The long awaited album, .5: The Gray Chapter by infamous Iowa metal band Slipknot has finally been put out. The release day was known as Slipknot day worldwide, which shows the level of anticipation from fans. It’s understandable when their last album All Hope is Gone came out in 2008. But possibly the biggest reason why fans were so eager to hear the bands’ fifth offering is because it’s their first album recorded since their bassist, Paul Gray, died in 2010.
A lot of fans dissed All Hope is Gone because they felt the band were losing their heavy sound. It’s true to some extent with ballads like ‘Snuff’. .5: The Gray Chapter, however, sees Slipknot going back to their roots. Although not as heavy as other efforts, the band has kept their gritty industrial sound that made them famous. The colourless artwork reflects the tone of their music.
Slipknot have included a strong, haunting intro this time round similar to the structure of Iowa. It goes straight into ‘Sarcastrophe’ and Corey Taylor’s melancholy vocals are ever present, particularly in songs like ‘Goodbye,’ a tribute to the death of their band member. The title is a play on words, suggesting the album concept to be a reflection of Gray’s life. It is a mixture of the ballad style and ear-crunching metal.
As for the rest of the album, the band have structured their songs around fast guitar progression and distorted, rapid-fire solos. They have also used a tonne of hooks, the most memorable is in the chorus of ‘Nomadic.’ Songs like this show that Slipknot continue to specialise in creating epic choruses. You can also see more experimentation with synthesisers too, reminiscent of Motionless in White’s creepy style.
After listening to the album in full it is clear how much thought and effort went into making this album. The strong imagery, the tight song structure and the flawless production make it a treat to listen to. Also the smaller touches like spooky ambient synths enhance the album’s dark concept of death. Slipknot fans are not likely to be disappointed by their new effort. Especially as it’s a big throwback to their old school sound that the fans have felt they have been missing from their music.