Slipknot – .5: The Scary Skeleton Chapter

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[Joe Note: Did Lamb of God design this image, Jimmy??]

I like Slipknot. In high school I thought their self-titled was a game-changer. In college I purchased IOWA on the day of release and struggled to like it as much as the first one (side note: in the IOWA booklet it says that the numerical value of PI equals 22/7… this is not correct). After college I purchased Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses and to this day I still consider it to be in the top 20 metal albums of all time (I remember a feature article in Rolling Stone in which Corey Taylor admitted that Vol. 3 would be Pink Floyd-ish in nature…he wasn’t entirely incorrect). During my first post-college job, I gave All Hope Is Gone an honest listen and found it to be Stone Sour; three good songs, the rest were pure toilet fodder.

I want to review this album as a Slipknot “fan”, or at least somebody who still respects their back catalog, regardless of relevancy. If we can all agree on one thing, it’s that every individual member of Slipknot (guitars, bass, drums, vocals) is VERY talented. I don’t care if it hurts you to listen to some of their material, those musicians be talented. Oh yeah, and there are those other guys in the band who do nothing and collect portions of revenue! We won’t talk about them. So Slipknot is here to re-assure the metal world that they’re still amazing and relevant. *Clears throat*, sorry about that. These fellows are older than I am (33). Can they prove to the modern metal world that Slipknot is something that we all desire?

No.

It would be irresponsible of me to stop the review after that last paragraph. So here we go! The album starts off with an intro track – as they cannot do without – and does a good job of showing their lyrical skills “So walk with me… walk with me… don’t let the symbolism kill your heart… walk with me… walk with me… just like we should have done right from the start… walk with me… walk with me… don’t let this fucking world tear you apart”. Dang Corey, this is far beyond the days of old (“If you’re 555, I’m 666!  What’s it like to be a heretic?”).  Okay after this intro is over, we get…

“Sarcastrophe”! Here we go with the Slipknot of old: blistering thrash-esque riffs, maniacal drumming, blastbeats and percussion guys, anthemic choruses, and a truly tasteful guitar solo. Good bridge, good comedown. This is a SOLID Slipknot track. This might satisfy fans and non-fans alike.

“AOV”:  holy heck, that Soilwork riff!  The new drummer is good, not Joey Jordison good; but he’ll fit. Man, it feels good to be an old fan of Sli– WHOA, what’s up with this chorus?  What does it all mean? “Approaching original violence…”  Geez, I thought we quit the All Hope Is Gone Formula; was I wrong? Yes, yes I was. FLUSH.

“The Devil In I” – This is a horrible fucking song with slow, ambient verses and Stone Sour choruses. Aaaaaaaaaaand here’s where I finish with the track-by-track comparison.

The band tries too hard with this album, the angst is COMPLETELY forced with pockets of useless cursing thrown in for teenage measure. But here’s the strangest thing about the album: their ballads (“Killpop”, “Goodbye”, and the first half of “If Rain Is What You Want”) are GREAT.  Like Vol. 3 great. So what we have is a disappointing album containing the following: a few fantastically stellar riffs, bass lines, and solos the likes of which we aren’t used to hearing from Slipknot (Listen to the second half of Lech, or the bridges on Custer… these guys do know good metal when they hear it). Could this have been a great album? Yes! Yet somebody decided to snip this album’s balls and destroy everything that could have been beautiful, everything that could have brought us back to high school. Every good, fast-paced Slipknot song gets COAL ROLLED by a sing/songy chorus. I’m glad they’ll make some money off this thing; but these flushers will never know the feel of being a respected metal band.

The album feels manufactured. It’s half “let’s be as angry as we used to be” and half “every song needs a catchy chorus”. It’s not as flush-worthy as a FFDP or Avenged Sevenfold album, yet every now and then I’ll queue up .5: The Scary Skeleton Chapter and find myself banging my head… and hoping that Christian Molenaar doesn’t catch me!

Slipknot – .5: The Scary Skeleton Chapters gets 22/7 or …

*FLUSH*!!!

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  • I was happily already “too old/too busy starting a family” to get excited about Slipknot when they first emerged. I don’t think they suck per se but I’ve no regrets about “missing out.”

    • their sound does a great job of dating itself. you’re not missing a thing JAG!

    • Max

      Nor I. I’ll say this though: Having since listened to the self-titled to see what all the fuss was about back then, I can’t hear how their sound really warranted having nine musicians. I’m pretty sure you could do it with five. I guess the excessive personnel was all part of the schtick about how “crazy” they were.

      • two of the guys beat on large hollow drums.
        one of the guy plays samples.
        one of the guys plays keyboards.
        … then there’s those other five expendable musicians of which you speak

        • Max

          Yeah, but when I listened to it, I somehow didn’t really notice that stuff. I mean, is the sampling guy playing stuff all the way through a song? From what I remember, none of their songs were built around a loop or anything; so could he not have assumed the duties of the keyboardist as well?

