Slipknot’s We Are Not Your Kind’ main­tains their sta­tus as met­al royalty

Review: 20 years ago, no one expected longevity from the 18-legged hate machine. But even after losing three members, they're proving they have substance behind the gimmicks.

Rat­ing: 45

Hav­ing cred­i­bly tran­scend­ed their nu-met­al roots, Slip­knot now rank as the biggest extreme rock act of their gen­er­a­tion. Twen­ty years ago, when the Iowa band’s debut LP dropped, few antic­i­pat­ed such longevi­ty from a band with shock rock gim­micks, or that they would lat­er be respect­ed along­side the titans of the heavy met­al world. 

But part of the beau­ty behind metal’s ugly veneer is the way it uni­fies peo­ple who oth­er­wise don’t see them­selves in the glossier sides of pop cul­ture – Slip­knot appeal to mil­lions of mis­fits and out­siders across the globe. As loy­al as the KISS Army before it, Slipknot’s fan­base had no reser­va­tions about being dubbed mag­gots’ as they head­banged and screamed along with anthems like Wait and Bleed, Before I For­get, Dual­i­ty, and Psy­choso­cial.

We Are Not Your Kind is Slipknot’s sec­ond full-length with­out found­ing drum­mer Joey Jordi­son and the late bassist Paul Gray, and it’s their first since fir­ing Chris Fehn, the per­cus­sion­ist famed for his phal­lic-nosed mask. But they haven’t lost their knack for bal­anc­ing son­ic bru­tal­i­ty with mem­o­rable songcraft.

On the Unsaint­ed, Corey Tay­lor croons and bel­lows a cathar­tic refrain – I didn’t come this far to sink so low / I’m final­ly hold­ing on to let­ting go” – while occa­sion­al­ly backed by an angel­ic choir. Sol­way Firth blend’s the group’s ear­ly influ­ences, jump­ing fre­net­i­cal­ly between sec­tions of punky thrash and Pan­tera-derived groove. Taylor’s explo­sive and rapid-fire vers­es leave much to unpack, but frag­ments stick around and demand reflec­tion. On album high­light Crit­i­cal Dar­ling, he seethes lines like I only wish you could envi­sion a future / that doesn’t resem­ble your crazy inten­tions”, which could apply to the Trump admin­is­tra­tion as much as a for­mer friend. Turtable scratch­es on Not Long For This World and Birth Of The Cru­el remind that DJ Sid Wil­son very much remains in the band’s ranks, pro­vid­ing tex­ture to the wider range of their extra­or­di­nary noise. 

Slipknot’s weird twists and turns have pro­vid­ed respites from the gen­er­al vio­lence. This nuance keeps them from becom­ing cliché or one-note. And after all these years, that’s why they remain a force to be reck­oned with.

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