This is a fascinating, moving, beautiful record. If Slipknot carry on making albums as...
Nick Reynolds 2004
Be afraid. Be excited. Slipknot are back. This stunning album proves this band can do anything.
Track two "The Blister Exists" proves that there is no finer metal band on the planet. Brutal rabble rousing chants and ugly riffs are driven to an irresistible climax. Military style drumming is captured in all its shiny terrifying power by Rick Rubin's crystal clear production. It sounds like a conquering army occupying a defeated city. It's the first amazing moment on an album full of amazing moments.
Once Slipknot have proved they are masters of thrash they then show they are masters of everything else. There are hyperactive bass drums, complex, compelling riffs and ridiculously fast fretwork. But there are also acoustic guitars, addictive choruses and bittersweet harmonies. There are more hooks here than in a slaughterhouse. Everything is marshalled for maximum excitement and emotional impact. "Duality" is a metal pop classic. "Circle" is acoustic and beautiful, with cellos and a lovely tear-jerking chorus: 'The deep sadness behind the anger and defiance'.
"Vermillion" is the key track. It's a song about love, possession and despair. It switches in an instant from a note of pure beauty to a twisted howl of rage. It takes the awe-struck listener on an emotional, melodramatic, utterly convincing rollercoaster ride.
By the time you get to the bruising punch of "The Virus Of Life", all you can do is surrender completely to Slipknot's musical vision. Like Metallica on the "black album" they have found an ideal balance between aggression and melody. But Metallica haven't sounded this fired up in years.
This is a fascinating, moving, beautiful record. If Slipknot carry on making albums as good as this they will be the biggest, as well as the best, band in rock.