Slipknot "(sic)nesses" DVD Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Mon, 27 Sep 2010 06:41:01
Slipknot's newest DVD (sic)nesses Live at Download is the Taxi Driver of concert DVDs.
Available this Tuesday September 28, it's an eerie, engaging and utterly entrancing collection of violently vibrant vignettes showing the greatest metal band of the 21st century at the top of their game—and the genre. The band's headlining performance at Download festival 2009 stands out as monolithic.
"Welcome to a dream come true," announces vocalist Corey Taylor at the beginning of the set. "It took a long time, but as the sign says we are headlining Download 2009!"
The sign didn't lie, but it really should've read "Dominating Download." "(sic)," "Eyeless" and "Wait and bleed" instantly transported the massive crowd back to the band's roots, but they unleashed all their rage like never before on that Download stage.
Joey Jordison's drumming decimated with smart bomb-style precision and airtight grooves. Storming around that percussive foundation, the sounds emanating from Sid Wilson and Craig Wilson's electronics bled into the thrashed-out assault resounding from the amps. Chris Fehn and Shawn "Clown" Crahan redefined madness as they powered through all kinds of insane beats in sync with Jordison during these first tracks.
In the same breath, James Root and Mick Thomson proved why they're heavy metal's most formidable duo since Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Their fleet-fingered fretboard fire practically burned through the clouds above. Paul Gray's bass lines remained some of the most evil and enchanting ever cut to tape, and they reverberated on those early jams from Slipknot—the embers smoking from the Download stage. At the eye of this chaos, Taylor exorcised his demons with a grasp on melody that could make Satan cry.
In front of this audience, Slipknot dropped an aural atom bomb with the death metal grind stomp of "Get This," illuminating their commitment to the underground. Then Taylor soared on "Dead Memories" and "Duality," showing that Slipknot may be heavy metal's most versatile band. "Left Behind" and "Everything Ends" took listeners straight to the heart of Iowa—and into an intense embrace. The band headbanged in unison, and the DVD is more like watching Robert Duvall storm the countryside to Wagner in Apocalypse Now than a metal band rocking.
"People = Shit" and "Surfacing" captured disillusionment, dread and the death of the American dream in a poetic, powerful fashion where Taylor's lyrics are felt just as much as Gray's bass. The camera frenetically circles getting into the faces of these nine heavy metal divinities and codifying their legendary onstage explosion. This DVD will stand proudly alongside Pantera and Metallica's best videos, and it even has the epic scale of a U2 home flick.
Then comes the real Travis Bickle trip on (sic)nesses highlight, AUDIBLE VISIONS OF: (SIC)NESSES, a full-length film directed by Clown himself. It's an unnerving and unforgettable look at the band in quick psychedelic vignettes of Slipknot on tour in support of All Hope is Gone. It begins with a red curtain rising at their Iowa show, and the "Psychosocial" insanity can never be contained. That's the genius of this piece though—Clown gives a look at the band that hasn't been seen.
Each image become etched in the viewer's psyche—from Thomson explaining that he wants to buy a crocodile and bring him on tour to the band wandering through the fields of Iowa in their heavy "All Hope is Gone" masks. Clown highlights each member sauntering down a white hallway out of focus then frantically cuts to dressing room antics or switches back to a close-up of one of the individual masks. His filmmaking is artful, conjuring David Lynch and Federico Fellini in terms of oscillating from creepy portraits into uncontainable emotional darkness.
The live moments that Clown chose for the film really hit hard. Gray and Root tear through "Purity" in one quick punch. Then the image switches to Taylor lying on the stage singing it, baring his soul through the P.A.
The film's most impactful and intense pieces are the stripped moments though, whether it's Jordison drumming in a room inside a circle of candles or the band huddle before they hit stage. One scene rivals any "Academy" contenders this year. Before Slipknot gathers for that huddle, Taylor asks, "Where's Paul?"
In his mask and jumpsuit, Gray stands a few feet behind the band on his cell phone talking to his wife. The camera zooms in and Gray goes, "I love you baby, and I'll call you after the show."
This resounds louder than any riff because it shows the humanity inherent in Gray and his bandmates. Each one of these guys is part of a family with a bond that's deeper than blood or anything else—hence perfect film closer "Till We Die"—and even though he's about to decimate a crowd, Gray's maintaining those connections to the world. That's why he's so missed.
No one will ever really know what it's like to be in Slipknot other than the nine that made the band so majestic and legendary, but (sic)nesses gives the rest a damn good idea.
Then there are the extras, including the "Making of 'Snuff,' which gives a peek behind the scenes of the band's short film for "Snuff." Malcolm McDowell puts it best when talking about Slipknot, "You have to have lived, you have to have suffered, you have to have soul."
Alex DeLarge knows his shit, but Clown puts it in even simpler terms. "It's an extreme gift to be able to give the world your pain."
That's what Slipknot did every night and on each song, and this DVD is blood-splattered proof.
R.I.P. Paul Gray, this is a fitting tribute from your brothers…
For more Slipknot see our interview with Corey Taylor (On his favorite TV shows, on Audio Secrecy, on horror flicks & All Hope is Gone) Joey Jordison (on Women and Children Last, making-of the album), Tribute to Paul Gray, Clown's exclusive Track-by-Track for All Hope Is Gone.
Have you seen (sic)nesses yet? Will you be catching one of the special screenings?