Slipknot’s We Are Not Your Kind: The contorted curveball modern metal needed

BY BOOMER SABATA

There are few musical fanbases more difficult to please than the one devout to the masked metal giants Slipknot. The band’s sixth studio album, We Are Not Your Kind, was released on August 9th and instantly faced the normal ‘Knot album criticisms:

“This doesn’t sound like Slipknot!”

“It isn’t the same without (insert former band member here)!”

“This is just Stone Sour!” (Stone Sour is lead vocalist Corey Taylor’s other, softer-sounding rock band).

Ironically, this album represents Slipknot more than the group’s two previous studio works All Hope Is Gone and .5: The Gray Chapter. From the very start in 1995, Slipknot has been a darkened oasis of twisted melodies, supreme distortion, and evolving experimentation. It is within the latest album’s 63:27 runtime that these qualities are most prevalent, more prevalent than they have been in a long while.

An additional discussion by fans, critics, and even members of Slipknot, is the album’s comparison to the band’s 2001 heavier-than-stone masterstroke Iowa. Simply put, it is not Iowa. What is usually forgotten about the recording process of the early-2000’s death-fest is the depraved state that the band was in at the time. 

“When we did Iowa, we hated each other,” percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan said in a 2008 interview. “We hated the world; the world hated us.” 

The group was also riddled with multiple drug addictions and other well-documented, self-destructive behaviors.

This “perfect storm” of mental anguish will never be seen again from Slipknot, hopefully. 

We Are Not Your Kind is the result of a level-headed, somewhat-sober band that has time to improve upon an already legendary track record. Each track is a neurotic weaving of sounds from the band’s history with an unsubtle earshot of modern metal mayhem. If given the time, this album should more than please any of the band’s doubters or purists. (Yes, even you Iowa fans).

The strongest track on the album is definitely “Nero Forte”, a groovy 5-minute headbanger’s ball which best incorporates the mixing of the band’s prior sounds. A pleasant wink to the band’s archived growth, a devoted Slipknot fan may be able to pinpoint certain deliveries in the track to a former album.

Photo courtesy: officialcharts.com

It is after the ninth track of the work, “What’s Next”, where most critics see the largest departure from anything Slipknot has previously shared. It is almost an album within the album, where each track seems to blend in with another. This full album experience was one of the goals from the band but is not fully clear until this point. 

The remaining tracks are solid, with a slight exception to “Spiders”. While the single itself is technically sound and professionally done, the new wave and gothic tones are maybe a bit too ambitious even for Slipknot. However, the last four tracks combine for over 24 gnarly minutes of agitated storytelling, with the single, “Solway Firth”, ending the album in a thrashing hellfire. 

We Are Not Your Kind will most likely top the US Billboard 200 charts this week, and while traditional-Slipknot fans may not want to admit it, it deserves to be. There may be too much change for some to digest at first listen, with it suddenly becoming a masterpiece the second time around. It is the Slipknot album everyone expected but is delivered in a way no one has ever heard before, something the band has been doing ever since Iowa.

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