Slipknot review, We Are Not Your Kind: The rage they capture is universally felt

The sheer ambition of ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ is just as staggering as their seminal record ‘Iowa’ – the dynamic might be even better

Roisin O'Connor
Music Correspondent
Thursday 08 August 2019 13:54 BST
Corey Taylor performs in his new mask during a Slipknot show, 2019
Corey Taylor performs in his new mask during a Slipknot show, 2019 (Rex)

Such is the myth around Slipknot that it’s a struggle to peel back the masks and just appreciate the musicianship. The Iowan heavy metal band have dealt with their fair share of controversy, hardship and loss, and this is the foundation on which their dark, heavy and exhilarating sound is built.

With We Are Not Your Kind, their first album in five years, Slipknot had more time to figure out their next step. And it shows, in everything from the record’s structure to the production, which allows each member’s musical prowess to shine through.

Opener “Insert Coin” makes the listener feel as though they’re about to play a terrifying new video game, before the ghostly chorus heralding “Unsainted” kicks in. Guitarists Mick Thomson and Jim Root reel out some furious shredding as frontman Corey Taylor veers from the anthemic chorus to monstrous bellows of: “I’m just weathering a rough patch/ Another villain with an itch to scratch/ Denial is the darkest when you live in a hole/ Why does the hell make you feel so cold?”

Fans have already drawn comparisons between the new singles and Slipknot’s seminal 2001 album Iowa. While the latter was even heavier (it would be difficult if not impossible to outdo), the sheer ambition on We Are Not Your Kind is just as staggering. If anything, the dynamic created by placing a bigger emphasis on melody allows you to consider everything without being engulfed by noise.

Taylor, who had just emerged from a toxic relationship when recording this album, addresses feelings of belittlement and inadequacy with unflinching honesty and some of his best vocal work in years. Over the Celtic influences of “Solway Firth” (at one point, he seems to attempt some Cockney screamo) he issues a blistering riposte to the people he holds responsible for his negative mindset.

Critics may question how relevant Slipknot are in 2019. The pummelling force of We Are Not Your Kind should be enough to silence them – this may be one of the band’s most personal records, but the rage they capture is universally felt.

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