“You want a real smile?” Slipknot delivers heaviest album in years

Slipknot released their sixth album entitled “We Are Not Your Kind” on Friday, the band’s first release since 2014’s “.5: The Gray Chapter.” 

Fans have been clamoring to a return to the heavy sounds of 2001’s “Iowa” which featured the likes of “The Heretic Anthem” and “People = S**t.” Well, not only did the band deliver, they produced a front to back album experience.

A Little Background

For those unfamiliar, Slipknot is a metal band formed in Iowa in 1995. Their current lineup features nine members: vocalist Corey Taylor, guitarists Jim Root and Mick Thomson, drummers Jay Weinberg and Alessandro Venturella, Sid Wilson on turntables and keyboard, Craig “133” Jones on samples and keyboards, and only remaining founder Shawn “Clown” Crahan on percussion and backing vocals. Every member wears a custom mask on stage that has varied from album to album.

The current ninth member is a mystery to everyone except the band. Percussionist Chris Fehn left the band back in March after filing a lawsuit claiming that the band was holding back payments from him. A new percussionist, known only as “Tortilla Face” has taken Fehn’s place. He has yet to be unmasked, so his identity is a hot topic among fans affectionately known as “Maggots.”

Now back to the new stuff

The fifth song on the album, “Nero Forte,” has a line that perfectly encapsulates this album for me. 

“Wade through hate and fear, i haven’t felt like this in years.”

Right there. That line. That line sums it up. “We Are Not Your Kind” takes listeners through a journey of emotions and makes an experience that hasn’t been delivered much in the metal genre in years. The title serves as a rallying cry for all, not just metal fans, that all that matters is togetherness and a reminder to stand up against divisiveness. 

Taylor’s vocals really stand out. He goes from melodic singing to growls and screams seamlessly, perfectly conveying the emotions of each line. He serves as the guide through a descent from anger into despair. 

“Insert Coin,” the first track, is an apt name for the opening. It even gives you a sneak peak at the ending of the album where Taylor mutters the same opening lyrics (more on that last song later). It sounds like something straight out of Stranger Things. You can almost picture the Mind Flayer walking around in the upside down. Its the first of a few songs, such as “Death Because of Death,” that break up the heavy with creepy, almost experimental tracks that really ratchet up the eerie factor. 

“Unsainted” is easily one of the best songs on the album and one of the best from Slipknot in years. It begins with a choir singing and then picks up until Taylor screams the line “I’m finally holding on to let it go,” which kicks everything off. The song is a powerful one about not changing who you are for anyone, perfectly fitting in with the album title.

Hidden Gems

The album really hits its strides in the middle. “Nero Forte” is a headbanging anthem that shouts back against those with “too much animosity” and telling them “A home like yours is upside down.” 

 “A Liar’s Funeral” is an Alice In Chains-esque slog with Taylor’s unleashing of “LIARRRRRRRRR!” This is where the album switches from anger into despair. The tone shifts from very heavy and fast to slower and more deliberate. 

“Red Flag” is a song all about defiance, including the line “This is a beginning. You are an ending.” It’s an outcry against those who try to silence others for being different and turn them from “something special” into “nothing new.”

Going out with a bang

The journey of emotions is all let out in the album’s final song “Solway Firth.” It’s the heaviest song on the album and is thrash metal at its finest. The video is also peak Slipknot, featuring the band performing and blood…lots of blood.

**NSFW WARNING**

 

That final line. 

“You want a real Smile? I haven’t smiled in years.”

A perfect way to finish off a record such as this, one that is very much a product of the world events around it. “We Are Not Your Kind” is a great mix of classic heavy Slipknot with some new experimentation that ups the creepy factor while simultaneously making the heavier tracks hit harder.