Alternative/Nu Metal group Slipknot have released their long awaited new album, We are not your kind. And, while the album aims for familiar territory, aka scaring the life out of kids and their mothers, the music plays like the soundtrack to a middle-aged man’s mental breakdown in an overcrowded airport.
Aging gracefully is no small feat. Especially, when your business is dependent on the image you’ve established in your youth. With the well-oiled corporate machine of Slipknot strategically inching closer towards territory previously occupied by bands like Kiss, 2019 is not the time to rock the boat.
Once famed for their aggressive imagery, live shows complete with aggressive duels between band members, and an aggressive approach towards speaking about personal issues, Slipknot attempt to dial things mid-way between their familiar aggro and experimentation. How much of either of the two is the favored amount may have been something lost in the e-mail communication between the band’s nine members.
It is not an insultingly poor record. But, for a group that has rarely, if ever ,made a truly bad album, a lot of their creative efforts on this one look to have been distributed elsewhere. Slipknot news have been full of stories about the band members’ new mask designs, about their grudges against fired ex-members and about their desire to make music that reminds fans of the band’s past. Again, these are events not unlike those included in the lengthy history of fellow masked rockers, KISS.
Best things about We are not your kind
The sound of the album is recognizably Slipknot. Too much so at times with the band seemingly quoting itself in various songs. Of all these, the single Unsainted is the record’s best offering, mixing their classic sound with pedal effects, loud/soft dynamics and even a choir inserted in the song’s intro.
Slipknot experiments with a newer production, not something bad on its own. In fact the band built a reputation on integrating modern styles and sounds ever since their debut created a compound of metal, detuned guitars and rapping.
Worst things about We are not your kind
The intensity on which the band built its reputation is not here in spite of Corey Taylor returning to his trademark growled and screamed vocals. If anything they mask the lack of direction. The songs don’t sound so much pissed off, like you’d expect them to, as angry about various reasons that the lyrics fail to shed much light on.
Often the words and the song structures fall into cliche. While, that is not always a bad thing either, one can’t help but feel that the energy spent on suing former bandmates and designing the Slipknot’s masks and wardrobe, may have robbed the band of some of its creative spark.
Do Slipknot still listen to heavy metal music other than themselves? Like most veteran metal bands, the answers is probably “no” and it is showing.
The band’s musicianship cannot be denied and neither can Corey Taylor’s talent as a vocalist. But, as far as new music goes, We are not your kind sounds like the group’s approximation of what the market demanded of them.
At the end of the day, let’s face facts. If you are not already a Knot fan will, and you are looking to listen to a single alternative metal album, you will unlikely be looking to pick this one up. Of course not, you would much rather wait for the new Tool record.