          As for the timpani guys – well, that’s called putting a bit of reverb on the floor tom. Or why not just set up all the additional percussion at the front of the stage and get the punters to have a go?

          Maybe they should’ve released alternate mixes of the songs with the “expendable” musicians muted out so I could pay attention to how much the others were contributing. I distinctly remember thinking that it sounded pretty much like regular rock band format with a few sound effects here and there.

          But to each their own.

          • Bucket ‘o Blood

            One of the timpani guys has played a field/military snare (the kind marching bands use these days, that have a really high-pitched crack) and the other has played “junk perc”, which usually amounts to oil drums or trash cans.
            I want to see them use mallet perc some time. Marimbas don’t get enough love.

          • Max

            I’ll admit I probably haven’t put as much thought into a critical appraisal of Slipknot as I ought to if I’m going to dismiss them like this. I hope nobody’s taking offence!

            But, based on the one album that I listened to, I will say that if Slipknot actually wrote their music based around keyboard lines, turntables, marching percussion, and “found objects” percussion to as great an extent as they write it around guitar riffs, I’m pretty sure it would sound quite compositionally different to what it sounded and played like on that record. It certainly wouldn’t have fallen so easily into the nu-metal category.

          • Bucket ‘o Blood

            I believe that that’s more a testament to their use of writing for a metal band, disregarding their instrumentation, rather than writing for a metal band and a mixed percussion ensemble. From what I understand, the perc dudes just improvise everything, which leads to the oil drums and the high timpano doubling the snare drum, and the low timpano doubling the bass drums. Sure, it creates a nice thick texture, but there are a lot of lost opportunities.
            That being said, their perc dudes aren’t Blue Devils-level virtuosi.

          • hey Max (guy from Dune and Sex and the City), i was being funny with my comment. you are 100% correct, this band needs only five members.

          • Max

            Sorry, dude! I misread your intent. Not that I was put out by your comment or anything. Good article, BTW.

  • Tyree

    I’m the drummer for Slipknot. Now show me your boobies.

  • God

    Woo! I knew I couldn’t be the only cunting lifelover to enjoy slipknot.

  • Death

    Great review Jimmy! I’ve never really liked Slipknot, but I think that Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. had some good things.

    • i had to do something about which you’d approve, and this was my best!

      • Death

        Luv u bby

  • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

    Good one Cyro…JImmy! Last listened to the Knot when AHIG came out, I liked it good. Don’t know what struck, but I consider all of it horrible now.

    • hehe, thanks bear! if you do the math, it would come out to 3.14 (and a bunch of numbers that aren’t PI). but the album is more like a 4/5 FLUSHES!

      • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

        Today I’d Flush ‘Em All, with C. Burton on the toilet brush (in case it gets clogged).

  • DEVASTATE WIMPS AND OBLITERATE POSERS WITH AN IRON NUKLEAR ATOMIK HOLOCAUSTICAL FIST https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjwrVkq1vC8

  • JWG

    I prefer this (demo) Album with a Skeleton on the Cover:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4Sy-qa9Jd4

    Live version of another track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UhaOjMnsg0

    Sadly, they haven’t recorded a thing since 2005, and though still technically “active” their vocalist is off doing his thing in (drumroll with weedly-deedlies please) ARCHSPIRE.

    …So I’m not holding my breath for more than that demo. Or any more live gigs…

    • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

      Archspire is fine, good even. Bit idk, I may have liked this better.

  • Xan

    Good write-up. Flushworthy album.

  • KJM

    I saw Slipknot 3 times(Ozzfest 2001 twice, Ozzfest 2004). All I can say is that they did well live and I wasn’t bored which is more than I can say for about 80% of the bands I’ve seen at Ozzfests, especially 2001.

  • Tyree

    • Fishing for Metalheads

      Nicely done, sir.

  • Gurp

    I decided to start abusing my dog today.

    • Tyree

      I’M NOT GOING TO HAVE TO GET JOHN WICK ON YOUR ASS AM I?

      • Gurp

        NO KEANU, YOU’RE TOO OLD!

      • Tyree stop shouting, I’m getting noise complaints.

    • Death

      This comment was scary without the picture.

    • Gurp

      Why is the image all sideways? Wut?

    • OMG i love pits!

      • Guacamole Jim
        • Death

          Oh…

        • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

          HotHotHotHot….

        • MOM???

        • PrincePoopyPanties

          Lady Gaga’s new Vogue photo shoot?

          • Guacamole Jim

            #naturalartpop

      • Gurp

        The best, eva! Though I have to keep the fact that he part pit on the DL, as the city I live in has some rather harsh restrictions on owning what they deem to be “vicious dogs.”

        • crazytaco_12

          Wow, that’s fucking bullshit. Can’t believe how ignorant people can be about animals.

