R.I.P Ronnie James Dio
Unabletothinkofname's Unable To Shut Up #2
Full Review: Slipknot: Slipknot (10th Anniversary Edition)
How To Buy: Doom/Stoner/Drone
Playlist: (Now changed, instead what I'm listening to this month)
Mini-Review:: Cancer Bats: Mayors, Bears, Scraps And Bones
Slipknot exploded onto the nu-metal scene in 1999, dethroning the reigning monarchs Limp Bizkit from their throne and giving the tired scene a serious jolt up the arse. 11 years on, does the album still have the power it did when it was first released?
I only just picked up the recently (well...late last year) reissued 10th anniversary edition of the album, so I felt it was a good time to revisit this album.
The various members of Slipknot:
Top 3: Sid Wilson, Joey Jordinson, Paul Gray
Middle 3: Chris Fehn, Jim Root, Craig Jones
Bottom 3: Shawn Crahan, Mick Thomson, Corey Taylor
Formed originally in the early 90's by core members Shawn "Clown" Crahan (drums) and Paul Gray (bass), Slipknot underwent a number of line-up changes and further additions over the years, the first of which was Joey Jordinson (drums, while Crahan switched to percussion), soon followed by Craig Jones (samples). The band soon began adding these electronic samples to their work, but were unable to reproduce them live-thus Jones moved from guitar to samples. After recruiting remaining members Chris Fehn (percussion), Mick Thomson (guitar), Sid Wilson (DJ/electronics) and snaring vocalist Corey Taylor and second guitarist Jim Root from local band Stone Sour, they entered the studio to record Slipknot-and the rest, as they say, is history. Slipknot have gone on to be the biggest metal band of the decade, selling out arenas and stadiums around the world and selling over 14 million records. Infamous for allegedly inspiring a number of crimes/suicides and their masked, overalled image, the combination of controversy and fucking awesome heavy metal have combined to make Slipknot one of the best-loved metal bands since the genre's 80's heyday.
I did the unfortunate thing of listening this album and the band as a whole far too much until I got entirely tired of them and could barely listen to them-and it's been a good 5 months since I was listening to them regularly. However the squealing intro to 72460000127 still felt very familiar, as well as the voice repeating "The whole thing I think it's sick..." The relative quiet of the album's first 37 seconds then gives way to the pounding chaos of (Sic), and the newly remixed version brings out the electronic squall and clanking percussion out of the original's raw, but muddy mix.
Eyeless comes next, my personal favourite song on the record, showcasing (as with the rest of the record) the almost primally raw vocals-no breathing noises removed, gasps and coughs intact, increasing the psychotic sound of Corey Taylor's already crazed vocal performance (the gasped/shrieked "I'm hearing voices but all they do is complain" is a particularly good example of this). Next is the more restrained Wait And Bleed, the more melodic side of Taylor's voice on display (often cited as his best vocal performance) and it manages to be one of Slipknot's defining melodic/aggressive moments in under 3 minutes.
Then there's the murderous naked misanthropy of Surfacing, the crazed nu-metal satire of Spit It Out, both as furious and crushing as they are danceable, and both great tracks in their own right, and that's one of the most impressive features of this debut, especially considering it's a metal album (ESPECIALLY considering it's a nu-metal album)-each one of the tracks has its own special identity, the electronics and percussion section really setting this band apart from their knuckle-dragging contemporaries- the echoey guitar sound may have been borrowed from Korn, but other than that, Slipknot sound like no-one but themselves.
A number of other great tracks follow-The incredibly creepy horror-atmosphere of Tattered And Torn, the thrashy Me Inside, and the dark, industrial-esque Prosthetics to name a few-before the vast, murderous fury of Scissors unfurls. With Taylor's last agonized roar at the end of the eight long minutes, the album ends.
