All Hope Is Gone
by Danny Montana
Such is the secrecy surrounding Slipknot’s fourth full-length album, All Hope Is Gone, the review CDs went off to the pressing plant under the false name of Rusty Cage to avoid any early leaks onto the Internet. This is a top secret operation.
As with their regularly-changed masks and outfits, Slipknot clearly like a bit of ceremony about their work and so this all fits perfectly. Luckily, there is just about enough to celebrate on AHIG for all the cloak and dagger treatment to be appropriate.
There is no doubting that this album will be massive. Starting at the commotion about their new masks, the slow-burning marketing campaign has seen two great singles released already (‘All Hope Is Gone’ and ‘Psychosocial’) before the album lands, the day after their appearance at Reading & Leeds festivals, over two months later.
Their competition for the accolade of #1 UK album is The Verve. Both bands have pedigree with hitting the top spot after Iowa flew in there after Reading 2001. It’s going to be a close one.
The important thing when listening to All Hope Is Gone is to note how Slipknot have grown over the past decade.
‘.execute/Gematria’ is a classic opening track. It immediately makes you feel like you’re listening to Slipknot. There are sampled speeches and crazy bleeping bits building a massive sense of expectation before all the drama. And how much drama.
Watch the video to ‘Psychosocial’ by Slipknot
While their eponymous full debut is a relentless slab of brutal metal and Iowa showed a desire to be even more obnoxious, 2005’s Vol 3: (The Subliminal Verses) displayed their melodic tendencies alongside the unruly commotion, especially in Corey Taylor’s vocals.
This is much more evident in AHIG. There are a couple of actual ballads; love songs even. Neither the next single of ‘Dead Memories’ or the whole-heartedly soppy ‘Snuff’ quite fit in with the true Slipknot identity, to be honest. They’re good songs… if you’re listening to a Stone Sour album.
Thank the heavens then for songs like ‘Butcher’s Hook’ and ‘This Cold Black’. Acting as the gnarled, crusty bread which is sandwiching the soft, slow-cooked, honey-cured ham of ‘Gehenna’ those two tracks are quite simply put, fantastic.
While it’s unlikely that ‘Butcher’s Hook’ is harking back to some still-in-use Cockney rhyming slang, the Meshuggah-style polyrhythm madness adds a complexity and a willing to play unorthodox songs that Slipknot haven’t really shown before.
Watch the video to ‘Duality’ by Slipknot
‘This Cold Black’ on the other hand, is equally brutal but goes back to their more nu-metal days with some squealing riffs which invoke memories of Korn. When they were really good. It’s a vicious, snarling track which will make you sit up.
The vocals are still very much in the teenage angst vein. Even when Corey’s almost certainly referring to issues in the wider world, he dresses them up in a way that everyone can relate to. More often than not, however, his lyrics are easily clever enough to make an impact.
The fact of the matter is that Slipknot are well and truly back. By and large, this is unquestionably a Slipknot album, in both style and delivery. Even whilst delving into unwelcome and unconvincing sappy territory.
The question you’ll be asking while you listen to All Hope Is Gone is which bit of Slipknot are you going to get next and will it be enough?
For an in-depth, track-by-track review of All Hope Is Gone, visit our friends at The Quietus.
All Hope Is Gone by Slipknot is released on 25 August 2008 through Roadrunner Records