Interview: Slipknot (Track-by-Track)
Sun, 24 Aug 2008 21:37:22
"Tell the maggots to get ready. It's only beginning," exclaims Slipknot percussionist/creative mastermind Shawn "Clown" Crahan.
Slipknot's fourth album, All Hope Is Gone, is a new beginning, not only for the multi-platinum Grammy award-winning nine-piece, but for heavy metal as well. There hasn't been a record this violent, real and honest to hit the scene in a long time, and it's going to burn everything in its path down. All Hope Is Gone is easily Slipknot's most vitriolic and brutal offering yet, and they're about to shatter all doubts and expectations in a torrent of razor sharp cathartic rage. On August 26th, the world will get to experience why "All Hope Is Gone," but Clown gave ARTISTdirect an early track-by-track preview of the album.
Basically, I can't comment on the words used because that's Corey's thing. That's just the way it goes, and I've always said that. I can tell you a little bit about the philosophy behind the song though. Back in the day, there was a famous speech by Spiro Agnew. Ten years ago, I turned Corey onto this speech. It's in monotone, and it's just very disturbing. It was relevant for what we were doing back then. I thought it was so powerful. While we were making the first album, I made Corey listen to it. It really affected him. He recently found the speech again. He brought it back and said, "Hey man, you remember this?" I was like, "Wow, what a blast from the past!" Because Corey's such a great writer, I said, "Why don't you take what that speech did to you and use it, but let's use it in your words. Let's use you, and let's use what it means." So he did this thing, and it's called "Execute." It's very cryptic in terms of what we are. I based the new album's artistic direction on this idea of the past ten years. When Corey dug the speech up again, he didn't know my artistic plan. So it's quite a coincidence. I think it's fascinating to look at how my friends have grown. Take Sid. He was so young when we started. I'm 39 now. I started the band when I was 26, and we got signed when I was 29. Sid was just a pup when we began. He's 33 now. There's been an era of growth over ten years. We hadn't written anything for an intro. It just seemed Slipknot's style to have this little prelude to what's going on. I don't think anything could've been more relevant than something that inspired us ten years ago. Basically, ten years went into making "Execute" to start record number four.
"Gematria" is the power of the mind. You don't want me to speak for everyone else. I can only speak for me, but I can say that there are some really cool things happening on that song. The technique and the style are very reminiscent of the old, brutal shit that we've done. It's very exciting that this is the first song. For me, I use a gong on it, and it's the first time I've used cymbals on a record. Joey did all the drums, and there's this insane beat that he just took to the next level. Then you've got me answering with a gong. It's the power of the mind, man. It's like "(sic)."
"Sulfur" is a song that Joey and Jim wrote together. It's pretty cool because it's the first time they've ever written a song together. They got together and wrote three tunes in one night, and "Sulfur" was the first one that they wrote. "Sulfur" is one of those songs that came back as a demo, and it made me go, "Holy shit!" That tempo and blinding beat remind me of ten years ago. A lot of the stuff on this record is reminiscent of ten years ago, but at the same time, it's not ten years ago. The way we made the record and how it turned out is more mature, but the style reminds me of '99. "Sulfur" is a really great song. I love that chorus, "Like breathing in sulfur." Most of us love the smell of sulfur. We're not going to breathe it all day, but it reminds me of being a kid and blowing shit up with sulfur smoke bombs. It reminds me of childhood.
"Pyschosocial," whatever that means! [Laughs] It's like a word onto itself. I have no idea exactly what it is. It's amazing. It's like "Before I Forget" off the last record. It's one of those songs that you hear, and it's fun. It's a blast to play. I love my parts because we're bringing the snare back. It's a killer song.
I can't speak for Corey, but I've heard him say there's a period of ten years in his life that's behind him now. That's pretty much all he wants to say. You can listen to it, and figure it out. That'll be the second single. It's a serious song. It's seriously melodic, and that's what we like to do. We like to explore those worlds. It's an honor to be in a band with someone that will take chances on melody. That's what we're here to do—to feel as much as possible.
Heavy, heavy, heavy! I haven't really gotten my head around that song too much yet, and it'll take me about a year to really get in that one. It's out there, and it's got that Iowa feel.
It's a cool title. This record is what it is. This song is very different in terms of vibe. The chorus is crazy, and it's definitely an insane song.
"Gehenna" is the only mention of Hell in the Old Testament, but it's not even really Hell. It's pretty weird. That's a trippy song. It's like "Prosthetics," "Purity" or "Skin Ticket." It's just somewhere we go. Corey's made some amazing melodies in the choruses, and I love them.
"The Cold Black"
That's one of my favorite songs on the record. It's got this driving tempo and a lot of attitude. It's a great song. People are going to come back to this song.
"Wherein Lies Continue"
It's a really weird track. It's one of those songs that's going to take me awhile before I can really wrap my head around it.
It's funny because everyone asks, "Are you guys going to make another album like Iowa?" However, you're going to see that everyone will love a song like "Snuff." People are going to get into it because we all like to feel sad. Everyone can feel the pain that's in there. It's not forced upon you. You have it in there innately. Happy and sad are both always inside. When you hear a song like "Snuff" from a band like Slipknot, you can't help but be forced into that delirium. That's going to be a go-to song for you to just feel bad to.
“When you hear a song like "Snuff" from a band like Slipknot, you can't help but be forced into that delirium.”
"All Hope Is Gone"
"All Hope Is Gone" found us through a photo shoot. We sprung upon it, and it was waiting with a lure. We took the bite, and it's everything. We've adopted it. It's the first time we just found a title and Corey was like, "I'm writing a song." The lyrics were already there. It just worked. Usually we've got some crazy list of titles, and we have to filter through what we feel. This was just a no-brainer. It's like "People=Shit." You hear that, and you're like, "I pretty much believe that." "All Hope Is Gone" might be a little negative, but when I see things in front of me, I'm just so embarrassed by the human thought process and the human condition that I don't know what else to do. I don't believe in violence. Wars don't solve anything. I don't believe in sitting there and preaching. So maybe if I walk away and go, "You're making a bad move. All hope is gone," maybe they'll get it through their thick skulls that we're ruining this. It's like oil and shit, man. We've got engines that run off of water. I'm educated enough to know that you can't shut off all the gas and oil in the world and just expect the world to go on. I understand, but isn't it a little embarrassing that we're not trying harder to solve the problems? Aren't we smart enough to know that it's all a means to an end? Are we so selfish that we want the next generation to suffer? That's why I spit in the face—"All Hope Is Gone." Maybe that kind of statement could make a difference. Slipknot's the band to kick it in your face too.