Album Review: Slipknot – All Hope Is Gone

Artist: Slipknot
Album: All Hope Is Gone
Label: Roadrunner Records

Ah, Slipknot. A band that I spent so long in denying my enjoyment of just because at my age you feel that it just isn’t….right. But, despite being nearly twenty and always making a conscientious effort to find music that stimulates me in many different ways (calm down), I just can’t deny my enjoyment of the odd spin of some Slipknot material. despite their target audience being considered as thirteen year old kids who hate their parents because they smile and wake them up in the morning. This is, of course, bollocks, because at the end of the day Slipknot in the past have been pretty good fun, despite the overplayed novelty of masks and copious band members.

But that was the past, and this is the now. ‘All Hope Is Gone‘ is the Iowa band’s fourth release (yes maggots, I know about the shitty ‘mate.feed.kill.repeat.‘. I’m not counting it.). Their last album brought a lot of mixed comments about it. Outsiders praised vocalist Corey Taylor‘s melodic moments that broke up the mayhem, and yet those ‘fans’ were repulsed at the thought of an acoustic track making an appearance on a Slipknot album. “Where’s the brutal FFS”, they cried.

Its quite incredible to realise that a band which has members there to beat bins like unruly housewives can make it big.
It's incredible to realise that a band which has members whose sole purpose is to beat bins like unruly housewives can make it big.

But Vol.3 was a great leap for the band in my opinion. More credibility could be bestowed upon them as the band had seemed to realise that ‘heavy’ music was not just about shredding your vocal chords down a microphone and bashing dustbin lids constantly. Maybe, just maybe, the guys had to give in to their advancing years, and their settling family lives. The Slipknot brand was always going to change kids, so have they taken things further with ‘All Hope Is Gone’?

Things begin just as you would expect them to – an album intro that has Corey Taylor screaming away in the distance amongst a fuzzy noise, a similar effect to the early parts of ‘Pulse of the Maggots‘ before going straight into the first proper track, ‘Gematria (The Killing Name)‘. It’s token Slipknot, Taylors vocals spitting venom about the American war machine (an effort to get their younger fan base into politics? Is it bollocks, just another tired tirade against Bush’s administration), guitars shredding with the appropriate chug to riff ration that would encourage any neer’do’well to jump around and get physical.

This fun side of the ‘knot plays out for the first few tracks. Lead single ‘Psychosocial‘ initially prompts a cringe as you hear the whispered namesake filling out the song, but despite it’s generic sound you can’t help but get into the chaos as Taylor continues his rampage. He spits fast on this record, for the most part sounding pretty unintelligible, which only adds to the rage that Slipknot seemed to have re-embraced.

Naturally, guitarist Jim Root and Taylor’s now fairly successful side-project Stonesour has without a doubt influenced the Slipknot sound. ‘Sulphur‘ has a melodic air to it, tugging you through the bitter metaphors and later track ‘Dead Memories‘ wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Stonesour’s debut with its quieter guitars and stronger focus on Taylors singing voice. The trouble is, it doesn’t quite work on this album. The whole poppy ballad sounds far too forced, clearly being written to be that song that gets them more mainstream radio play and invites an older generation to experience them, ala Muse with ‘Starlight‘. It’s too flowery, too perfect to really find a place here and the sound rears its head again later on in the album in the form of ‘Snuff‘, an aptly titled track that kills all the flow of the second half of All Hope Is Gone, and in doing so is surely set to become the anthem for unappreciated, unloved teenagers all across the world.

Say what you like about the mask gimmick, but the concept of walking around with Easter Island statues on your head seems wonderful. No, I mean it.
Say what you like about the mask gimmick, but the concept of walking around with Easter Island statues on your head seems wonderful. No, I mean it.

Having mentioned Stonesour, there is one really massive noticeable difference between the two bands. Although the song-writing has become more refined and organised since the side-project, it would seem that it is down to Joey Jordison’s much acclaimed drumming skills to take away the spotlight from the Stonesour influence. You’d think the band are well aware of this as well – on quieter volumes the drums really swamp the sound and never let up, as tribal as ever, and when turned up the sheer groove and rumble from his kit really pads out the music with a very big noise.

What else? Well, ‘Vendetta‘ suffers for the terrible use of chanted “oi’s” in the background, a lame attempt at giving the new songs some easy familiarity with live audiences, ‘Butcher’s Hook‘ struggles to really find a place in your head, with Taylor’s pretty generic lyrics (I don’t want you anymore/I don’t need you anymore) just coming across as a tired phone in and ‘Gehenna‘ takes Taylor’s softer, melodic vocals to a state of brain aching cheesiness (I don’t want to ruin things, but there are oooh’s) and a step by step, made for Guitar Hero, solo.

