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Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter (Deluxe Edition)

2014… Paul Gray had passed away, and Joey Jordinson left the band… would Slipknot continue? Haha of course they fuckin’ would! And they’d drop one helluva record, in this one, too. It’s a cohesive effort, full of that (by now) trademark Slipknot sound, uncompromising and unapologetic. As ever. The melodic bits blend seamlessly with the blastingly heavy bits and, for a band reeling from death and loss, they’re still able to pummel forward relentlessly.

There were six (6!) singles from this one: The Negative One, The Devil In I, Custer, Killpop, XIX, and Goodbye. One track that stood out to me was Skeptic. It’s as brutal and naked and heartfelt a goodbye as only a band like Slipknot could do it. Great stuff.

Also: “The Negative One” received a nomination for Best Metal Performance at the 57th annual Grammy Awards. The album was nominated for Best Rock Album the following year, along with a Best Metal Performance nomination for the song “Custer.”

This Deluxe edition has two bonus tracks, Override, and The Burden, both of which coulda been album tracks (to me!). These are followed by two minutes of silence (presumably a minutes’ silence each for Gray and Jordinson). This is followed by -Talk- which is a weirdo improv thing that resolves into some guy lying his ass off about his songwriting abilities, and -Funny- well, I suppose it is? Amateur accordion and brass section flail a bit while a voice says some crap… I dunno, I’d skip these last tracks. The two bonus tracks were good, though.

Overall? It’s a Slipknot record from 2014, representative of the sound they were making then. It ain’t fully the old shit, but it’s still brutal as hell and for that I cannot fault it.

Hit It Or Quit It? \m/  Hit!  \m/

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Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter

Brother Wilf bought tickets to go see Slipknot (with Korn) in Toronto on November 30 on their Prepare For Hell tour. Every ticket purchased came with a free download of the album, which I thought was a cool touch.  Since he bought several tickets, and some people going to the show with him already the album (Slipknot had been leaking a track a day prior to release), he sent one of the freebie downloads to me! New Slipknot for me! RAWK!

[NB. Wilf also bought the CD – he really likes supporting these guys…]

At one point, I owned their last record (All Hope Is Gone), though I can’t tell you what happened to it, now. I thought it was here but… no. Alas. Over the years, I have owned all of this band’s albums – owned them, sold them off, loaned them out… whatever the case, I do not currently have any of their records here, and that’s a terrible oversiiiiight!!

The band went through a difficult time after that last album (2008), when bassist Paul Gray died in 2010 due to drugs/heart disease. There are tracks here that are obviously in eulogy for him, and I was told by someone that some of the music contained herein was written by him before his death, but I have no idea if that’s true. The band also fired drummer Joey Jordinson in 2013. A new bassist and drummer were added for the recording of this album, though their identities were not released (they wore masks in the video), leading to a whole lot of speculation and drumming up publicity for the record. A smart move on the band’s part, after so long away.

I like Slipknot. They have a sound, an intelligence, aggression and that something that pleases me greatly.

And this record, their first in six years, is phenomenally good. The riffs are blistering and slinky, the grooves are heavy and completely satisfying. There are a few moments that are more melodic, and the intro track is an incredibly haunting slower piece, but for the most part this record is built to cause mayhem and destruction. In other words, it’s another perfect Slipknot album. Other reviews online have said that this record puts together the best elements of all of their albums, to date, and I can’t argue with that. I’m too busy banging my head to this monster of a record!

Thanks heaps for getting this into my ears, Brother Wilf!  \m/  \m/

Slipknot Mess It Up

I know you care about Slipknot. We all do. They don’t need to be the CD you hide behind the stereo when friends come over, you know. They’re not a guilty pleasure. They are a great band, be proud!

But they’ve messed up their Hits collection, Antennas To Hell, which just came out recently. Oh, the track selection is fine – excellent, in fact. I’m sure all of those songs sound great together, probably the mixtape most fans already have in their players, give or take a personal favourite here or there. No, they screwed up when the final release replaced a couple of perfectly fine album songs with live tracks and remixes. Now honestly, why the hell would you do that?

Mike says KISS have songs from KISS Alive that are the accepted version, over the album tracks. Well, that’s fine for KISS and those who enjoy them. Slipknot are not KISS. It’s a wonder they even live on the same planet, but there you go. And I know a lot of bands do this. The Essential Iron Maiden is another one that earned my ire… oh who am I kidding, the list of Hits collections ruined by live tracks instead of album versions is long and distinguished.

No, My Plague gets to be the ‘New Abuse Mix’ of itself, and Heretic Anthem and Purity get the live track treatment. What’s wrong with the original album tracks? NOTHING. So why replace them with these versions? Worse, the Deluxe edition of this set already comes with an entire live album! If you really want a live version, make sure the song you want is on there! Or tack them on at the end of either disc, as bonus tracks. But on the main Hits disc, for the meat of the project, leave well enough alone and have the album versions there. Honestly, people, is this really so difficult?

You’re not selling it to me by adding these other versions, you’re pushing me away. And you’re ruining your own history by using alternate versions.

Finally! Some new shit!

Yes, it’s been a pathetically long time since my last appearance here. But remember, it’s like John Lennon said, “life is what happens when you’re busy making plans,” and man, I have been busy making plans to post here for WAY too long. So here’s some of the shit I’ve been listening to. More to come, ‘cos I’ve filled my iPod with all kinds of stuffs. Wahoo!

