Samstag, 3. Januar 2015

SLIPKNOT - ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" ("I can't believe I'm saying this: I'll live with my regrets. I'll die by my decisions. I'm not your fucking superstar. Keep it close - you're going way too far. NO ONE IS BULLETPROOF!")

(Release year: 2014 - by the end of the year.)
(Running time: 17 songs in 73:47 minutes.)
(Note: The album is also released in a limited extra-fat digi-packaged CD version, I just have the normal CD release version - and so my review is based on this "normal edition", just that you know it.)

Review: Hey folks, happy 2015 finally to everyone. I hope you enjoyed the changing of the years and I hope even more that 2015 will be for all of us a good year; let's work on it. - Okay, now back to business up here. I am still a little bit behind my schedule, but this time really only a lit bit. If we count this album and this very review it's all about here and now still with then it's just three or four albums that I still need to review up here to, if you want so, really finish 2014 also up here. I originally planned to get it all still done last month which would have meant still in 2014 but time simply went through my hands too fast and it was also maybe still sort of too much to do up here and so now, if you want so, we'll work up here through the rest of 2014 so far before then maybe today or tomorrow or Sunday or sort of this finally also my review or retrospection on it which means 2014 will also come up here. You know that I simply need to get worked through my planned working schedule first before I do this retrospection thing, the old "Monk" story up here, but this time I am still pretty good in time, at least I think so, and so now here we go: 

Starting with the work-through of the remaining records on the field we will here and now do, and starting we are with the current new SLIPKNOT album ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" released again via "ROADRUNNER RECORDS" by the end of 2014, so you see: all in all really not so long ago, and what shall I say: SLIPKNOT are or better were - and I mean always were- a band I usually was never that much into, their self-titled album "SLIPKNOT" was, in my book, always heavily overrated, surely it never was and definitely is a really bad album or a weak album or anything like this and it surely had some biggies on it that also mostly still conquer today but all in all it was nothing less than a solid release and not really so much more, at least in my book, okay, beside the very smart promo-marketing-image concept with all the masks, the overalls, the psycho stuff, and all this Maggot Corps thing back then going on. Then "IOWA" happened and bombed just right through every walls or resistance and especially "LEFT BEHIND" was and still is a larger than life anthem of a song and so far it definitely was their strongest work, followed by "VOL. 3: THE SUBLIMINAL VERSES" that was anyhow a damn good album with some major league hits on it but also a little bit too much just sort of average stuff, hm, and after this album I lost SLIPKNOT more and more and then totally out of sight, also because their so far last studio album "ALL HOPE IS GONE" failed to anyhow really convince me (and it fails on still so far), and all the bad luck and member-changing I only got aware of a little bit because of the Internet and so on, hm, and so I won't go into it, instead of this I will just focuss on ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER", because - to be honest - that's all what's important to me.

