Slipknot - .5: The Gray Chapter review



Reviewer:
8.2

367 users:
7.45
Band: Slipknot
Album: .5: The Gray Chapter
Release date: October 2014


01. XIX
02. Sarcastrophe
03. AOV
04. The Devil In I
05. Killpop
06. Skeptic
07. Lech
08. Goodbye
09. Nomadic
10. The One That Kills The Least
11. Custer
12. Be Prepared For Hell
13. The Negative One
14. If Rain Is What You Want
15. Override [bonus]
16. The Burden [bonus]


Last time Slipknot released a studio album, they still served as one of my primary conduits to the metal scene. As I am no longer 14, Slipknot's angst-and-unorthodox-percussion-heavy brand of nu/alt metal lacks the same gravitas it once had, but I still enjoy Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses and Slipknot from time to time. You might call me a bit of a lapsed fan, but I'm enough of one to give .5: The Gray Chapter a fighting chance.

"XIX" opens the album to a surprisingly auspicious start, a haunting, ragged dirge with a background of mysterious drones and samples that sounds like Johnny Hobo about to kill himself - reminiscent of "Prelude 3.0," but darker and stronger. Based on several of the previously-released songs, Slipknot obviously have other plans for the rest of the album, and while something like "The Negative One" certainly adheres to nu metal conventions even more rigidly than Slipknot's own past material, "XIX" demonstrates a capacity for much greater maturity and complexity in their songwriting. The surprising turn for Slipknot lasts only so far as the first minute of the next song, at which point the familiar face emerges. Vibrant and conversant percussion fill in the underbelly of the song, lounging next to the ichorous guitars; overtop, Corey Taylor alternates between raw screams and haunted cleans. The usual, though with more blastbeats than I recall.

The scene of popular metal has evolved in the time since Slipknot's last bout of relevance, but they have kept up with the kids; .5: The Gray Chapter features some of Slipknot's fastest and most aggressive songs to date. Of course, there are also the characteristic moments of brooding murkiness, but as a whole Slipknot give the impression that they have undergone some manner of stylistic growth. This album emphasizes atmosphere and melody a lot more than previous efforts, with more prominent bass than ever before, occasional clean backing vocals, and a great deal more attention paid to the songs' backdrops. "Lech" and "Custer" still lack much to offer outside the realms of profound and sometimes cringe-worthy boredom, but "The Devil In I" and "The Negative One" benefit extraordinarily from being placed in the context of the album, and "Goodbye" continues the more thoughtful approach to songwriting of "XIX." Overall, this album sounds like a welcome blend of Slipknot's strongest Iowa and Vol 3 material with some new tactics and an increased musical awareness. Sure, Slipknot was never a one-trick pony, and they frequently mixed up their song templates and moods, but this time around feels as though they have progressed.

Even at the time of its release I found that All Hope Is Gone leaves something to be desired; I felt both that Slipknot had lost their distinguishing characteristics and the juvenile histrionics game was getting played-out. I expected very little from .5: The Gray Chapter, but it has proved itself to be a strong release, and might even win over some less-enthused observers. It appears that Slipknot are a more versatile and resilient band than I had anticipated.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 22.10.2014 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.

Guest review by
flightoficarus
Rating:
3.0
Let me preface this saying that I am a fan. Slipknot was the first metal album I listened to all the way through. I owe much of my progression into metal music to them, and I still listen to Slipknot and Iowa regularly.

The album opens with an interesting synth intro. It is very atmospheric. I'm immediately worried as I begin thinking about The Subliminal Verses instead of the throwbacks I had been told that this hearkened to. Corey comes in alone and raw. I have mixed feelings at first about his approach, but it grows on me and sucks me in. Unfortunately this is about as personal as Corey will sound for the remainder of the album. I once again realize that never again will we have another "742617000027" or "(515)".

Read more ››
published 16.11.2014 | Comments (25)


Comments

Comments: 12   Visited by: 445 users
22.10.2014 - 18:16
Rupert
Jesus you aren't joking about the being 14 part eh? Nice review, now on with the bashing people!
Loading...
22.10.2014 - 19:03
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Rupert on 22.10.2014 at 18:16

Jesus you aren't joking about the being 14 part eh? Nice review, now on with the bashing people!

Nope, I was actually 14 at the time (I say as if it were a long time ago). Right in the target audience.
----
Umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai

I'm the Agent of Steel.
Loading...
22.10.2014 - 20:00
WinterMadness
Ugh, they spelled grey wrong.
Loading...
22.10.2014 - 20:34
Risto
Wandering Midget
Written by WinterMadness on 22.10.2014 at 20:00

Ugh, they spelled grey wrong.

But not Gray...
Loading...
22.10.2014 - 21:32
Lit.
Account deleted
Well... label me surprised. Guess there's no reason for me to not check this out.
Loading...
22.10.2014 - 21:49
garmling
Account deleted
I indeed enjoy this album...sure there are some, at times, boring songs like "Skeptic", but as a whole, this thing works... Especially songs like "Burden", "if The Rains Is What You Want" and that NIN-like ballad "Killpop"....
Loading...
22.10.2014 - 22:10
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by WinterMadness on 22.10.2014 at 20:00

Ugh, they spelled grey wrong.

Both grey and gray are acceptable, but in this case they went with gray in memory of Paul.
----
Umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai

I'm the Agent of Steel.
Loading...
22.10.2014 - 22:50
Zap
Phlegmish
Written by WinterMadness on 22.10.2014 at 20:00

Ugh, they spelled grey wrong.

Yeah, and Mastodon spelled sky wrong. Both times were in memory of someone who went by that name though...
----
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
Loading...
24.10.2014 - 02:05
Opethian
The Gray Jordison Chapter sounds more appropriate lmao,
Loading...
24.10.2014 - 16:45
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
I am biding my time to post my review for this one. Slipknot's self titled was the first metal album I owned, and if it weren't for them I wouldn't be listening to the much heavier stuff I am into now. Even now, Slipknot and Iowa are both in my regular rotation. That being said, this is not a good album. With the amazing albums that have come out in the past few months, I can name at least 5 bands off the top of my head that are far more deserving of your hard-earned cash right now.
----
Daily underground metal recommendations at Metal Trenches.
Listen to the Trench Talk podcast.
Loading...
31.10.2014 - 18:18
s_t_s
Slipknot remains a mystery to my metal ears. I never paid attention to their reputation, yet I tried to listen to their albums. I really love Vol3 The Subliminal Verses maybe because it mixes soft and hard music with a lot of inspiration. This new chapter sounds like a direct sequel and I feel the same vibe, hence a must get for me !
Loading...
31.10.2014 - 18:26
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by s_t_s on 31.10.2014 at 18:18

Slipknot remains a mystery to my metal ears. I never paid to their reputation, yet I tried to listen to their albums. I really love Vol3 The Subliminal Verses maybe because it mixes soft and hard music with a lot of inspiration. This new chapter sounds like a direct sequel and I feel the same vibe, hence a must get for me !

That seems to be the case; this sounds more like Vol. 3 than any of their other albums, so if you liked that one, you'll probably enjoy this. I consider them to be Slipknot's two best albums.
----
Umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai

I'm the Agent of Steel.
Loading...

Hits total: 8311 | This month: 6