TITLE: WE ARE NOT YOUR KIND
LABEL: ROADRUNNER RECORDS
WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON
There’s been a lot of talk surrounding this album and much anticipation amongst the Slipknot fan base on social media and YouTube comments in the build up to its release. “This is gonna be the next Iowa”, “this is gonna be Slipknot’s most experimental album yet”. The truth is, there is no “next Iowa”. It was an album of its time and the band need to develop as they see fit. Once upon a time they were scary, threatening and the type of music that would freak out your mom. Do they still have that same kind of impact, and do they even need to? It’s totally natural for bands to develop, mature and grow, and a couple decades into their career, Slipknot should be allowed to do the same. Don’t worry though, the music is still eerie, unnerving, brutal and mostly about death, but to compare this album to any of their others would be unfair and doing the band and their hard work a disservice. This isn’t a replica or a regurgitation of any of their past work, this is grabbing the past by the balls, slicing them off and hurling them into the future.
Some fans will call this “the new Slipknot”. Fact is, it’s just Slipknot, and ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ has something for old and new fans alike. Those who’ve been following the band from the beginning will be delighted with the likes of ‘Birth Of The Cruel’ and ‘Red Flag’ which are pure noisy, relentlessly heavy, fast paced ‘classic Slipknot’ type tracks full of angry screams and walls of downtuned guitars and brutal rhythm sections. And yes, they do have a bit of an ‘Iowa’ vibe to them at times.
“‘We Are Not Your Kind’ has something for old and new fans alike.”
Newer fans might appreciate the experimentation, nuances and delicacy of songs such as the beautiful ‘Liar’s Funeral’ which shows off Corey Taylor’s clean vocal abilities, lead single ‘Unsainted’ and ‘My Pain’, which both explore different sounds, styles and peaks and troughs. Check out the orchestral choral arrangements on ‘Unsainted’ for example; the first track they released from the album as the first hint they were working on something different and special. And ‘My Pain’ is definitely the most experimental track on the album, sinister and eerie, with a haunting tubular bells type sound effect underlying the first part of the song. At times it’s deceptively happy and upbeat sounding, but then you notice the lyrics, half spoken half chanted over the top – “I’m your death, and I’m your cold. You end with me, remember this was never love. I’ll take this…and I’ll take that…I’ll take you too.” Wow, calm down Corey. The second part of the song then transitions into an industrial NIN style soundscape of electronic samples and slow noise.
Almost achieving the “all killer no filler” status, tracks such as ‘Critical Darling’ are key standouts, having that intoxicating combination of fast paced, thundering guitar work and singalong soaring choruses which are surprisingly catchy, mixed with enough eerie experimentation to ensure it ticks every single box for a Slipknot song. Tracks such as this, along with ‘Orphan’, ‘Spiders’ and the two lead singles are going to be sure fire live favourites. ‘Not Long For This World’ is stunningly beautiful in its construction and the haunting melody lines of the vocals, with Corey’s voice sounding suitably out of this world.
“it tells a story of a band developing and growing yet still staying true to their roots and the bare bones of their sound.”
They’ve also made use of short ‘bridge’ type tracks which tie one song to another, such as ‘Death Because Of Death’, coming in at 1.21, and the aptly titled ‘What’s Next’ which is less than a minute long. While these technically are fillers, they work well to give the album a nice flowing feel to it although could probably be skipped on future listens in favour of getting to the more meatier tracks.
Yes, there’s elements of that early self titled and ‘Iowa’ vibe. There’s elements of ‘Vol 3’, hints of ‘The Gray Chapter’….but this is a work in and of itself. Standing alone as a single body of work, it’s impressive and beautiful with some killer tracks. Standing alongside Slipknot’s insane back catalogue, it tells a story of a band developing and growing yet still staying true to their roots and the bare bones of their sound, and is essentially even more impressive as a result. Where fans will place this in their ‘favourite Slipknot album’ listings remains to be seen and debate will surely continue but one thing’s for certain – Slipknot haven’t lost it. They remain just as exciting and just as indefinable genre-wise. And they’d still probably freak out your mom. ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ indeed.