Textures of experimentation add a new twist to old nu-metal glories…

Blending their trademark sound with experimental textures, American heavy metal giants Slipknot go back to their nu-metal roots on ‘We Are Not Your Kind’. It’s their sixth LP and the first since 2014’s cathartic 2014 ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ that channelled their grief following founding bassist Paul Gray’s fatal overdose.

Slipknot have taken their time over this production – drawing on other stories of pain such as frontman Corey Taylor’s marriage break-up and the stabbing of guitarist Mick Thomson – and harking back to brutal, howling metal while revealing flashes of a newer, much gentler, sound. They’re pushing their own sonic boundaries while being rooted in the band’s past, creating a masterful mix of unexpected yet pleasing artsy tangents and their distinctive hooligan riffs.

Working acoustic strums into tracks – such as the electro-tinged, haunting ‘My Pain’ – and also bringing in a new-age tenderness and sophistication – with the deceptively calm ‘Not Long for This World’ – the album manages to thrill and simultaneously sooth.

The soundscape here feels seems methodically jumbled, as it jumps from the catchiest track of the lot – the choir-style ‘Unsainted’ – to rampant synth-rocking ‘Solway Firth’. The eerie backdrop of ‘Death Because Of Death’ gives way to the intense riffs of ‘Nero Forte’ which then seamlessly moves into the thunderous vocals of Corey Taylor on ‘Critical Darling’.

Whether on the disco-esque and anthemic ‘Red Flag’, the nu-metal throwback of ‘Birth of the Cruel’ or on the stand-out final track ‘Solway Firth’, the production brings in a rawness that address issues of the mind (self-esteem, depression, grief, substance abuse) while still banging out guttural screams and catchy singing.

Slipknot make an unexpected impact with their newly-discovered tenderness, but it’s those instantly-recognisable throat-shredding roars that really shine. The band themselves have compared this album to their second LP ‘Iowa’, considered to be their heaviest and darkest production to date and ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ feels like the Iowan group’s attempt to recapture old glory, with an added twist of wisdom. With these newly discovered textures of experimentation, they’ve managed to make their well-established musical prowess shine even brighter. The masked legends of nu-metal continue to prevail.

7/10

Words: Malvika Padin

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