Slipknot – Day of the Gusano (Live DVD Review)

The legendary heathens of Slipknot make mincemeat of Mexico City in Day of the Gusano, their new DVD/CD combo package that arrives to a masked cretin near you Friday, October 20, 2017 thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment and Universal Music Group.

Slipknot – Vocalist Corey Taylor (#8), Guitarists Mick Thomson (#7) and Jim Root (#4), Percussionist and Backing Vocalist Chris Fehn (#3), Bassist Alessandro (Alex) Venturella, Drummer Jay Weinberg, Percussionist M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan (#6), as well as Craig Jones (#5) handling samples and Sid Wilson (#0) on turntables – are a tour de force with some twenty-plus years of world domination under their heavy Metal belts. The little band from Des Moines, Iowa, got their start back in 1995 and, from then to now, their story is nothing short of Heavy Metal history.

Day of the Gusano (“Gusano” meaning “worm” or maggot, if you will) presents the band’s December 2015 Knotfest debut in Mexico City, a long-awaited and epic performance that had to be captured for posterity, and who better to preserve the memory than the band’s own Crahan, a masterful director in his own right. Available in standard CD/DVD format, as well as a Blu-ray/CD package, or in two Limited Edition pressings – 3LP/DVD or 2DVD/CD – along with all of the visual and auditory content, the standard booklet contains a collection of visual stills from throughout this momentous live show. For fans keeping score at home, the 17-track CD portion of this package contains the audio of the concert, which includes all the songs performed in the live DVD along with “Metabolic/742617000027” and “People=Shit,” as a bonus.

The DVD portion of the package – you know, where the action is at! – clocks in at 91 minutes in-length and has subtitles available in English, Spanish, and French. Oui! Shifting between behind-the-scenes footage of the band and their fans, as well as spotlighting their explosive live performance. The general format here is two minutes of backstory to two live performance clips; creating a DVD that is mostly performance and yet contains that little something extra for fans to cherish.

Day of the Gusano opens to some lovely aerial shots establishing the beautiful, sprawling metropolis that is Mexico City and then the festival’s grounds. There are, of course, plenty of enticing shots of writhing maggots to make your mouth water, as well. As you hunger for more, the band begin to discuss why it has taken them so very long to get to Mexico City, and acknowledge their perfect understanding of fans’ frustrations. Mexican Maggots, you are not alone: even Taylor admits to being “nervous as shit” to finally take the stage in Mexico.

That performance kicks off with open arms and Taylor proclaiming the crowd “Mi familia!” as the band launch into “Sarcastrophe,” which moves straight into “Eeyore.” Although nothing can ever beat being present at a live show, the footage here communicates Slipknot’s incendiary live show beautifully with multiple camera angles covering the band on-stage and marvelous aerial shots of the massive crowd.

A sharp focus is placed on several members of that audience in the next behind-the-scenes segment, providing a backstory for several, special Mexican Maggots. One fan in particular notes that he turned down the offer of a new car, instead using the funds to purchase airline tickets, a hotel room, and tickets to see Slipknot. Now that, mi amigos, is dedication! It segues the ‘Knot into “Custer,” where the crowd goes absolutely bonkers for the cheer “Cut, cut, cut me up and fuck, fuck, fuck me up!” Feeding off their energy, the band, in turn, go crazy on “(Sic)” and “Me Inside.” We then get to experience the band members exploring and experiencing the culture around Mexico City and its fringes: shopping for skulls and sombreros at local markets, as well as visiting the ruins of Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Sun.

As “Psychosocial” kicks in, there is a certain irony as the crowd literally look like a pile of writhing maggots. Fehn and Crahan come out-front to showcase their skills, leading their beloved worms into “Duality;” the entire audience seems to sing-along to this favorite’s choruses, while Taylor’s vocals especially shine here. The crowd participation flows beautifully into scenes of the band discussing their fans, and, in turn, the fans noting that the band’s music has helped them to channel negative energy and hostility with everyday life into something positive. The impassioned give and take between Slipknot and their fans is clear and a very important element to this tale.

Pyro comes out to play on “Before I Forget” – with the sea of fans going wild – while Taylor leads his “beautiful motherfuckers” into a frenzy with “The Devil In I.” Again we cut away to the band being candid – eating at a restaurant, shots of their tour bus – and discussing one another and their unique backgrounds and personalities; the individual entities that gel together to make up this one of a kind unit. It is worth noting that, while interviews throughout the DVD are careful to feature each of the band members, the most face-time goes to Taylor, Crahan, and Weinberg.

A killer aerial shot establishes the foundation for “Vermilion,” and it becomes obvious that, while the band’s visit to Mexico might have been years in-the-making, the ‘Knot have poured their souls into this evening’s performance for their die-hard fans. One also cannot help but appreciate the musicianship of Slipknot: despite all the moving parts and the over-the-top visual presence that the group set forth, their performance is fantastically tight and proves why these superbly talented musicians are at the upper echelon of their craft. As if to cement this fact in stone, the lengthy percussive introduction to “Prosthetics” highlights the boys’ diverse talents.

The next vignette in the behind-the-action tale is that of the preparation for Knotfest: we see Crahan checking out security measures and the layout of the festival grounds themselves. He takes a moment to note that this is only the band’s seventh Knotfest, so many countries and regions have still never experienced what any of this entails. In fact, as of the DVD’s recording, Knotfest has only graced Japan, Mexico, and the U.S. Taylor takes his moment to point out that the band seek to tie-in local culture with all that encompasses Knotfest, creating a uniquely original experience for each location.

In their next live segment, “Metabolic” flows into “Spit It Out,” where more pyro goes wild. Mid-song, Taylor implores the audience to hunker down, nearly to their knees – as he reminds them that they are being filmed and gives them their cue – his urging sends the entire crowd into an explosive, upward propulsion that creates a superb visual aspect for the filming. What is more, this is a dynamite representation of what Slipknot have to offer, especially with crowd interaction.

There is a constant reminder that the fans are the most important part of the band, the central point of the footage that follows: Taylor and Crahan speaking of the importance and dedication of the fans, as well as their hope to be a voice for their followers. In the most touching portion of the package, a former cancer patient tears up while discussing how music helped him through his trials and tribulations. At hearing this young man’s words, Taylor himself seems to go watery-eyed: the moment is touching and a true testament to Slipknot’s love for their Maggots!

While Taylor’s Spanish is fairly elementary, he makes a clear attempt to engage and interact with his rabid fans and they love him for it. As the crowd explodes for the old-school favorite “The Heretic Anthem,” fingers fly in the air to symbolize “555” and “666”. Continuing to feed off that energy, the band go full-force for the single that started it all, “Wait And Bleed.” They end on “Surfacing/Til We Die,” with a massive circle pit prominent in the crowd, and, as the credits role, the audience begins to file out and Crahan promises that the band will return.

Day of the Gusano does due diligence to Slipknot’s impressive live show, portraying the band in all their spectacularly bizarre glory. The cinematography is superb – no low budget production here! – and, intermingled with the candid confessional clips, there is a certain coziness portrayed herein; you walk away feeling like you know Slipknot better somehow. Fans, in general, will treasure that closeness – along with the killer live performance depicted herein – while Mexican Maggots should absolutely adore the package.

In short, anyone proud to call themselves a Maggot should be asking Santa Claus to fill their stocking with Day of the Gusano this year! Muchas gracias, Slipknot, for a superb collection, to which CrypticRock offers up 5 of 5 stars.

Purchase Day of the Gusano:

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