Music: “Unsainted” by Slipknot (Roadrunner Records)

Above is the new music video for Slipknot‘s latest single, “Unsainted”. Taken from the upcoming album, We Are Not Your Kind, it’s really good. For me, it strongly calls to mind their earlier albums, and in some very good ways.

I’ve been following Slipknot since their eponymous debut, and before it had to be re-released without “Purity” (in the UK, at least). When I first saw them and those goofy masks I muttered, eyebrow raised, “What a fucking gimmick.” I also thought, “Why are there nine of them?” (I still wonder what the Clown provides, musically.) The first interview I read, in Kerrang! I think, was really weird: they weren’t letting vocalist Corey Taylor say anything. “Who are these nutbars?” It all just seemed like a cry for attention, a crutch that might be used to prop up a band that couldn’t really bring it musically.

But, oh no: the music was something else. For the time, it was blisteringly heavy — some of us wondered if it was even possible to get heavier without going the Black/Death metal route and jettisoning everything interesting about it (some argue it is, I’m far less convinced). Their first three albums were fantastic: Slipknot (1999), Iowa (2001), and Vol.3: The Subliminal Verses (2004). What came after was a little less immediately-good for me, but there were moments of brilliance in among the rest. I drifted away from the band around 2005, I guess, and most singles that followed never really lit my fire.

When I heard their previous single, “All Out Life” (below), I remained thoroughly underwhelmed. Indeed, it was quite possibly the most boring Slipknot song I’d heard in a long while. Musically, it plods and the sound is generally sludgy. For Slipknot, this sounded completely phoned in — it had none of the textures and layers that have given the band their impressive longevity and success.

With the considerable, justifiable success of Corey Taylor’s other band, Stone Sour, I wondered if Corey Taylor was getting all of his melodies out in that outfit, and therefore Slipknot was missing out on that side of his repertoire. (He has a great voice, and I think he’s one of the best singers in modern metal.) Other bands have managed to transition into more melodic fare without sacrificing their instrumental heaviness — for example In Flames and, especially, Soilwork. I worried that Slipknot was aiming for a Heavier Than Thou sound that, for me, is far less interesting.

As you can hear from “Unsainted”, my fears were premature: it is more melodic, varied, and interesting musically. The song has in its DNA a little bit of what made the aforementioned “Purity” as well as “Duality” (below) work so well. Catchy, heavy, and memorable, while still distinctly Slipknot.

After a few years drifting away from the band and its recent output, I’m looking forward to We Are Not Your Kind. It’ll be interesting to see how the whole album shapes up.

The new album is due to be released on August 9th, via Roadrunner Records. Here’s the track listing:

  1. “Insert Coin”
  2. “Unsainted”
  3. “Birth of the Cruel”
  4. “Death Because of Death”
  5. “Nero Forte”
  6. “Critical Darling”
  7. “Liar’s Funeral”
  8. “Red Flag”
  9. “What’s Next”
  10. “Spiders”
  11. “Orphan”
  12. “My Pain”
  13. “Not Long For This World”
  14. “Solway Firth”

Slipknot-WeAreNotYourKind

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