REVIEW: SLIPKNOT – “The End, So Far”
The mythology surrounding Slipknot is part of the secret to their success. At least at the beginning. Since their self-titled, ground-breaking debut in 1999, much of that veil has been lifted. Revealing something of a tortuous legacy that has seen the band go through multiple iterations. Masks, members, and music have each evolved since the nu metal era fizzled out of its own zeitgeist, and 2022 finds Slipknot in a very different space. September 30th sees The nefarious 9 release their seventh studio album, ‘The End, So Far.’ An album recognizing a moment in time while firmly closing the chapter on it.
Singer Corey Taylor may be revered for his vocals, mastering polarity as he skips between clean and heavy, but his gift for lyrics cannot be understated. Lyrics show a huge maturity on ‘The End, So Far,’ making it a thematically complex album. Personal, political, and vigorously passionate, they capture the dark in the holy and the light in the unholy, never reaching for sanctimonious sentiments and regurgitating them as original thoughts. Instead, Taylor kicks doors down, beginning with “Chapeltown Rag”. News, social media, and religion; all are interrogated at a point in time where we interpret every tweet, post, or picture as representing the entire humanity and not some sad individual after two glasses of Prosecco. Serving as a template for what follows, faux culture gets called out on its own B.S with visceral immediacy. Seen in album standouts like the melancholic “Adderall” and “De Sade” which pull back the disguise on the human condition to reveal what lies beneath, warts and all, with refreshing honesty and acceptance.
Mark Twain once wrote that history does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme. And with that, we wave a white flag at Slipknot die-hards asking they grant us safe passage. While ‘The End, So Far’ is no cynical derivative of Corey Taylor’s hard rock-infused Stone Sour, stylistically there are moments where it’s perched right on the precipice. Songs like the hook riddled “The Dying Song (Time to Sing)” and a bouncy “Heirloom” are often distinguishable as Slipknot tracks solely on account of the percussive instruments provided by Clown and Tortilla Man, as well as sampling from disk jockeys Sid Wilson and Craig Jones. Whether this is a deal breaker, or a delight depends on which side of the coin you favor. For fans eager to see the end of the Stone Sour hiatus, these tracks will be a welcome source of something they miss. For others, they may sound like a flawed chord with just the whisper of a dissonant note among an otherwise solid progression. Either way, they link and expand the album’s range of musical and thematic concerns, steeped in De Sadian darkness shining into the light.
While delivery may not always feel as incendiary as previous offerings, there’s still a sense of pain in the air. Each song is as texturally eloquent as the next, where you truly hear the machinery at work. With ‘The End, So Far’, Slipknot interrogate their own mythology, along with the stories we tell ourselves, offering confounding perspectives amidst compelling instrumentation. On the evidence of ‘The End, So Far’ Slipknot sound as if they are on a new mission. One they are determined to see through to the end. However long that may take.