Okay, the passage right above should have made clear that even I always sort of liked SLIPKNOT and never ever understood all the dumbass haters outta there I never was that much of a big fan of them or so, but still I was heavily curious to finally listen to their new album and get my hands on it, don't ask me how this came to happen, but it was right from the start like ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" sort of talked to me - and my impression or feeling didn't lead me wrong with it, hell no. It lead me to the exact opposite, and in this case this means: to one hell of an album of one of a kind. SLIPKNOT had always been a band to which the cataloging as New Metal or Nu Metal never fitted, with all the KORN's, COAL CHAMBER's, LIMP BIZKIT's, P.O.D.'s, LINKIN' PARKS's, CRAZY TOWN's, ORGY's, ILL NINO's, and so on and on they never really had that much in common - beside the fact that they also played a sort of a (very) modern interpretation of Metal (but a pretty different one to the mentioned bands and their styles'n'sounds, and also a pretty different one than the whole Nu Metal genre in general) and that they got big pretty much at the same time back then at the end of the 1990's and the beginning of the 2000's, hm, but then that're more or less pretty much all similarities after all so far. Anyhow, in 2014 with ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" they released what is, at least or better: especially in my book, their by far very best album to date and also an album that is simply nothing else than incredible close to being perfect, yes, and that's it: one incredible hell of an album. It happens so much on it, in the songs, in each single song, and still we talk about real and flowing and also even more through and through amazing and awesome songs and not about any self-proclaimed ''proggy'' dingle-dangle tired bullshit crap, yes, it's just nothing-else or -less than phenomenal. And it's also straight and easy to say that SLIPKNOT also in 2014 play(ed) a style totally of their very, very own, so don't expect me to come up with any bandnames to compare them or ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" with. In the whole own cosmos or context of SLIPKNOT as a band of its own and placed or positioned to their precursor works then ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" can best be found somewhere between their from my point of view so far best albums "IOWA" and "VOL. 3: THE SUBLIMINAL VERSES", it's to be located somewhere between the bonecracking, headsmashing, and bloodthirsty brutality and harsh heavyness of the "IOWA" slasher and the twisted great melodic and sinister symphonic approach of the "VOL. 3: THE SUBLIMINAL VERSES" album, and it works also a lot of shredding and ripping parts into it all that have a strong traditional (Thrash and Death) Metal approach, just listen well and with attention to the album and you will get more than just one. Beside this it offers a strong own identity and a really unique character that makes it an album totally of its own. It's also great to see or better: hear SLIPKNOT going on an all out attack and offering and delivering one hell of an inspirational as well as inspirated ride through extreme modern (Metal) music with a stand-alone own character and of absolutely stand-alone quality and an album that's packed up full with so many masterly or majestic riffs, grooves, rhythms, varying paces, energy and totally breath-taking dynamics, twists-and-turns in the songwriting, demanding and challenging and also surprising moments and happenings in every song, fuckin' larger than life song architectures, and so many ideas of which other bands would make sort of ten albums out of - if they should ever had just anyhow only slightly so many ideas and inspiration - and this alone maybe wouldn't be that amazing after all but they create out of all this one brilliant album that's totally in the flow, I mean you won't find any hurting breaks, no blank spaces, no negative disruptive pieces, none of that or what the hell else ever, hell no, definitely not, this gyus are master-musicians as well as master-songwriters, all with brain and smart- and cleverness, but at the same time with at least exactly the same amount of nothing but heart, soul, and passion - and love, love for what they do and create. The album is definitely marked by it's incredible multi-layered and diverse character, every song alone is so full of fantastic together and into one flowing stream of just genius-like creativity accumulating brilliant music, driven forward and fired up by just mouth-opening high skilled competencies, the just phenomenal playing with different emotions/moods and also especially dynamics - loud/silent, raging/suffering, harming/self-mutilating, hard/soft, brutal /bitter-sweet, aggressive eruptive and offending/secluded withdrawn in desperation, bellicose/violative, harsh/subtle, etc. pp. - as well as tricky, proggy, and thoughtful rhythm structuring and bursting eruptive as well as sweet flowing song architectures, and it's all just nothing else or less than some of the purest and most precious musical platinun you can only get (from) where-ever - you find it all here on ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" delivered by the phenomenon known as SLIPKNOT. And the energy level is all the time just sheer full force while also the atmosphere is over all the distance completly intense, tight, thick, and just sheer overmastering everyone and everything, taking aboslutely no prisoners. And simply totally unique stuff'n'ideas like for example the PINK FLOYD citation at the very beginning of "SARCASTROPHE" then are just the crowning elements of it all. To what I also only can bow down is how outstanding the attitude or maybe better the spirit of this album is, I mean a more sinister and dark, brutal and aggressive, heavy and really sick and psychotic twisted, in short: extreme album you won't find so soon, no matter where you look and search for it, but still somehow SLIPKNOT get it done that this whole album, every single song but also the entireness of ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER", has a positive core buried deep down inside, shining dirty and dark, but it's there, don't ask me how they did it and don't plead me to describe it more precise, just trust me when I say that it is there, just go and listen and search for it - it's a long and intense hard ride but it will definitely and totally be worth every second it takes so go and listen and search and feel for it, it's one of the greatest happenings in music in and I am pretty sure also for years to come, so go and take some time and then play it loud and allow yourself to sink into it all, and grant yourself the pleasure to sink really, really deep into it all, really deep.

