Release date: 20 August 2008
Studio: Sound Farm Studio, Jamaica, Iowa
Producers: Dave Fortman, Chris Vrenna
The essence of understanding and appreciating Slipknot is something that does not come easy. They are insanely unruly, visually disturbing, utterly disorienting and more often than not could give the regular minds a seething headache. What I’d like to say that bands like Slipknot are a more an acquired taste. Now I do understand the genre of “metal” is dying and under appreciated especially in India. It either has a cult following or none at all, solely cause the genre isn’t for casual listening. There is an invisible beauty and melody in how metal as a genre functions that is a far throw from just being “noise”. Besides being one the influential bands in the metal genre, their lyricism is particularly significant. Especially the album under consideration has some poignant lines that makes for a powerful commentary on the themes of rage, disillusionment and the perils of the music industry as well.
This is one of the toughest and possibly the heaviest sousing albums in the band’s discography. The heavy and powerful vocals of Corey Taylor, Paul Gray’s resounding bass and Joey Jordison’s hard-hitting drums make the sound of “All Hope is Gone” all the more ominous. The guitars are all the way up distortions leaving no room for the feeble listeners. the commentary that is the introduction to the album sets the tone for the listeners, it is going to be seething in anger and mind numbing sounds of dissent. This is what we get with Germatria where the song talks about the corruption and mindless murder that has become the state of affairs. The idea being that all the American government does or decides to do is simply burn your cities down. The songs that follow tends to set the same tone across the album, a sense of pointless and disgust that one feels towards the current state of affairs in the world. All we do is consume and destroy leaving nothing left for the future even the unfortunate ones. There are some songs that have deep personal undertones. Songs like Dead Memories, Sulfur and Vendetta talk about matters that affect everyone whilst going through life. Yet most of these songs are grim reminders and snapshots of Corey’s most dark moments and his consequent resurrection. Topics such as unrequited love, drug abuse, rehab and return to success and creativity have all been intimately touched upon in these songs respectively.
Psychosocial, one of the more commercially successful tracks, talks about the fallacy of wars and the pointlessness of the wayward government. It’s an intimate take on the fallen heroes who are butchered for the sake fo selfish ideals. The essence of this song particularly lies with the musicality than the lyricism, even thought there are some particularly powerful lines in this song. The bass heavy tone of Psychosocial makes this one a stage show staple at all Slipknot concerts. One of the more insidious tracks (possibly the most creepy) of this album or even all Slipknot album is Gehenna. Alluding to the biblical verses, this is essentially considered to be a word synonymous to “hell”. The song has various interpretations. Some consider it to be referencing to bad and ugly relationships, a conflict between two lovers. Some even think it may be alluding to stalking and/or obsession. A deeper meaning could also be the protagonist’s incapacity to accept himself for who he is. He changes himself to fit the lovers who come and go, yet he is never really satisfied. The imagery has certain brutal and graphic undertones which is more than satisfying as a medium to express the point of the view. The eery and dragging delivery by Corey Taylor adds more layer into the psychotic character of the song and the usually hard-hitting tracks are subdued by a subtle nuance that has seldom been a Slipknot signature. Experimentation proven right, I suppose. This is definitely one of my favourite songs on the album.
All Hope is Gone is in its core is dark and gloomy. It exudes a sense of hopelessness, an idea that all is for nothing. The government is a fatalist and things are essentially made to perish. This powerful image of disillusionment is in fact a mirror into the social fabric of the American society, enveloped in the confines of a greed and arrogance. There is a recognition of decay within the society and within humanity itself. The decadence of society and the human mind is being exposed and laid bare. The lyrics express the anger and rage that runs through all of the them. The heavy tones are purposely placed to set the stage for making a “noise” that is loud enough to awaken the social consciousness, face the reality and make amends for the betterment of humanity.
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