Slipknot is massive, they’ve been one of the biggest bands in the world for a few years now and have released their seventh studio album, The End, So Far. Everyone has strong opinions on Slipknot nowadays, and as with all art, quality is subjective and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
When they exploded onto the metal scene in the late ’90s, they where the craziest, most intense thing I’d ever come across, their self titled debut is my deserted island album and about as close to a 10/10 that I think I’ve ever heard, second album Iowa is a little less frantic and crazy but more traditionally heavy, and when it came time for album 3, things started to get a little weird.
Rather than re-tread the same ground, they went in a new, softer direction while still being a heavy ass metal band. They had clean sung radio singles “Before I Forget” and “Duality”, straight up heavy power ballad “Vermillion” and the softer, acoustic-driven “Vermillion Pt2”, a big departure from the frantic intensity of the first album and the “slit your throat and fuck the wound” death metal bravado of Iowa.
Since Vol 3, The Subliminal Verses, Slipknot have kept a similar sound on their subsequent releases, Corey Taylor sings as much as he screams and growls, catchy pop music song structures have become as common as blast beats and while their fan base has consistently grown over the last 20 years, they seem to piss off a whole lot of people every time they drop an album.
The latest release The End, So Far continues in a similar vein to the 4th album All Hope Is Gone to my ear, and I think is one of the most accessible albums they’ve dropped.
Opener Aderall is a catchy 70’s bop with a funky bass line, clean jangly guitars, and harmonized vocals in the chorus, that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Queen album.
2nd single Dying Song is next up, something of a formulaic Slipknot song nowadays, sick metal riff verse, clean sung epic chorus, it’s not a bad song but doesn’t grab you by the throat either.
Pre-album single The Chapeltown Rag has a classic sped-up drum’n’bass sample to kick off and has some of the frantic intensity of the older songs, driving drums, and doesn’t quite follow the verse/chorus format that has become pretty prominent in more recent releases.
Yen is a slower, toned-down song that has a steady build but doesn’t quite hit hard enough when it does drop, I’ve always liked the slower songs like Purity, Prosthetics, and Skin Ticket but this one doesn’t quite hit the sludgy highs of those tracks for me.
Hive Mind is a fast and heavy metal banger with some great drumming and a sweet staccato riff, Warranty sounds like it could have been lifted straight off Vol 3 with its catchy riff, clean chorus, and choir-heavy last quarter.
Medicine For The Dead is similar to Yen but I thought it built itself up better and hit a little harder and It would be my favorite of the two.
Acidic has an epic intro that reminded me of DethKlok a little but is actually a very 70’s sounding heavy blues track, kinda like Slipknot doing a Led Zepplin impression. It’s not my favorite on the album by far but I do like to hear them tread new ground.
Heirloom is heavy and catchy with a verse that sounds similar to the radio hit Psychosocial, not bad at all but not great either in my book. H377 brings back some speed and has a more frantic feel, a sick triplet riff with syncopated drumming, and is one my favorite songs on the album simply for its throwback feels.
DeSade has softer vocals mixed with some heavier music, the whole band locking in for a few sections giving the song a big, epic feel and closer Finale starts soft and acoustic and builds nicely into a big ballad but keeps its heavy feel.
The production job on the album is top tier, with every instrument and sample coming through really clearly, and V-Mans bass has a prominent spot in the mix that makes the songs sound big and full.
Personally, I haven’t heard a Slipknot album I haven’t liked and while this is definitely a very solid release, I found I prefer previous albums We Are Not Your Kind and,.5 The Grey Chapter to this one, I also think people who loved Vol 3 and All Hope Is Gone will really enjoy this one. Everyone has their era of Slipknot they prefer over the others, and while I can’t speak for the band members, I get a very distinct impression they’ve tried to make every album unique. They’ll never go back to the intense darkness of the first two albums but they still make great metal records that cover a lot of ground sonically and have a good mix of genres and styles.
Overall, not my favorite Slipknot album, but when the bar is set so high it’s impossible to keep everyone happy all the time and I defiantly don’t think there’s anything to hate here. 7/10
Get “The End, So Far” here: https://slipknot1.lnk.to/TheEndSoFar