Album Review: Slipknot – .5: The Gray Chapter

Like a punch to the throat, Slipknot’s style is distinctly dark, powerful, and about as aggressive as music can get, but after a five year hiatus and the departure of two band members, can ‘The Gray Chapter’ live up to a legacy that left albums like ‘Iowa’ and their self-titled album in its wake?

Following the death of bassist Paul Gray in 2010, Slipknot have been waiting for the right time to return to the studio, and after the departure of drummer Joey Jordison their work and emotion culminates in the respectfully entitled ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’

‘The Gray Chapter’ opens with a slow, dark introduction, written by Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan. The song is about the band as pallbearers carrying Paul’s coffin. It certainly sets the tone for the album: dark, melodic and emotionally and thematically heavy.

The first thing you’ll notice is that this is very much a Slipknot record, but the sound is somewhere in between ‘All Hope Is Gone’ and ‘Iowa’; it’s fast and aggressive but there also some powerful melodies woven in between the heavy vibes. I would say it’s closer to the sound of ‘All Hope Is Gone’, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some insane blast beat and double pedal rhythms that will have you headbanging wherever you’re listening to this. Considering the band has undergone two band member departures, the style is distinctly Slipknot.

Overall there is plenty of variation for fans. Many weren’t huge on the clean vocals of ‘The Devil In I‘, claiming it sounded too much like Stone Sour, but even those should be happy with the more aggressive, heavier tracks on the album. For fans of the slower, more melodic songs like ‘Snuff’ from ‘All Hope is Gone’, ‘Goodbye’ will certainly scratch that itch. The first half of the song is reminiscent of ‘Snuff’’s moody ambience, breaking into a more aggressive but equally powerful second half.

Whether it’s the album that fans have been waiting for is up to the fans themselves to decide, but I certainly think so. It has some powerful riffs and rhythms that Slipknot fans are familiar with, and some equally powerful lyrics and melodies. Let’s face it – bands change over time, and the kind of music they make varies. This isn’t Iowa 2.0, but it is a new chapter of Slipknot that does justice to the band’s legacy; it is The Gray Chapter.


Slipknot are touring the UK in January with Korn. 

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