The one thing that can always bring me back to Slipknot no matter which album it is or how long it’s been since they’ve started is simple but so difficult to keep up while also pulling it off: novelty. It’s in each and every album that they’ve put out that Slipknot has created a unique experience that always revolves around the same spirit and core style, but we’ve all heard at least something from them to know that each record are works that are wholly their own. There was a part of me that was afraid this record was going to fall a little flat given the singles not really resonating with me, but, yet again, the universe smacks my doubts right back into my foolish face to deliver a new Slipknot record that feels the truest to the very idea of this band that has ever been made.
It hasn’t even been a full day at the time of me typing this and I already know it’s fact that just about anyone who has spoken their opinion about this album has been retaliated in some way. If you liked it, someone has said something along the lines of this being weak shit and “Iowa” or the debut was the best. If you hated it, you’re told to fuck off and stop “toxifying” the fan base. It’s happened to me and personally, I feel that if you’re hoping for another “Iowa” or a repeat of the style of any other album they’ve done, it’s a lost hope. I really hope that’s the case as I would be a little disappointed in this band because I know that they’ve so much to say, have so much to experiment with across nine guys, can convey so much, and make it fucking work in the end. Slipknot can do so much with their sound as they can easily manipulate it into a form we haven’t seen before, make it echo the past but not fooling themselves into a shameless copy, and deliver it with a fervor that is still awesome to see twenty years into a storied career. It’s only their sixth album, but it’s track after track that “We Are Not Your Kind” has the potential to be heralded as one of the most critical releases Slipknot has put out when viewed in retrospect years down the line.
I can wholly understand the idea of a big band like this wanting their singles to be accessible since that’s what’s going to be played on the radios and such while, hopefully, still showing what the rest of the album is like. I know not many will agree with me, but I feel the singles didn’t do a great job at conveying what the entirety of “We Are Not Your Kind” brings to the table. We got glimpses, yes, but if tracks like “Nero Forte” or even “A Liar’s Funeral” were released, I truly believed the hype train would’ve gotten up to speed so much quicker, and it’s a huge relief and immensely satisfying to see songs like that grace this album. And they’re just to tip of the darkness from which Slipknot pulled from for this organic, maniacal, and truly honest effort that hits all the notes we’ve seen before. Somber notes are pulled off expertly from the aforementioned “A Liar’s Funeral”, the combination of melody and intensity gel wondrously in “Orphan” and “Nero Forte”, the unnerving aspect of Slipknot that hasn’t been on full display in so many years shows its haunting visage perfectly throughout works like “Spiders”, and then, of course, we get the songs that are just meant to chop up the weak and leave no survivors as “Solway Firth” and “Red Flag” devastate at every turn!
It’s across all of “We Are Not Your Kind” such a delicious execution of diversity is shown across all the members here, not just the songs as they are no matter how awesome they are to just eat right up without study the individual efforts. The style of the vocals reaches back to what we haven’t seen since “Iowa” which certainly caught me off guard since especially since they’re still capable of being pulled off with great energy, all the strings take turns in the limelight or even share it in select moments as we can easily get a vicious display of riffage as we can get small parts that all coalesce into a grand display of eerieness what’s seen in “Spiders”, the drums have a tenacity that never once quit even for the end of the world, and the atmospheres that when put on top of all these moving parts allow for “We Are Not Your Kind” to immediately become a deadly work that can only be truly appreciated if you simply let Slipknot take as soon as you hit play at the start of “Insert Coin”.
I really enjoyed “The Gray Chapter”, and still do, but after years of listening to it, I found the somewhat lack of diversity of sound across it leaving me wanting more. After just a day of listening to “We Are Not Your Kind”, I can’t help but feel this is an album that I’ll be revisiting and loving for years and years now that it’s been unleashed. It’s got everything that has ever made Slipknot a name to hear in powerful dosages that are rarely overpowering or even underwhelming as each track has a strength to call its own whether it’s a crowd-rallying anthem or emotion that hits to the core. So much will be said about this record as it’s a piece that everyone will has something to say about it, but, no matter how you feel about it, you can’t deny that Slipknot has never sounded more like themselves than with “We Are Not Your Kind”: deadly, gripping, and adventurous in their experimentation.
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