          • Gurp

            Yeah, it sucks. Especially since I live in a more upscale neighborhood where most people would conceivably have enough class to treat their dogs well enough that folks wouldn’t worry about getting their faces bitten off.

    • Lord Ov Kapsko

      Snap son, your dog is ripped! Do you feed him with vinstrol?

      • it stuffed me in a locker

      • Gurp

        Naw, I just walk him twice a day and let him chase squirrels in the back yard.

        • Lord Ov Kapsko

          I do the same with my pekingneese and he doesn’t even look half as good as your dog, dog!

          • Gurp

            Then he must be shooting up steroids behind my back…

    • PrincePoopyPanties

      Goddamn, his bottom half is built like Cloverfield!

  • upper deck this toilet and then flush it

    Edit: then flush slipknot

  • FeelTheDarkness

    Nope

  • Guacamole Jim

    I shamelessly love nu-metal, but Slipknot was never my jam. This album was no exception. Good write up though!!

    • Death

      I can forgive your love of nu-metal because of Magma.

      • Guacamole Jim

        We now have an eternal bond because of Magma.

        And cross country skiing.

        • Death

          I hate skiing. Magma bonds us.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Damn man! Is there anything you love besides Magma and corgis?

          • Snow

          • Death

            Do you happen to like Univers Zero?

          • Guacamole Jim

            I DO NOW. This is dope!! It’s pretty Zeuhl-esque.

          • Death

            Zeuhl and RIO are both in the more avant-garde side of prog. Heresie is a fucking classic album.

          • Guacamole Jim

            Just purchased Heresie. This is unreal. I really, really like this.

          • Death

            You, my friend, have done a good thing!

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            Wow, this is… huh. Pretty fricken good!

          • Death

            Jack the Ripper is an amazing song.

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            Will check after Dense, La Faulx stops

          • Death

            La Faulx is an excellent choice. Both are from the same album, which is one of the most unflushable albums ever.

          • Lacertilian

            Dense sounds like a film score without the film!
            Thanks Death.

          • hatred.

    • Tyree
      • Guacamole Jim

        I’ll let you guess which one of those bands I hate, and which one I still love.

        • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

          Korn, you love? Everyone does. Right?

          • Death

            Everyone?

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            Except mua, yes
            Edit: okay, I did like them once upon a time. Haven’t listened to them in aeons, so who knows I may still enjoy them.

          • I was under the impression korn is far from the everyone loves this category

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            You have been fooled, fool

          • Whatever, nordling lifelover

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            I have said this before, and will repeat on numerous occasions still.
            “Trve Finnish Posevr Metal! since 1927

          • Guacamole Jim

            WRONG

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            No one, ever liked Limp dickshit

          • You mean Pimp Limpskin?

          • Nordling Rites Ov Karhu

            Could be, are they any bad

          • Hmmm 6/10 missed potential. Needs improvement. See me after class on Thursday.

          • dang text message ain’t going through >:(
            rocky horror is playing tonight at midnight at Ballpark Village. i’m probably going to head up there for it. join!!!

          • Sounds good! I’ll text you when I get out there, We’ll probably still be there by that time.

          • Lacertilian

            I thought it was internationally recognised as Limp Dickzit?
            and also Shitsnot.

        • i still like Three Dollar Bill Y’All.

        • KJM

          I liked Korn enough back then to see them 3 times, all in 1998 during the ‘follow the leader’ era. I’ve always hated Limp Bizkit.

  • I like slipknots older stuff somewhat but the production on this album is absolutely awful, I tried to like it but it wasn’t meant to be. On the other hand, great review sir!

    • Further Down the Metal Hole

      Not happy with the production myself, the guitars sound really weak to my ears.

  • Simon Phoenix

    Well I certainly am not surprised this album sucks.

    Good review McNulty.

  • crazytaco_12

    I’m glad you did this review. I thought it was extremely fair and I’m glad to get a fan perspective and not just some troo kvlt douchebag’s baseless and biased rantings on why they hate Slipknot. I don’t know Slipknot too well in all honesty, but I’ve heard enough of their stuff to know they aren’t all bad, and get a lot of unnecessary shit flung their way.

    • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

      The self-titled and IOWA are pretty good.

  • Scrimm

    BANGING YOUR HEAD TO SLIPKNOT? FUCKING PUSSY BRO.

  • Further Down the Metal Hole

    Well, as a fan I’ll say that I like this album more than their last. I agree about using too many silly curse words and singing choruses where they sometimes don’t fit (I’m not against them by default), but overall I think they did a better job this time round.

    Also, as Jack Bauer pointed out, the production isn’t satisfactory, I for instance am really not happy with the guitars, they’re awfully quiet at times.

  • Stockhausen

    FIRST

  • Óðhinn

    ~~

  • Óðhinn

    “`