For all the pedants out there, I know these are the old masks. If you have the time and effort to find a picture of them with their new ones on, then good luck to ya.
For all the pedants out there, I know these are the old masks. If you have the time and effort to find a picture of them with their new ones on, then good luck to ya.

The title track closes the album in a monstrous fashion, avoiding the quiet recooperating hush of Vol.3’s ‘Danger Keep Away‘, instead going for all out festering anger. It’s a brilliant tune that is definietely going to see it’s fair share of radio play, but as an album closer it doesn’t really work, given the sudden jump in pace from ‘Snuff‘ it jars, and the roars of “all hope is gone” aren’t given enough time to really embed themselves into your heart, failing to really invigorate your senses in a rebellious manner as is probably hoped for.

Overall, the album has mixed results. Developing the sound of Slipknot was never going to be a revolution in itself, and Taylor and co. are more than aware that there is little to no freedom for experimenting in a mainstream market that demands a certain thing from this band, hence the side projects. However, it’s said side-project that seems to have amalgamated itself into it’s big daddy, and the resulting album ends up sounding like a collection of ticked boxes of worn ideas. Then again, whatever I say is negligible, given that all those thirteen year olds have already forced mummy to buy the special edition CD from Asda. Such is the rule of blind faith.


17 thoughts on “Album Review: Slipknot – All Hope Is Gone”

  1. Is it really blind faith that makes people buy albums from artists they happen to like? I buy albums from artists I happen to like all the time, and so does everybody else I know-friends, family, mild acquaintances, and the like. It may be blind faith in a sense, but the way you put it, it sounds like anybody who’s gone out and bought an album simply because they liked everything else the artist did is a mindless drone that will gladly eat up any shit the artist happens to drop. That being said, you do have a point there… with Youtube so widely accessible, an with so many people uploading full albums song by song as a slideshow of promo pics or just a singing album cover, it’s much easier to try an album legally before you buy it. Myself, I downloaded the special edition of the album using my little brother’s Zune Pass and played it through.

    And on that subject, I’ll go ahead and say it: personally, I liked the album. Sure, the organization might have been a bit sloppy, but the songs were enjoyable enough to get me to play it through again a few times. And the special edition has its benefits, if you don’t care too much for the album itself: a short “making of” DVD, a paid subscription to the fanclub, three extra songs, and a booklet that is twice as big as the one enclosed in the normal jewel case. All in all, all this together makes it worth the extra seven dollars.

    That’s my argument, so I’ll just close on a lighter note: I didn’t beg mummy to buy me the special edition. I bought it with my own money, thank you very much.

  2. Wow…of all the posts I’ve done, I really didn’t expect the Slipknot one to have a mature and well writen response…thanks for your comment.

    Maybe I was focusing a little too keenly on the younger fanbase of Slipknot in my closing sentences, but I did think the press had got a little carried away with themselves when talking about the album, hailing them as the return of Christ in a way. It’s an ok album, but certainly not one of the year. I guess the same could be applied to the new Metallica album – people are so desparete to want it to be anything but St Anger that they could have written any kind of riff fest to please those ‘fans’.

  3. I am 27, I don´t like all the songs, I think Vendetta could be left out… WWhat you said about Snuff I trully think is shit man… I like it and a lot, and my mom is not breast feeding me nor am I a desperta-for-attention teenager (anymore) I liked it a lot and I enjoy everything they do, I have to find the good stuff in their music, I don’t want to wander around searching for new groups, I like the new shit from chimaira, incubus or slipknot, even deftones… so fuck it… enjoy the cd you maggots, it´s not that bad (not at all) It´s an 8/10 CD for me… not as good as the first 2, but they’re evolving and their next one will be better, but I don’t want any hypocrite despiting this one and when the next great album comes out saying OMG I listen to them,… then u can go fuck yourselves dudes…

    BTW, for me mate.feed.kill.repeat. isn´t as bad as you paint it! it has great guitars I’m an amateur and either i am a very very vad guitar player (by ear only), but I can’t play all of the songs, and corsefini’s volcals wasn’t that bad…

  4. I’m only 13 yet I like slipknot but people think I’m takeing the piss out of them when I say, nice slipknot shirt :/, and kids in school take the piss coz I like them so much so I can’t win, uuurgh

  5. I’m Also 13 , and like 3/34 people in our class (including me) Love SlipKnot – and that’s really funny because nobody else in our TOWN like it.
    so mostly people laughed if me and my friend went to a slipknot concert.
    ever since that theyve laughed at us about a “shitty” band.(ps: why? – because they listen techno : O ).

    Slipknot forever.

  6. im 14 and i absolutely LOVE slipknot so much also my friends at school. i love the crazy ass masks and the insane music that you all play. i also love your new song Psychosocial. its so insane and i love it. i am looking forward in your next album. i would love to see you in concert some time close to home in N.H. hope to see you soon.
    ps- joey jordison is HOTT!!!

