Slipknot – The End, So Far

A heavy duty return that almost touches greatness...

Hell hath no fury quite like a fresh Slipknot record. Three years on from 2019’s ‘We Are Not Your Kind’, the heavy metal titans are back; serving as a masterful foray into the guts of all things heavy, ‘The End, So Far’ is a rip-roaring dose of sharp structures and bruising breakdowns. Seven albums in, Slipknot are continuing to twist our expectations; this is a release that strives to tie together all-out ragers with exciting new space-rock qualities and moments of slow, sombre tension. ‘The End, So Far’ is ambitiously diverse – for better and for worse.

There’s no shortage of blisteringly heavy tracks on ‘The End, So Far’. Lead single ‘The Chapeltown Rag’ absolutely rumbles in your bones, while ‘The Dying Song’ is overflowing with grit, pairing gristly breakdowns with a ferocious belter of a chorus. Of course, the drumming on the most feral tracks is rip-roaring and glorious – Jay Weinberg’s drumming is reliably sensational. ‘Hivemind’ in particular is a total drumming stand-out, knocking out a nauseating, heart-stuttering drumbeat that sounds surreally crisp on track. The track is truly a hivemind in itself, so much going on, tripping over its own feet in a way that feels euphorically meaty.

Elsewhere, this heaviness is also filtered into some poignant, strongly worded sonic statements. Slipknot can always be relied upon to call out shit – even if it’s patting you on the shoulder with a well-meaning cry of “my advice, don’t think twice… always buy brand new” when considering the ‘Warranty’ on your next fridge (we jest, of course – we doubt Corey Taylor cares if we buy a second hand Bosch or not). ‘H377’ has raged etched into every note as it howls “I’m a product of the system”, every line rotting with venom as the instrumentals ignite the fury further. ‘Medicine For The Dead’ is equally as cut-throat, commanding to be shown the “blood of kings” before falling into a cry of acid-reflux breakdowns and sprinkling of space-rock inflections. 

Slipknot – The End, So Far

However, while a blood-curdling breakdown is what many look for in a Slipknot record, ‘The End, So Far’ delivers equally as compelling moments of quiet. ‘Adderal’ and ‘Finale’ are slow, space-y and atmospheric, capturing a dark, almost funeral-march-like quality. Choir vocals are utilised sparingly, and their inclusion works wonders; moving from Corey Taylor’s nightmarish rumbles into angelic, feather-light cries is very powerful. The contrasting textures is unsettling in the best way, resulting in something effortlessly powerful.

The most intriguing track in terms of quiet experimentation is undoubtedly ‘Yen’. The track is underpinned by a crackling texture, while creeping vocals entice you into the depths of the track. It’s like a firepit exchange of scary stories, the atmosphere devouring you before rumbling into a hard-hitting, fleshy chorus.

Overall, ‘The End, So Far’ is a remarkable punch of sharp, sobering heavy metal. Slipknot yet again thrive in their signature darkness – however, there it no doubt that this album would be elevated by more cohesion. The space-rock elements are exciting, yet seem to be thrown in as an after thought, and the brilliant textures captures on tracks like ‘Yen’ could have easily been tied in elsewhere. This is an album that is definitely strong, but could have been masterful if more threads were tied together.

8/10

Words: Emily Swingle

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