by Jeff Collins
Many metal bands tone down their energy and call it “more melodic,” only to alienate their fan base and fade off into obscurity. While Slipknot’s dynamic approach on Vol. 3 (Subliminal Verses) is indeed melodic at times, the band has managed to evolve without leaving the fans (maggots) behind.
As it pains me to give one of my favorite bands only three stars, Vol. 3 contains many soft spots, and at times, can be described as anti-climatic. The high points of the new album are no less than gorgeously crafted displays of hatred and despair.
Slipknot has succeeded where so many other bands have failed in their ability to weave melodic moods and harmonies into otherwise abrasive textures, without losing momentum.
“Duality,” the first single, elegantly rocks the heavy verse/weak chorus feel that many other “nu-metal” bands obnoxiously beat into the ground. Listeners may notice two entirely acoustic songs on Vol. 3, a first for the band, as well as two full length guitar solos. Although some fans may have trouble adjusting to the lighter side of the record, all forays into lighter sonic territory are offset with a healthy balance of aggression as guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thompson dish out some of the most maniacal riffs of Slipknot’s career.
Corey Taylor’s vocals are, at times, more delicate than in the band’s previous work, which often adds a disturbing contrast to the singer’s dark musings. Many of the arrangements are well developed and tastefully intricate “Circles,” an acoustic guitar driven track, could easily find airplay on any pop radio station in America.
“The Nameless,” another standout track from Vol. 3, breaks up the noise with seemingly random acoustic breaks layered with gorgeous vocal harmonies. Just when you feel as though you’ve been thrown into space, the band drops a gravity bomb that will pull you headfirst into their dense atmosphere of moody, hate-powered chaos.
While occasionally anti-climatic as Slipknot
takes time to explore their unique brand of “hate/pop,” at the very least,
Vol. 3 is a very worthy contribution to the heavy metal gene pool.
Oh yeah, and the new masks kick ass.
Editor’s note: We will have more for you maggots real soon! Next month Hobo will give us a career retrospective of the evolution of the band behind the masks. So stay tuned for that!
Slipknot - Vol. 3 (the Subliminal Verses)