August 9, 2019 Slipknot – We Are Not Your Kind (Album Review)
Not much needed to be said other than the name Slipknot when speaking of legendary Metal music. Since the dawn of the new millennium the band nearly immediately became a leading force in the extreme music work with tracks like 1999’s “Wait and Bleed” all the way through 2008’s “Psychosocial.”
That in mind, while it has been nearly five years since the release of their 2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter, it was well worth the wait for their latest effort We Are Not Your Kind because it is a strange creature that never lacks in intrigue or the expected. Released on Friday, August 9th through Roadrunner Records, Slipknot has stepped into a new chapter of music and sound.
Their sixth overall album, and first without longtime member Chris Fehn, We Are Not Your Kind is mammoth effort, consisting of fourteen tracks. Summed up in over an hour of music, a childlike choir rings out with the by now infamous vocal melody of lead single “Unsainted,” before shredding guitars tear away into the rest of the raucous song. This is before the unnerving “Birth of the Cruel” which initially is gentle before sounds of discs scratching, random roars, and macabre guitar melodies circle.
Moving on, “Nero Forte” has an unexpected Speed Metal guitar sound as it opens, and the high-energy, frantically-paced track is driven by the bouncing guitar riff and aggressive Rap style of Vocalist Corey Taylor. Haunting high vocals play in the background of the chorus as an antithesis to the angry growls that take the forefront as militaristic drumming takes control of the breakdown, accompanied by demonic spitting of lyrics before it raises back into the chorus. This is while “Critical Darling” is an indescribable, stand-out track, one that easily could have made an impressive, if unforeseen single. Here, the verses feel like twisted nursery rhymes interspersed with gentler moments of clarity.
Calming the album down, “A Liar’s Funeral” is facile ballad of misery and angst as acoustic guitars strum gently away while sorrowful piano and a heartbeat-like drumming play behind. There is a palpable fury and lust for vengeance as the song climbs higher into the atmosphere and the despair plummets into nothingness. Then “Red Flag” reawakens the erratic energy with guitar riffs that seem to mock and tantalize, and though the flow of the song is choppy and hostile, in brief moments where the instrumental takes center-stage the track truly evolves. This is while “Spiders” feeds off the fear within and it enters with an unnerving piano melody and a low, burgeoning bass line. The song strays from more aggressive, bludgeoning guitar riffs, appealing to a darker more ritualistic sound.
Very reminiscent stylistically to .5: The Gray Chapter, “Orphan” incinerates slowly in the intro before it reveals itself. Meanwhile, “My Pain” grows quietly in its introduction, with inhuman whispers and whirring frequencies. An unknown intent lurks as it flows between dark melodies and speaks of an unknown woman with lyrics like “Pain, she loves me, wants me to be” spoken in a dry, monotone voice. Leading toward the end, slow patter of tribal-like drumming is overlaid by robust, distorted guitar work opening “Not Long For This World,” which swells into its choruses before deflating back into a demure verse. This all concludes with “Solway Firth,” the album’s second single, and a dynamic ending to an epic album that is truly a marvel to witness live.
After .5: The Gray Chapter fans of Slipknot might be surprised by what We Are Not Your Kind has to offer. In fact, many of the tracks explore new sounds and are truly nothing alike to earlier incarnations of the band. However, they glow with the lifeblood of what makes the signature sound of Slipknot, and this is felt in tracks like “Unsainted” and “Red Flag.”
In short, We Are Not Your Kind resides in a dark place between iconic Slipknot tropes and more evolved, experimental sounds. Its fourteen tracks, eleven songs with three interludes, are fed by torrid, distinct guitar riffs, dynamic drums, and an endless variety of Taylor’s vocal talents. Whether a die-hard Maggot from the days of 2001’s Iowa or one who has never laid witness to the fearsome prowess of Slipknot, We Are Not Your Kind is an album that should be heard by all. For this, Cryptic Rock give Slipknot’s newest masterpiece 5 out of 5 stars.