Album Review: Slipknot ".5: The Gray Chapter" – 5 out of 5 stars
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 12:35:05
Let's get this out of the way right now for anybody wondering.
.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.
"XIX" begins the roller coaster down to Hell and back. "This song is for the dead," Corey Taylor admits, painting ominous picture, "With my face against the floor". The eerie pump organ by "Clown" resounds like a clarion call welcoming listeners into a vision somewhere between The Fragile-era Nine Inch Nails and The Who. Taylor's voice careens through the waves of instrumentation breaking in the record as the bells ring out, "Don't let this fucking world tear you apart".
"AOV" tempers succinct and searing thrash riffing with a syncopated hardcore slam as electronic squeals pulsate through the tempest. The drumming simply pummels especially when juxtaposed with an ethereal piano break that snaps back into another wallop. Taylor once again stands on point with screams like "Know yourself 'cause no one seems to know".
Jim Root stepped up to the plate in a big way, and his insanely technical yet tuneful approach fuels the likes of "Sarcastrophe", which may very well be one of the band's heaviest songs ever. Then, there's "Custer" which could be "Surfacing 2015" with a massive refrain and Faith No More-esque groove that burns and blazes with evil and engaging panache.
"Goodbye" remains one of their most emotional moments ever as it waves to Paul Gray, while "Lech" spits venom and vitriol that could burn through steel. By the time this journey ends, it feels as if Slipknot have come full circle. This is their most abrasive work since their self-titled debut, yet it's also their most majestic. It's their best work and a testament to their resolve. It's Slipknot after all, and that's all it needs to be.
Will you be getting the album on October 21?
Pre-order it on iTunes!
.5: The Gray Chapter [pre-order from Slipknot],
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