(9/10) It is World Series time right now. So baseball is something which is pretty much in focus (at least in some areas on this blue planet).
Exactly in this period the masked men from Iowa, Slipknot, release their newest album called ".5: The gray chapter". Already the fact that there is a new record is a remarkable fact and very exciting. After the tragic death of founding member and bassplayer Paul Gray it wasn't clear for quite a long time if and how it will continue with the band. Will this dramatic moment mark the beginning of the end for entire band? Would they come back?
They came back - maybe even stronger than they have been ever before. It took the band three years for taking the decision to work on a new record. It was guitarist Jim Root who created the musical foundation for the songs and he did it in the spirit of Paul Gray. In the beginning of 2014 the band went into the studio for recording the fifth album in the Sunset Sound and Westlake Studio together with Greg Fidelman, who worked with the band already for "Vol.3: The sublimial verses".
So why have I mentioned baseball in the beginning? It's actually that ".5: The gray chapter" could be one of those almost perfect baseball games. The album contains fastballs like the furious "Sarcastrophe" and the raging "Custer" as well as the more complex curveballs named "Skeptic" - an almost five minutes long groove monster.
There is the one or the other homerun on the album. "AOV" is for example one of them. The aggression of Slipknot's music, the groove and the melodic chorus are outstanding. This song scores since it has the brutality of Slipknot's sound and the 'commerciality' of some Stone Sour tracks.
With the 'ballad' "Killpop" Slipknot has even a 7th inning stretch on the album. The song is based on the charismatic vocals of Corey Taylor. It is a very quite song that builds up towards the end, but stays quite melodic.
"Goodbye" follows the same pattern. The tune has a very melancholic vocal line and Taylor is more singing than shouting. Like the before mentioned song also "Goodbye" turns into a Slipknot monster in the last third. The track is actually one of the most emotional ones on the album since it has to do with the day of Gray's death. It was the moment when the rest of the band was sitting at Taylor's place and the singer describes the situation as the irony of fate that somebody had to die to bring the entire rest of the band sitting together at his place.
The only thing that is 'missing' is the grand slam homerun. All the songs on the album are very good, but there is none that sticks out even a bit more. But a grand slam homerun also doesn't happen that often and Slipknot won the game anyhow by far.
".5: The gray chapter" became another very good album from Slipknot. It sounds very authentic and emotional. It is showing the development of a band that was going through rough times. Those scars fit very well to their music while Slipknot is still keeping their trademarks. It is muliylayered and reveals a lot of new details each time you listen to the tracks.
Slipknot is still Slipknot. The album belongs to my top 10 this years and is a dignified tribute to Paul Gray.
PS: For all the ones who have no idea about baseball I added a glossary as a link in the end of the review ;)
- The devil in I
- The one that kills the least
- Be prepared for hell
- The negative one
- If rain is what you want
Genre: Modern Metal