Slipknot: 15 Years On

Fifteen years ago yesterday, one of the last truly ‘massive’ albums, both in terms of critical acclaim and impact on musical history, was released. Slipknot’s self-titled debut was the catalyst required to reignite heavy music from the doldrums of grunge and it became a blueprint for many bands to follow. Upon release, Slipknot were branded as a nu metal act, but apart from the genre’s characteristic raw aggression, their music shared little similarity with their rap-rock peers such as Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and Papa Roach.

The truth is they had invented their own genre: Slipknot. A genre formed around the unique bond between the nine members.

Slipknot stands the test of time because of this brotherhood. The record is as energetic as their hectic live shows (show being the word of choice – Slipknot’s stage antics often resemble late night wrestling) and the songs were written for themselves, not to appeal to an audience or to satisfy a musical vision. Because of this, the soul of Slipknot (and as many interviews tell, a lot of spilled blood) is on the record, caught painstakingly by producer Ross Robinson, who was the man responsible for acquiring them a deal with Roadrunner Records.

15 years on, the band are still at the forefront of metal, albeit limping slightly from the loss of key writers Paul Gray and Joey Jordison. To mark this anniversary, this blog will detail what I believe are the five most important songs from Slipknot’s debut album.

 (sic)

(sic) begins with a barrage of percussion, a barrage the band would come to define themselves with. Slipknot have a startling three percussion players and alongside the scratches and scrapes of DJ Sid Wilson,  they have a unique sound dominated by chaos rather than melody. On (sic) Corey Taylor’s vocals really shine, his delivery is ferocious, mixing whispers with almost delirious screams.

Wait And Bleed

All albums, no matter what genre, require a sense of dynamics in the flow of the track listing. Although Wait And Bleed isn’t quite a ballad, it is a track that shows Taylor and co. can deliver melody and it would also lead the way for the more commercially orientated singles of the future. Wait And Bleed still features plenty of noise, but it is organised in such a way that the aggression is channeled, rather than allowed to spread aimlessly through the song.

Purity

Although Purity features on the original release, all subsequent pressings (excluding the 10th anniversary edition) omit this track. It was removed due to a copyright claim that argued that the song’s concept was stolen from a fictional story. The case would eventually be won by the band and the song would later appear on 9.0: Live and Antennas To Hell, whilst also becoming a fan favourite. Most new bands wouldn’t bother to get involve in big copyright cases and would simply give in, but even as a young band Slipknot showed they meant business and wouldn’t take no as an answer.

No Life

No Life is arguably the one track that earned Slipknot their nu metal tag. It features several rapped verses from Taylor, as well as clean sections, over rolling percussion and an array of buzzing and scrapes, reminding of Korn’s early nu metal style.

Spit It Out

Spit It Out is the most focused track on the album. It also showcases everything that is Slipknot within one song; there are wild turntable scratches, bizarre effects, heavy guitars, a cacophony of drums and plenty of vocal variety from Taylor. Despite the eclectic mix of sounds, Spit It Out is a refined effort that might just be the Iowa nine-piece’s greatest achievement.

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