Crazily enough it's been 6 years since 2008's "All Hope is Gone".
Bassist and founding member Paul Gray died of an overdose in 2010, and other founding member; drummer Joey Jordison, parted ways with the band at the beginning of 2014.
In the wake of Slipknot's troubles, and the years passed... comes .5: The Gray Chapter.
In what is definitely their angriest album since 2001's IOWA; .5: The Gray Chapter sounds more like it came between Iowa and 2004's Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses.
It's aggressive. Diverse. Emotional.
From the intro track XIX which could very easily be on the Issues album by KoRn includes bagpipes and leads into the very thrashy and heavy Sarcastrophe. Followed by the even faster AOV (Approaching Original Violence)... it's relentless, yet there's brief moments of melody.
Corey Taylor's voice will always be a high point. Whether it's Slipknot or Stone Sour, or guesting on another band's tune... his voice is unmistakable.
Lead single, The Devil in I, at first seemed like a strange song to choose for a single but upon repeated listens it's grown on to me in a huge way. It's an unconventional hit from an unconventional band. It's very very moody. The balance of the soft subtle verses into the heavy and catchy chorus is awesome. If you're a Slipknot fan, I guess you can compare it to Vermillion pt. 1 with Sulfur, but that still doesn't quite capture how this song is. It's a high point in their career.
Killpop, Goodbye, The Negative One, and If Rain is What You Want are my other favorite tracks.
Killpop stands out because it's almost trip-hoppy then it's got that Dead Memories vibe. Another very moody track. Goodbye is extremely quiet and soft and also somewhat trip-hoppish. Reminiscent of Thrice's "Alchemy Index" EP's, more specifically the Water EP. Halfway through the track though it picks up some steam and gets louder but retains Corey's layered melodic vocals.
The Negative One bears a striking resemblance to Surfacing from the self-titled album, though I actually prefer this song more. Certainly one of their most straight-forward tracks, and even has a short death metal section in the middle.
If Rain is What You Want is another darker soft tune that has an Otep feel (when they do the non-heavy songs; though this doesn't sound like spoken word poetry). It becomes more and more intense at the midway point. It's a very strong ending track (even including the deluxe version, which came in 2 discs instead of 1 for just 2 songs... for whatever reason.)
A couple other album highlights are Nomadic and The One that Kills the Least.
Nomadic has a really great chorus and is just a very solid track all around. Nice solo too. The One That Kills the Least has a very interesting intro for a Slipknot song. Overall it's essentially a "standard" modern Slipknot song, but it stands out to me for some reason. It's just done well.
Some people might think it's weird that I'm not a fan of Custer. While parts of the song are great, the chorus is really just stupid to me. It annoys me and sounds really like something that would've been the thing to do in 1997, but I wouldn't have liked it then either.
The other songs are all decent in their own right, and overall this Slipknot album is just as worthy as everything else they've done. It fits right in there with their discography. I just wish it didn't take 6 years to release, and hopefully that's not the case now that they're back on track and focused.
I always look forward to a new Slipknot release. So, once again...
thank you boys.
As for the drumming on the record. Honestly. I'm a big Joey Jordison fan, and it basically just sounds like Joey's drumming. Truth. It doesn't sound any less Slipknot than it ever has.