Slipknot - _All Hope Is Gone_
(Roadrunner Records, 2008)
by: Jackie Smit (4 out of 10)
While some of you scratch your bald spots and ponder how a review for a Slipknot record could possibly have found its way on to these hallowed pages, I'll step forward and confess: I thoroughly enjoyed their eponymous album. Still do, actually. Likewise, I thought that its successor, 2001's _Iowa_, was a valiant attempt at a worthy sequel -- not quite as convincing perhaps, but packed with enough heavyweight bad-assery to make it worth my time. Then came _Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses_, and it's here that Slipknot's stock took a nosedive. Having plied an honest trade up until then, that just so happened to be adopted by a legion of disaffected suburban geeks, here the band suddenly appeared content with aiming their music squarely at "the kids".

Still, I had high hopes for _All Hope Is Gone_. The preceding two singles (these being the disc's title track and current MTV favourite "Psychosocial") were solid slabs of modern metal, varnished in the same bile that the band had been spewing on the road to fame and fortune. Slipping on the album for the first time, it certainly appeared as though my expectations were well founded, with first track proper, "Gematria", proving to be a gargantuan riff-monster built around a gang-vocal hook that appears almost custom-written to cause mosh pit havoc. "Sulfur" follows suit, albeit in slightly more subdued fashion. A mere ten minutes later however, and every ounce of momentum promptly comes thundering down. In what appears to be a case of serious identity-crisis, Slipknot inexplicably decide to take a stab emulating Paradise Lost on "Dead Memories" and the results are cringe-worthy. On "Vendetta", they ape early Corrosion of Conformity, sans the grooves and creative bite, while the chorus to "Gehenna" may as well have been sampled straight off a Queens of the Stone Age track.

Even after such an avalanche of tepidity though, very little can prepare you for the exercise in commercial grovelling that is "Snuff". Undoubtedly a future anthem for every pimply fourteen year-old whose girlfriend has sent him packing, you can almost taste the desperation as Slipknot attempt to usurp Nickelback as the mainstream's token rock band. In reality, it's the final and most stinging ingredient in an album that could reasonably only be described as a shit sandwich, albeit one which a quarter of a million punters and counting have already taken a bite of.


(article published 17/9/2008)

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