...at least it would, if not for hidden track Eeyore (preceded by what is essentially a 2girls1cup reaction) and the host of bonus tracks that follow. The original album's 14-track sprawl are bolstered by an additonal 11 bonus tracks, including a largely scream-free remix of Wait And Bleed that somehow sounds even more intense than the original, as well as alternate mixes of Spit It Out (less on the roar and more on the bratty nu-metal spew, especially on the particularly nasal chorus) and (Sic), non-album single Interloper, and demos of Wait And Bleed, Interloper and two non-album tracks Despise and Snap, as well as the long-lost Purity, a groovy, industrial-flecked track about an alleged true story of a girl buried alive.
To answer my above question, yes, Slipknot is still the vital and furious abdominal blow it was all those years ago. For an album spawned from a now-despised scene, that's pretty darn impressive.
For Fans Of: Trivium, In Flames.
3 Slipknot Classics
Wait And Bleed (Slipknot, 1999)
Left Behind (Iowa, 2001)
Duality (Vol. 3, 2003)
How To Buy:
Slow, druggy and bowel-threateningly heavy, doom, stoner and noise are among the most obscure metal genres, rarely listened to by the average metal fan, but those who do are often fanatics (See everyone's favourite Irishman Furburt, for example), and it's produced some gems (as has every metal genre). Here's a brief guide of what to get.
Massively heavy while retaining filthy groove.
Electric Wizard: Dopethrone(2000)
The world's most weed-addled band hit the paydirt on their 3rd LP: Come My Fanatics from 3 years previous was hailed as a masterpiece, but this cemented their reputation as the heaviest band on earth. From the drugged-up apocalypse of Funeralopolis to We Hate You's dark misanthropy, Dopethrone is a beast of a record, and one you need in your collection.
Sleep: Sleep's Holy Mountain (1992)
Represting the lighter, more Sabbathian side of doom, Sleep's second LP was never bettered by the band (the posthumous Dopesmoker is great...but it's too fucking much!) Of course they were drugged off their faces and they sound exactly like Sabbath, but who cares with songs as great as Dragonaut, The Druid and Nain's Baptism? As Furburt once told me, "any album that unironically includes the line "I believe the signs of the reptile master!" is a classic."
Pentagram: Day Of Reckoning
80's Doom metal was an odd beast, it had almost no publicity, and was pushed aside in favour of thrash and hair metal, but was a vital influence on the stoner metal boom of the 90's. Pentagram and St. Vitus were at the forefront of the scene.
Pentagram was in fact formed in 1971, but didn't release their first album, Relentless, until 1985, an astonishing 14 year wait. Relentless was a good album, but their follow up, Day Of Reckoning, was even better. It had essentially the same sound as Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer, but this was just more of a good thing, especially since Black Sabbath had almost totally stagnated around that time, and the Ozzy/ Iomni doom brilliance of the heyday was gone. Pentagram pounds their way through 7 tracks, the best being Broken Vows, which has a brilliant vocal by Bobby Liebling. While not particularly original, Day Of Reckoning is well made, well played and full of feeling. A must for any Sabbath fan. By Furburt
The druggier, more cheerful side of these heavy musics.
Kyuss: Blues For The Red Sun
Yeah, yeah, we all know Josh Homme from QOTSA, but frustratingly few know him from the band that really kick-started (along with Sleep) the stoner metal movement. From the opening bounce of Thumb all the way through drugged-up epics 50 Million Year Trip and Freedom Run, Blues is a classic.