The biggest marking elements of the album - beside the above mentioned just breath-taking awesome and amazing songwriting and the just phenomenal high skills of the guys in SLIPKNOT - are definitely the lead vocals, at least do they have to be named first, from my point of view. Just a total stand-alone and incredible bright shining effort and delivery, full of honest emotions and heart, soul, and passion and high, high skilled, adding whole complete levels to the multi-layered and diverse and just shining - dark, but bright - character of ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER", spanning over a wide distance of hard and aggressive, brutal and rough, deep throated and here and there in short and few moments also slightly guttural shoutings over sick and insane suffering more screamed vocals to fantastic clean sung strong and oratorical real singing and ending at great sort of more spoken than sung, suffocating and suffering whisperings, and all done just totally brilliant. Definitely one of the best and strongest and most intense singers around, no matter what music-genre we may look at, point and fact. Then we have the just eyes and ears opening diverse and simply completly majestic guitar work that's simply some of the best stuff delivered in the world of extreme (Metal) music, backed up by the massive and just totally awesome rhythm section and it's this very rhythm section that also add a very strong and truly damn cool Hardcore punch to the songs what's a true enrichment of the music of SLIPKNOT. But that's still not all, because we still have fantastic percussions, and "samplerings" and scratchings over all the time and this is all thankfully this time maybe for the first time ever really heavily present and that's just more than "only" great - and definitely (also) a merit of the strong transparent and clear, yet heavy and just simply stunning and crushing production sound that's maybe for the first time ever in the history of SLIPKNOT free and rid of any limitations, because on earlier releases I always thought or to me it always felt like especially the drumming, no matter how great it was and it was always just totally fantastic (and that's it also still today or again today, just btw, on the exact same level of quality but with a strong own note to it), were by far too present in the production sounds of the earlier albums, something that especially the percussions as well as the scratch'n'sample-work always had to suffer under by far the most, and this is something that for fuck's sake is here no more, yes, and I love it... period.  Beside the fantastic music and the great production sound SLIPKNOT offer us on ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" also just brilliant thoughtful and heartfelt lyrics that are nothing but a perfect match to the songs and the atmoshere and spirit of the album and so really benefit it all drastically, as well as also a just fantastic sinister shining dark beautiful artwork and so I just have to say that this album is not "just" the complete package or the real deal but that it's definitely as close to being perfect as music only can get. It's just brilliant and incredible phenomenal, I damn fucking love it!!! It's just a total statement...

... and, okay, honestly I think the review is no already by far long enough and I thank you for reading and keeping up (with) your attention, and so I will now coming to the closing lines of it and I will close it with just pointing out that SLIPKNOT's new offspring ".5: THE GRAY CHAPTER" is one of the top five albums of 2014 and will definitely be a everything over- or out-shining reference masterpiece of music and art for years to come, and if you are into extreme and intense (and also heavily emotional and atmospheric, but expect no cheap cliché crap garbage) music you simply just need to have it, otherwise you will or would miss one of the most perfected albums you ever can only get your hands on, one of the most musical-rich albums ever outta there. And so, by any means, if you still don't call it your own then go out, move your ass, hurry the fuck up, and buy it, buy it asap, period. /// Andy
(Rating: 10 of 10 points)
(Homepage: - Just copy the link into the headline of a new browser-tab and then go there.)

SLIPKNOT - "THE DEVIL IN I" (Official Clip)


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