  7. To really break the mould of “Slipknot fans” … I’m a 40+ mother of two teenagers. My son and I both love a lot of their music, although I can’t say I agree with a lot of their lyrics. I believe this album is by far the best up to date. It’s a much more mature sound and lyrics. “Snuff” has not just beautiful lyrics but the music emphasises the pain behind the lyrics. I’m so glad they appear to have finally grown out of the “we’re still in high school and will never grow up” attitude that seemed so typical of a lot of their previous work.

    The new album “All Hope Is Gone” while at times does appear to have definate Stone Sour influences – this is perhaps only to be expected as 1/3rd of Slipknot are in Stone Sour. It does still have the incredible pace and energy of previous releases. “Psychosocial”, the first release is a good example of this along with “Wherein Lies Continue”, and “Butchers Hook”. “Dead Memories”, the latest single, gives another insight into the pain and suffering of broken relationships. Are they becoming more mainstream? Possibly. Or maybe they are just growing up – a bit.

    If you have never listened to them before, check out the songs on You Tube. You may be surprised.

    *thumbs up to the nine*.
    Great job guys.

  8. Thanks the for taking the time out to comment, it’s really nice to hear another perspective. I don’t think my mother would agree with you however!

  9. Yo, Slipknot is like a really awesome band and if there were no Slipknot IDK what i’d do, because i love Slipknot and its a way to be different and thats my thing, (and my boyfriend’s,) I love the songs: Before I Forget, Psycosocial, THe Nameless, Fuck it All, and Spit it Out, and all the rest. I HATE it when people say they’re EMO because, HELLO they’re obviously METAL. Maybe I can see that because i was raiseed listening to this kind of music. And Disturbed kicks ass too. If you haven’t heard Disturbed you should give them a try if you love Slipknot. (P.S. If you’ve heard the song ‘Down With The Sickness’ thats Disturbed’

  10. Hi iam johan.
    I live in Holland.
    Iam14 years old.

    I love slipknot

    3 or 4 people in our scool loves slipknot.
    They think iam emo because i always listen it:P


  11. well for starters, All Hope is Gone is a great album, nothing more nothing less. Reading alot of these reviews will help prepare a hardcore Slipknot fan to the new experiemental sound they put into this record. Do not expect this to be the best album… But at the same time, do not expect it to be the worst, for everyone has there own opinion. Corey Taylor obviously tried to push some of Stone Sour’s sound into this album which varys as a good thing or a bad thing for everyone has they’re own opinion. Although this album isnt really the Slipknot you know, some of the albums new sound will be suprisingly enjoyable. Such as “Butchers Hook” or “Wherein Lies Continue” each having a different sound, is still greatly written and highly addictive to listen to. The odd thing is that it is NOT the slipknot i like.

    im gonna be honest, this was the first album i’ve purchased. But i’m aware of slipknot’s better tracks. (Like surfacing, frail limb nursery, purity, tattered and torn, eyeless, Sic, etc…) So i’m not that much of a “Noob” to they’re music.

    I bought the album not knowing what the heck im about to listen to, after giving the album a go, i wasnt impressed at all. After a second listen i got used to it. After a third time, my ears adjusted and accepted the new direction Slipknot is going in.

    After this i’ve realised alot of great bands are going mainstream lately. And the track “.execute.” talks about how even Corey himself is succumbed to mainstream, if reading the lyrics because they are kinda hard to understand…

    the album goes into a political point of view… But im gonna need more time to get into that… a deeper conversation… another time..

    7/10… its alright, a good 2 to 3 listens and you’ll adjust to they’re new direction…

    i’m 14 years old. And im gonna stick with slipknot till the grave… Whats a band without its loyal fans anyways?

  12. Well I only started to like slipknot a few years ago. It took me a long time to get use to the (for lack of a better word) screamo-ish-ness. But I loved the music, it is really technical(especially the drums). I played it at work and everyone bashed them, saying how i must be a really angry person to listen to music like that, then I played a few of the ballads for them and non of them could believe it was the same band. Even though some of their slower songs are kinda lame, for a band to be able to play such diverse music is amazing. How many new band’s songs all sound the same?
    I am sure that a lot of people would say that all of Slipknot’s music sounds the same.
    The ONLY bad thing about them(so far) is that they don’t play enough concerts in Canada, particularly BC! I have been dieing to go see them, but they never come close enough, and I am not going to go across the country, or to a different country just to see a band!
    BTW i am a 20year old, jazz saxophone player, so you can’t say i just listen to it because it is cool! Band campers don’t know the meaning of cool lol

  13. im more into avenged sevenfold and hollywood undead; but its chill your totally amazing! im brooke 13 in florida and everybody i hang out with listens to rap; im like the only rocker. lol raps for faggets and not me.

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