Acrimony: Tumali Shoomaroom (1996)
Hailing from Wales, not traditionally known for its stoner metal heritage, Acrimony eschew the more doom focused end of stoner metal for the lighter, faster, but still heavy groovy licks of bands like Kyuss and Cathedral. Their first album, Hymns To The Stone, was a disappointment, but this album released in 1996, rises above that to become one of the best stoner metal albums of all time. Imbued with intense grooves, layered with effects, and with lyrics telling of mystical eastern experiences, this is one of the essential stoner albums of the mid 90's boom. The songs Million Year Summer, Find The Path and Motherslug especially. By Furburt
Sunn O))): Monoliths And Dimensions (2009)
Heavy. Heavy heavy heavy heavy heavy heavy heavy. Initially a prank, Sunn O)))'s (pronounced Sunnnnnnnn........) crushing drone reached a zenith on their most recent effort-featuring choirs, horn sections and conch shells, as well as guest spots from Mayhem's Attila Csihar and countless others from many genres,Monolith took 2 years to make and its four tracks clock in at nearly an hour, the epic Hunting And Gathering being the album's most magnificent piece, and recently earning the title of "Heaviest Song Ever".
In the 90's, doom fractured into many different scenes. Bands like Sleep, Electric Wizard and Acid King became known as Stoner metal, bands like Eyehategod and Crowbar became Sludge, bands like Disembowellment became Death Doom, and so forth. Another development was that of Drone Doom, or simple Drone metal. Favouring extremely tuned down guitars, slow as hell tempos and insane heaviness, this sub-genre was pioneered by the bands Earth and Boris, who drew their inspiration from the music of The Melvins.
Boris' debut was the mammoth album Absolutego. Hardly even an album, it consisted of one song of the same name, that goes on for over an hour. It's probably one of the heaviest songs ever recorded, and in places, it's almost unlistenable due to the crushing feedback. It's most definitely not for the casual listener, it demands to be listened to in one go. It's the album that really set Drone metal off, and despite its length, it's actually a good introduction. Bands such as Sunn O))) would take most of their inspiration from this album.
So, if you have a spare hour, it's most definitely worth a listen.By Furburt
What I'm assaulting my ears and everyone's around me with this month.
Early Grave: Architects (Hollow Crown, 2009)
Great bit of juddering, math-flavoured metalcore, abrasive and anthemic at the same time.
Last Drop Falls: Sonata Arctica (Silence, 2001)
Yeah, whatever, it's corny, cheesy, cliche, crap, whatever! I love metal power ballads and they don't come much better than this golden oldie from the Finnish power metallers.
Needled 24-7: Children of Bodom (Hate Crew Deathroll, 2003)
My 3 favourite metal genres are thrash, power and black. Pity there's no-one that-oh, wait, Bodom. Blackened power thrash? Hell yes!
Walk With Me In Hell: Lamb Of God (Sacrament, 2006)
Anthemic without any sort of pop nous or chorus, this is spine-crushingly heavy while retaining its catchiness with its dark, nihilistic riff and call-to-arms lyrics.
Farewell, Mona Lisa and Widower: The Dillinger Escape Plan (Option Paralaysis, 2010)
The most recent release I'm listening to this month, the new album from the mathcore masters is every bit as contorted and abrasive as 2007's Ire Works, these two standout tracks sound like Faith No More colliding with a high-brow Hatebreed on the former, while the latter's 7 piano-led minutes are as mesmerising as they are crushing.
Fear Factory: Zero Signal (Demanufacture, 1995)
Since I got Mechanize early this year these guys have become one of my favourite bands-check out this classic for the perfect mix of atmosphere electronics and speed-death brutality.
Cancer Bats: Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones
First things first: Bears isn't as good a record as 2008's awesome Hail Destroyer, boasting no real anthem like Deathsmarch, but on the whole, it's only a tiny few steps behind. Scared To Death, Dead Wrong and Black Metal Bicycle are usual killer Bats hardcore, but opener Sleep This Away's bong-tastic grooves may be incongrous, but damn if it doesn't work. Their reworking of the Beastie Boys' Sabotage made an awesome tune even better, and while not every track is perfect, who wants that from a hardcore album? Bears is great, and if you feel like a visceral record with a sense of fun, pick it up.
For Fans Of: Gallows, Hatebreed.
Reccomended Tracks: Sabotage, Dead Wrong.