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Ferocious, fearless and gloriously fast-paced, We Are Not Your Kind is as thrilling as it is dark in parts, encompassing everything fans have come to expect from a Slipknot record and much more.
Four years in the making, the huge, hard-hitting release offers a window into some of the issues that have marred the band and its members in recent years. Slipknot’s journey since the release of 2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter has seen them undergo line-up changes, divorces and face lawsuits involving former long-time member Chris Fehn – plus the introduction of his replacement, affectionately referred to as Tortilla Man – who has yet to be identified. The resulting music is immaculate and meticulous, with disturbing and often bleak lyrics delivered with rage and vulnerability on a bed of precise, thundering drums and killer riffs.
The slow creeping opener Insert Coin merges seamlessly with lead single Unsainted, utilising ethereal-sounding choir voices to foreshadow the impending destruction. Pummelling drums, catchy licks and clean vocals rage on, and from then it’s almost hard to keep up.
Known for their deliberately chaotic live shows and elaborate stage set-up – and their continued refusal to conform – the record follows suit. We Are Not Your Kind travels some unfamiliar paths for the group too.
In addition to the choir, used by the masked metallers for the first time, a creepy piano lurks alongside innovative electronic beats, jangling guitars and vocals which shift easily between guttural rage and slick choruses, showcasing the band’s need to experiment, and the results are fierce.
Nero Forte, Orphan and Critical Darling are all striking – Slipknot at their best. Critical Darling’s verses are fast and faultless, clearing the path for a classic Knot chorus, while Nero Forte is as brutal as it is catchy.
Taylor’s formidable and masterful vocal on Red Flag propels the record forward at speed, with such a tempo it’s easy to forget that 2018’s standalone single All Out Life from which We Are Not Your Kind takes its name – is not included in the album’s final track list.
Metal ballad Liar’s Funeral exposes their softer side before their masked leader unleashes an unrelenting, gravelly chorus, reminiscent of the understated power of Vermillion Pt. 2 from Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses).
The brooding Spiders feels cinematic, carried by an unnerving piano melody that would sit comfortably soundtracking John Carpenter’s Halloween franchise, while My Pain is perhaps the most intriguing – experimental and slow-burning, the verses demonstrate a lullaby element, with twinkling keys, set against a rhythmic chime and gentle harmonies.
Together the tracks break the mould while managing to stay true to form. Slipknot are well and truly back, and it’s certainly been worth the wait.
Following a mammoth headline set at this year’s Download Festival, Slipknot announced a huge 2020 tour. Dates and venues to be confirmed. [Find out more]
1. Insert Coin
3. Birth Of The Cruel
4. Death Because Of Death
5. Nero Forte
6. Critical Darling
7. Liar’s Funeral
8. Red Flag
9. What’s Next
12. My Pain
13. Not Long For This World
14. Solway Firth
Listen to We Are Not Your Kind on Spotify: