Slipknot – All hope is gone – 3.5/5
As hard as it is to find a good review for poorly known music, it is probably even more difficult to find an honest review on a band that is well known. Mostly conducted by rampant fans who would love it even if they had produced an abomination undeserving for use as a frisbee, or so called “elitists” who often wouldn’t even bother to listen to it before condemning it. My aim is to bridge the gap between these two extremes.
Im sure a number reading this are probably surprised by the comparatively high score. For all the other reviews, I compare the end result to other bands within their genre, and not doing so here would naturally be biased against them. In all honesty, this is not anywhere near as bad as I was anticipating.
Firstly, onto the business of what genre do they play? I’ve heard a number of different people placing them in different sub-genres, the worst offenders probably being either thrash or death metal. I can assure you, this is not the case. The term best fitting would be nu-metal; the combination of rock, metal, hardcore, post-hardcore, grunge and post-grunge, containing enough influences to prevent it from being associated with any of the broader genres of music. However, there can be no question that the vast majority of the sound comes from metal and rock, with the occasional hardcore, post-hardcore and almost grunge-like vocals.
The album kicks off with a two minute intro, consisting of incomprehensible static and bland drumming. Why they decided on this is beyond – id have much preferred they squashed all the creativity in that minute long drum intro into a good 5 seconds of creativity and gone straight to the second track with a bang. Though having said that, the second track consisting of a derivative bass riff, bland blast beat drumming, overuse of the pinch harmonic and bad hardcore vocals leaves a lot to be desired.
I’m sure a number of people will have heard the song ‘psychosocial’ as it seems to be plaguing the airwaves rather a lot recently - another good example of a slow derivative bass, bland drumming and bad vocal work. I have no qualms point out that this is not a good example of this bands work here. Instead, consider ‘dead memories.’ Fans of the old slipknot style will no doubt dislike it, being more akin to Stone Stour’s work than of slipknot’s, achieving a simplistic but nonetheless interesting guitar riff, which manages to capture the mood of the track fairly well. This is definitely swaying on the rock side of their sound, featuring heavy use of post-hardcore vocals, this is a song only spoilt by the solo featured towards the end, quick-paced, derivative, and a complete contrast to the rest of the track.
Whilst the vocals I felt were poorly done, the variety of tones he manages to produce is fairly impressive. Deep hardcore vocals, rasp-filled aggressive rock vocals, emotional post-hardcore vocals, and even a cobain-influenced grunge drawl can be heard at times. Unfortunately, in each case the power, the emotion behind the vocals seems to be missing, though this is probably hampered by the backing work.
The drumming shows little in the way of creativity, only seeming to have a limited number of blast beat speeds, the bassist largely sticking to low ended notes, rarely doing much more than following the guitarist who in turn tends to play a basic chord-based riff with maybe a quick couple of notes played in between. The solo’s are split between the derivative scales played quickly, and the times he slows it down and shows he is able to produce something creative (‘Sulfur’ shows a good example of this, mixed with him playing the scales in between periods of creativity).
Instead, they do manage to succeed in varying slightly throughout the album, resulting in a number of different styles, some of which work surprisingly well. ‘Snuff’ is an example of this, where all these four aspects seem to come together wonderfully to create a track I wouldn’t have believed this band capable of producing. I would comment on the rest of the band members, but I can’t honestly work out what they contribute to the end result.
The range of different sounds, and the fact they often succeed in creating catchy chorus are their greatest strength in this album. I just wished they would stop pretending to be a metal band more often, and instead produce something of value. Nonetheless, if you’re a fan of the genre, don’t go in expected a flash of brilliance, and be prepared for a slipknot that has evolved their sound and you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Highlights: Dead Memories, Gehenna, Snuff
Note: No link will be provided, since id be surprised if many would want to download this :p If your interested, I’m sure there’ll be tonnes around anyway.
By T. Bawden