100% HEAVY / 100% Free / 0% Spam

SLIPKNOT: ‘The End, So Far’

Share This:

Warner Music Australia

September 30

Love them or hate them, there is no denying the impact metal outfit Slipknot have had on the music world as a whole.

From the moment their self-titled debut album decimated the planet in 1999 these nine gentlemen from Iowa have swept everything in their path, displaying a ferocity and intensity unseen or heard of until now.

Each album, while retaining the essential Slipknot DNA, has also seen the band explore new sonic territory, with vocalist Corey Taylor deferring to actual singing increasingly more often on each release. Not that that is a bad thing because Taylor can sing like a motherfucker – clean or harsh – but many of the band’s faithful Maggots have been quietly yearning a return to the full-blown aggression that encapsulated Slipknot’s earlier albums.

Will the ambiguously titled new album The End, So Far deliver?

Let’s find out.

If opening track Adderall is any indication then the answer is no. In fact more the opposite.

It is a weirdly captivating opening number; a swirling maelstrom of sounds that could only have come from the mind of Shawn Crahan. The haze soon subsides to reveal an ambient and measured underbelly, with Taylor electing to start proceedings by using his actual voice.

Did I mention the man can sing? Well fuck me, yes he can, but SHOULD he sing to start a Slipknot album?

He’s Corey Motherfucken Taylor, so he can do whatever the fuck he wants. Okay?

You have to actually admire Slipknot for coming out of the gates in completely the opposite direction to expected.

Admire, yes. Agree with? Time will tell.

The Dying Song (Time To Sing) now holds the weight of expectation that The End, So Far will showcase the angrier side of Slipknot and after the harps and piano sounds that fade into the end of Adderall the boys would want to do something pretty stunning to steer this ship back into choppier waters.

Taylor’s vocal intro hints at another foray into the pleasant side of his personality before the guitars then drums kick in and away we go!

This is more like it, a venomous and contemptuous piece of music that shows Slipknot are still pissed off at something.

The chorus goes back into cleaner territory, but that has become a staple of Slipknot’s diet more and more as the years progress.

What is impressive here is the guitar work of Jim Root and Mick Thompson. While the pair have always been admired for their prowess on guitar, they seem to have decided to unleash with both barrels this time around.

Fuck yeah, welcome back Slipknot!

The Chapeltown Rag was released last year, leaving many to wonder if it would actually make the cut for The End, So Far.

Well, I am pleased to say that it did, the chaotically stuttering intro steering Taylor into a world of pain as he barks at anyone within earshot.

“We don’t deny what is wrong with our lives. We can’t decide what is left of our right to silence our remains,” he snarls, dripping venomous strands of saliva through every gland of his body.

Sid Wilson attacks his samples with an eclectic precision that takes this song into another dimension, while Taylor exorcises whatever demons have settled in. An invocation of sorts towards the end of the song adds a sense of foreboding on a sonic plain, before quickening footsteps over an eery score announce Yen.

This song kicks back the pace considerably but is all the more welcome for it. Despite the title suggesting otherwise, Yen makes no mention of Japanese currency but instead spawns the words “when my death begins, I wanna know that I was dying for you.”

This man has obviously had his share of bad luck over the years to be able to continually draw from the well of pain and sorrow and Yen has an underlying menacing heaviness that proves heavy music isn’t all about fast guitars and thundering drums.

Wilson again shows off his talents throughout Yen, adding more layers upon what is already an in depth experience.

I never thought I would admit this but Slipknot are still masters of the metal realm even when singing at a level and consistency my Christian ex-wife could appreciate.

Hivemind starts with a blast of confusion, the swirling musical score increasing and decreasing in tempo before exploding with a killer guitar riff that splutters to life before shredding into prominence as Taylor lets out his trademark scream that lets you know something devastating is about to happen.

Gang vocals punctuate proceedings as Taylor spits venom into the eyes of his oppressors. A clean chorus acts as a temporary respite before the tidal wave of guitar mixed with drums and samples turns into a sweeping tsunami of sonic destruction with more anger-fuelled gang vocals backing up their frontman.

Clever use of atmospherics towards the end of the song threaten a last minute change in intensity but thankfully Taylor is still pissed at whoever inspired this one and he carries that anger into Warranty when he demands “Isn’t this what you came here for?”

I’m not sure if he is asking me directly, but I find myself nodding in acknowledgment just in case.

I’m not sure if Slipknot’s Warranty is still valid after 20+ years in the industry, but I’m fucked if I would call them out on it after listening to this song.

Despite a couple of slower paced songs to this point, I am still enjoying The End, So Far as much as, if not more than my first aural discovery of the band on their self-titled album.

Big call I know and you don’t have to agree.

