There’s an argument from some corners of the music industry to suggest metal isn’t a leading genre in 2015. Pft.
This wild claim, naturally, overlooks the monstrous (and continued) success of Download Festival, and this week, a Slipknot tour that received more mainstream praises than anyone would’ve anticipated back in 1999. Not to mention the abundance of gigantic metal goings-on across the globe.
Hailed as one of the most controversial – largely because of their power to captivate and influence – nu-metal acts of the noughties, the Iowa mob kicked off this year by proving they’re still one of the best live bands around.
The nine-date headline run saw Slipknot stake claim on some of the UK’s biggest arenas, bringing with them, an extravagant stage set-up, tons of fire canons and enough big sing-alongs to tug at the heartstrings of pop fans.
In London, Corey Taylor led his bandmates in front of a 12,500 capacity crowd, with all the passion, confidence and dedication the band’s near 20-year-career has afforded him.
“Are you out there?” the frontman would roar to the SSE Arena, Wembley, before legions of fans would sing back like a glee club on a sugar rush.
The Prepare For Hell tour supports the release of Slipknot’s fifth studio album, 5: The Gray Chapter. Not least the band’s first release since 2008’s All Hope Is Gone, the highly-acclaimed record marks the first album since the tragic death of bassist and founding member, Paul Gray.
Fans certainly wouldn’t have blamed the band for calling it quits, but through heartache and line-up changes, Slipknot are the ones breathing new life into 2015’s metal scene. You only have to gaze around the UK crowds, made up of young and old, to see that there’s an active audience lapping up Slipknot’s message.
So, as new album tracks like The Devil In I, Custer and The Negative One switch into oldies, Spit It Out, Vermilion and Surfacing, it’s hard to imagine a metal scene without Slipknot at the forefront.
Sure, they’re slicker than they were in the Iowa days,and their live show is planned to precision, but it all falls flat without the crowd’s enthusiasm for everything that’s laid out for them.
What has the Prepare For Hell tour taught us about metal in 2015, then? Not only that it’s just as powerful and abrasive for its captive audience, but that it’s a real force to be reckoned with in the mainstream. Not necessarily proven by number one albums, but with reviews in broadsheet newspapers, trending topics on Twitter and in sheer ticket sales.
That, and it’s still a whole lot of fun.
When Slipknot return to headline Download Festival in 2015, joining Muse and Kiss on the iconic bill, they’ll put on another massive show, with all the fire, the lights and the showmanship of this tour.
Beyond this familiar kind of brilliance, Slipknot’s ability to better themselves comes at a crucial time when metal is searching for its next set of headliners. New bands, take note. You could be the next Slipknot.
Did you catch Slipknot on the Prepare For Hell tour? Tell us what you thought at @TicketmasterUK.