Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Slipknot .5: The Gray Chapter - Track by Track Review

.5: The Gray Chapter
Track by Track Review by Grownman

Ominous opener that sounds a hell of a lot like something off Nine Inch Nail’s Downward Spiral. Corey Taylor’s vocals over an eerie synth warble is definitely a departure from the signature in your face style of the band’s previous efforts.

A slow start transitions into signature “IOWA” era ‘Knot.
The bouncy groove, march step percussion and Taylor’s earlier style of vocals definitely hearken back to the bands first major label album. That said, something is missing. Maybe it’s the immediacy of that first album. It’s trying too hard to be pissed off or maybe it’s a more mature intensity that doesn’t feel as dangerous as it did back then. Or maybe as a fan I’m expecting more.

This is a good tune. The old meets the new on this. Slower tune that finds itself in the groove. Taylor’s variation between clean singing and rapid delivery is sure to grab the Stone Sour fans. The band’s musicianship is excellent and the departure of Jordison is barely noticed. Hell this guy may even have more range.

The Devil In I
Still not totally sold on this tune. I think it’ll be a tune I’ll have to listen to quite a bit in context with the rest of the album. I’m personally not a fan of listening to singles too much before an album. This fits more with their last album that’s for certain.
As much as Taylor denies this is about Jordison, this is about Jordison.

On first listen, I’m really bored about the opening of this song. The lounge style singing seems to be a set up for harsher moments and I feel like they should just cut the sh*t and get onto it. Maybe this song will wear on me but so far I’m gonna forget this one real quick.

Another Iowa’esque track. I like the tempo of the track, the vocals sound a bit same’ish. I’m longing for a chorus I can sing along with or just some type of hook. Instead most of the song goes absolutely nowhere until the somewhat bouncy chorus shows up.

Promising start. The track has it’s moments but I’m starting to feel like a broken record. Nothing new and not as good as what they’ve done in the past. Feeling like the band wrote this coming off some really tough times in their life and could’ve benefited from a longer break. Less is more and this is too much.

Ballad. Fans will be pissed. Song about the band’s chemistry and their will to overcome their own issues. Hmm…as a fan, I can’t stand when bands sing about themselves.

This is the companion piece to Goodbye. Sounds quite a bit like Eyeless with some clean singing parts. Lyrics “I need you to hate me”….as a long time fan, songs like this are tempting me.

The One That Kills the Least
A mixture of sincere clean vocals and then more of the tempered yet angry vocals off the last album. Slipknot trying to sound like Slipknot but not that Slipknot.

Brutal tune that finally breaks out of the conventional sound that the rest of the album is falling into. It’s edgy and dangerous.

Be Prepared for Hell
A brief interlude with disturbing talking and hints of laughter.

The Negative One
Hands down best song on the album. A reminder that the band can still kick ass with the intensity of their youthful selves. Whatever they were doing when they wrote this, they should do a lot more of. It’s so good that it makes the rest of the album pale in comparison.

If Rain is What You Want
Taylor sounds a bit like Bowie with his delivery. The song is a good tune to go out on.  They scale back on so much of the noise and cut right to the chase. It’s moody without being sappy. A song that finally takes a moment to breath and showcase the talents of the band rhythmically without being so over the top. Not at any point do I compare this sound to Stone Sour or old Slipknot. I hope this is foreshadowing of what’s to come once they grow into the new members and shed the skin of the old.


Overall this is an inconsistent album. The majority of tracks lack a balance between where they've been and where they are now as a band.  Yes, this is the most aggressive they've sounded in years but it comes at a price more times than not.  I thoroughly enjoyed 4 tracks out of 14.

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