Terrible Hostess, Volume 2

Hooray for our friends at Mint Records! As you all know, Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle have just released a tasty new disc of excellent music called Let’s Just Stay Here. Talk about making our year! So, in honour of this release, our great friends at Mint sent us some really sweet swag… buttons and stickers (love the airline ‘Fragile’ stickers with Air Carolyn on them!), a Carolyn and NQ luggage tag, and a blood red dish towel to go with a beautiful copy of Carolyn’s Terrible Hostess: Recipes For Disaster, Volume 2 cookbook! Some of the recipes look downright tasty and I can’t wait to try them (with recommended music playing and recommended drink in hand).

Slayer – World Painted Blood

Business-as-usual chaos as only Slayer can muster it. Play this as loud as your player can go. SLAYER!

Slipknot – Slipknot 10th Anniversary Edition

The CD’s the real draw in this set, with all the brutal honesty and aggression intact… and bonus tracks! Sweet.

Hawksley Workman – We’ll Make Time (Even When There Ain’t No Time)

New Hawksley is coming! Get ready! James found this radio broadcast world premiere. It’s a one-idea slow build with enough lyrics to make anyone run out of breath, crashing full-on into rock-out bliss. Ah, Hawksley.

Guided By Sloan

Just noticed that in the liner notes for Sloan’s Navy Blues, Guided By Voices is listed as having shared the stage. Imagine THAT show! I think I’d pass out with bliss…

Big Pink – A Brief History Of Love

Spent the whole time listening to this recognizing all of the influences that have given them their sound (U2, Oasis, Coldplay and tiresomely beyond). Shame they haven’t found their own sound out of the list.

Cage The Elephant – Cage The Elephant

This would sound great live. Kind of reminds me of the Trews although, if they meant what they said in the first track, they don’t give a shit what comparisons I can make. Just a great, fun rawk record.

Wild Beasts – Limbo, Panto

Oddly compelling, with weird party music and falsetto vocals. Could almost be the soundtrack to a 60’s stage show musical. Are we sure this isn’t a Darkness side project?

Yim Yames – A Tribute To

My Morning Jacket dude’s tribute to George Harrison. Stripped-down renditions show the strength of the originals and let the covers shine too.

Miranda Lambert – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

New country meets the moxy of the classic country ladies of days gone by, with a few dud tracks thrown in. This lady can sing, that’s for sure. One foot in a bold new direction, the other stuck in the same old schtick.

Iggy Pop – Preliminaires

Man, Iggy rules. Only this particular wild man could foist such a collection of jazzy. bluesy, rock-ish and Parisian-sounding stuff on our ears and get away with it. And without ridicule, too. Strangely compulsive, and not just because it’s Iggy (and therefore we must love it). A welcome diversion, so long as it’s not an admission that he’s finally slowing down for good.

Harry Connick, Jr. – Blue Light, Red Light

This takes me back to high school .Yes, I was THAT guy back then. Still am now, I’ll have you know. Great swing, astounding arrangements in the best of this style’s traditions. Could be the soundtrack to a grainy-colour 60’s musical, and that’s a very, very good thing.

Flight Of The Conchords – I Told You I Was Freaky

We all love these guys by now, with their quirky humour that’s laugh-out-loud funny. Even if you set aside the images from the TV show in your mind, this is still an hilariously danceable record. These guys are really onto something.

Slipknot – All Hope Is Gone

Every Slipknot record is an uncompromising exercise in brutal chaos and energy, especially their first two. Beginning with their third, and now carried on here with their fourth new collection, the band branches out into more thoughtful directions while still maintaining their dedication, integrity and work ethic.

The level of their musicianship continues to rise, with complicated riffs that pay homage to the best of speed metal, and with chugging heavy sections and pounding double kick-bass that I just know would sound amazing in concert. The Maggots will be thrilled that a beast as great as this has emerged after four long years of waiting for new word from their heroes.

If ever there was a Slipknot record that contained tracks that rock radio might consider playing, this would be it. You can take that as a good or a bad omen, depending on what suits your personal opinion of this band. For my money, Gematria, Sulfur, Wherein Lies Continue and the title track rock the hardest,although next listen I’ll maybe choose different tracks again until eventually I’ll say the whole thing rocks. It happens every time.

This version also has three bonus tracks and an odd, kind of boring and yet strangely compelling making-of DVD.

You should go for it. And turn it the hell up.

Track Listing:
01 execute
02 Gematria (The Killing Name)
03 Sulfur
04 Psychosocial
05 Dead Memories
06 Vendetta
07 Butcher’s Hook
08 Gehenna
09 This Cold Black
10 Wherein Lies Continue
11 Snuff
12 All Hope Is Gone

Bonus Tracks:
13 Child Of Burning Time
14 Vermillion Pt.2 (Bloodstone Mix)
15 ‘Til We Die

DVD:
nine: The Making Of All Hope Is Gone

Slipknot – 9.0: Live

Since you’re a dialed-in music afficianado, you probably have an opinion about Slipknot. Me? Why, thanks for asking! Well, I can’t listen to them all the time, but sometimes they are the only thing that scratches that itch, ya know? Yeah, you know what I mean. Admit it.

This is angst and anger, violence and volume, musicianship and mayhem. This is hilarious (and very repetitive) exhortations of the crowd to yell, jump and raise their fists. Basically, everything you’d expect. Right on.

The drums on this record are fantastic. At least, that’s the first thing that strikes me right in the forehead. The guitars squeal and chug perfectly. The vocals are a little slurred, but I suppose that’s because everything is being yelled from behind a Halloween mask. But what a great howl, nonetheless. Damn.

Anyway, all the hits are here. Fans already own this, and those of you who don’t care haven’t even read this far. That’s cool too. But I’ll tell you that this is the live record for you, if you’re in the market for having your cage rattled.

rhymeallnight.com/

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