chaotic and crushing future.
Read more at ArtistDirect.com
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Clown (#6 of Slipknot) about strong>Slipknot’s Knotfest, which will have a very specific smell. And that smell is camel shit.
Boasts the press release, “Knotfest has its own aroma that will infest your brain, body and clothes for days after the festival is over. Personally picked by Slipknot themselves, the smell of Knotfest will permeate the festival grounds. Oil drums will be filled with camel shit… set aflame to last the entire festival.”
“We did the camel dung on the first Knotfest. It was awesome; it was beautiful,” Slipknot percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan tells Rolling Stone. “[Fans] came into the museum and they had to be hit with camel shit. A very distinct smell. You can’t huff it, but it’s got this smell. And it’s not necessarily the most comfortable thing, but its not necessarily the worst thing, it’s just remembering thoughts — it’s gonna be a reoccurring thing.”
Read more at Rolling Stone.
Slipknot is on the cover of Japan’s GrindHouse Magazine.
Corey Taylor (#8 of Slipknot) says that the band didn’t feel any pressure making the its first album in six years, “.5: The Gray Chapter”, calling the experience “more emotional than it was stressful.” Speaking to the Q105.1 radio station in Fargo, North Dakota, Taylor said: “The great thing about this band is we’ve never put shackles on ourselves creatively. If we’re feeling one way, we go that way. If we’re not, then we tend to go in the opposite direction. It’s one of the reasons why we took so long to actually start thinking about doing a new album, ’cause we weren’t gonna do it until we were ready.”
He continued: “As far as pressure, we’ve never had a lot of pressure, because we approach it that way. We’re, like, ‘We’re gonna do what we want. If nobody listens to it, that’s fine, but we’ve fulfilled something inside ourselves.’ So it was more emotional than it was stressful, to be honest. Because filling in the shoes of Paul, especially, was heavy duty. He was such an integral part of the songwriting process and had such a great ear for it, we knew that we were all going to have to step in and fill those shoes in, and I thought we did a great job. Jim [Root] came up with some killer stuff, I brought in some stuff, Clown really, he brought in some really killer atmospheric stuff that we were able to build into some great music. I think we all really stepped up to the challenge, and I think it was because we wanted to. It wasn’t because we felt we had to; we felt we wanted to, we wanted to be able to do that and really kind of make new music with this band again. So it wasn’t so much stressful as it was powerful.”
Taylor recently denied that the band’s new song, “The Negative One”, is about Joey Jordison, telling Metal Hammer, “‘The Negative One’ is about me, and not just me, but everybody in the band. We all have so many different sides to ourselves, but especially with this band. When we get together, there’s something about the music we make that really unleashes the crazy, dark shit inside of us. And that song in particular is about, basically, embracing it again, giving into it and letting it have its say. Because if you don’t, then you sit on it and you repress and it blows up in really negative ways. So, that song is about freeing it.”
Corey Taylor told The Pulse Of Radio that the new disc is autobiographical. “The whole album is essentially the story of the band over the last four years, and part of that story is that we’ve had to reach a point of acceptance with everything,” he said. “You know, the last four years have been really difficult for us.”
#8 of Slipknot told Metal Hammer that the album is laid out like a story, “from the moment Paul died to the moment we stepped out of the studio. So there are certain songs that deal with, not Joey in particular, but about the tension and trying to deal with the ugliness that we all have in us.”
Happy Birthday Clown – #6 of Slipknot!
Jim Root (#4 of Slipknot) says that he was hurt and angry after he was fired from the band at the end of last year but claims that it all worked out “for the better” because he “wasn’t really happy” in the Corey Taylor-fronted group anymore.
#4 of Slipknot, who was also a major contributor to the songwriting for that band’s new album, “.5: The Gray Chapter”, alongside Taylor, tells Revolver magazine: “It became apparent to me near the end of the album cycle for [Stone Sour‘s] ‘House Of Gold & Bones’ that it had basically run its course. But the band kept pushing for more dates, and I was just, like, ‘It’s time to stop!'”
He continued: “Slipknot made it possible for Stone Sour to have everything that it has and there were people in Slipknot that have been sitting idly waiting to do a new album. And I had fans asking me every day, ‘When are you doing Slipknot?’ It just seemed like it was in the air.”
Root says that he was finally dismissed from Stone Sour in late 2013, several months before his exit was officially announced. “I guess you could say I was ‘given the opportunity’ to start the Slipknot album, to put it sort of nicely,” he tells Revolver. “Essentially in November, I found out that Stone Sour wanted to do some more shows and they didn’t want me to be a part of it.”
Being that he was no longer involved with Stone Sour, Root was free to focus entirely on composing new Slipknot material at his home in Florida. “I had so many emotions going on in my head when I was writing this shit,” he says. “I was mad because Stone Sour wanted to go do a tour and they didn’t want me to be a part of it. So I had a little anger, and I had a little bit of fucking depression. I was kind of hurt. But at the same time, it was probably all for the better, because I wasn’t really happy in that band anymore.”
He added: “I love Stone Sour. I love the music that we created. and it was a fun ride. But if I’m going to sacrifice all of my free time and my life for something, it has to be something that I a thousand-percent believe in, and something where I have a thousand-percent communication with everyone involved. And that something is Slipknot.”
Root spoke with The Pulse Of Radio late last year about the difficulties of balancing Stone Sour and Slipknot. “You know, when you’re in two bands like this, man, there’s some big sacrifices that eventually have to come along and there’s some, you know, kind of grown-up decisions you have to make and not all of them are gonna be easy decisions to make,” he said.
Root was replaced on the Stone Sour tour earlier this year by Christian Martucci. It is not clear if Martucci will continue with the group.