But you will.

Medicine For The Dead arrives with a more atmospheric and gradual sense of caution, almost like an ominous warning in a movie where you know the killer is going to materialize from nowhere and plunge his knife deep into your throat.

Thankfully the lights are still on so I’m not scared but the killer does arrive, albeit minus his tools of destruction. They are instead replaced by an amalgamation of instruments not normally associated with this brand of metal (fucked if I know what they are but they work) but somehow manage to co-exist with the madness on a musical realm.

Taylor is back in clean mode here, but at a running time of over six minutes you just know his throat is going to get a workout at any time. Which it does.

Most of the band’s songs with cleans are structured around harsh versus with a clean chorus but Medicine For The Dead opts for the opposite angle and emerges triumphant for that minor alteration alone.

Acidic tees off next and by virtue of the title alone promises to be a deep burner.

Alien type noises dominate early proceedings and I find myself hoping an anal probe is not in my immediate future…

A mass of guitars seems to scare the aliens off before Taylor surprises again by launching into a blues type vocal swagger that I’m pretty sure I have only heard him deploy on rare occasions.

What’s more is it works. You can almost picture the other eight members of the band glaring at him during the recording of these tracks, subconsciously willing him to snap into his angry pills but he doesn’t seem to notice.

Or care.

The guitar work is actually very fucken good in Acidic, tapping into even more sides of Slipknot’s personality that have lain dormant all these years.

This is a beautifully structured song that ebbs and flows with precision, held together by haunting melodies provided both vocally and instrumentally. Nu-Blues-Metal. Is that even a thing? It is now and if you disagree you have 18 fists headed in your direction so watch what you think or say.

Heirloom begins with scratchings and guitars that warm up the landscape for Taylor to get his rock back on with what I am predicting will end up as the radio friendly hit track from the album.

Not saying it’s awesome, but it has all of the right ingredients that necessitate the ability to be a metal/crossover radio band, and let’s face it, every album these days has one of those.

Wicked guitar solos make me eat my words a touch but I doubt even raw guitar could take the radio out of this one.

H377, whatever the fuck that stands for, is up next and seems to be another invitation to an alien species judging from the space-inspired swirling of music that attacks from every angle before Taylor is joined by a gang vocal support network that soon fades into the background as he finds something else to vent his anger at.

“I know the reaper is a liar” he sneers, almost challenging the very notion of death. I know who I have my money on…

I wonder if H377 is new age talk for Hell? It makes sense, or at least as much sense as the whole spelling things with numbers the kids these days class as artistic flair.

I’m more old school. Spell it how it sounds. Who has time to decipher numbers into words these days anyway?

The guitars in this are more on the rock side of metal and sound wicked. As a matter of point, the guitars have been outstanding over the whole album but when your two string playing demons are consistently as great as Root and Thompson sometimes these things are expected and therefore not as appreciated.

De Sade rounds the home straight, coming second last and the dreamily dreary intro allows me time to google what this pairing of words actually means.

To the best of my detective abilities, I came up with an old movie that centers around “a fictionalized biography of the world’s most celebrated sexual and physical pervert, who was infamous for his erotic behavior – going from woman to woman, seeking a love that eluded him.”

Sounds about right. This song seems to be from the viewpoint of someone who enjoys the finer things in life and acts as a buffer between the intensity of the rest of the album and the serenity that is surely to act as a bookend. It still rocks like fuck too.

Finale is a fitting name for both a collection of songs and for an album called The End, So Far. If there’s one thing Taylor and Clown – the two main architects of Slipknot – are, it’s meticulous and calculated.

Taylor attempts to clear the confusion in his own way by singing “I know it’s a shame, but I gotta stay, because I like it here.”

This track is indeed a bookend to the calm that opens the album and again I find myself letting go of the expectation that heavy bands have to play heavy music exclusively. This song is much more on the pleasant side of the fence, although the guitars often threaten to drag it more to the dark side.

It is, significantly, a very Slipknot way to end what is very much a Slipknot album.

It might not maintain the rage every step of the way, but what it does do is showcase the undoubted talents and abilities of each of the nine members that make up Slipknot both collectively and as a unit.

It is definitely more of a modern Slipknot sounding album but there is also enough to keep old school Maggots from rising up in rebellion.

As a massive Slipknot fan I will have to listen to The End, So Far a few more times to allow the full magnitude of its brilliance to fully digest but even after one listen I already know this is going right to the top of the class with their debut album and Iowa.

Which I didn’t know after only one listen of either of those…

Discover more like this on HEAVY:

Our Picks.

Get the HEAVY

Get the HEAVY Digi-Mag in-boxed weekly. 100% HEAVY / 0%SPAM.