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A Slip Up For Slipknot
on 27 August 2008
At the southern edge of The Home Forest is a vast field of corn
stretching away to an uncertain horizon.
A dirt track winds it's way from who-knows-where to a small circle
of silver birch trees, marooned like an island, among the waves of
an undulating yellow sea.
At the centre of this stark enclave stands an old wooden barn.
Broken and bruised weather-bleached boards are testimony
to years of neglect.
The woodland creatures instinctively know this to be a bad place.
Badger, Fieldmouse, Raven, Bat or Wolf. None will go near it.
Sometimes at dusk we have seen shadows move fleetingly within and
around it's walls. Uncertain shapes. Half-heard gutteral whispers.
Slipknot's devotees have an innate empathic connection with The Dark Side.
It's good to be scared. It's fun to peer into the Heart Of Darkness
and see ourselves reflected there.
Slipknot have until now been good companions on this occasional journey.
I say "until now" because 'All Hope Is Gone' is a great disappointment.
The tried and tested formula (for formula, however worthy, is what it is)
is beginning to sound a bit tired.
The blisteringly fast machine-gun percussion; the twin-lead guitar volleys;
the shoutey-growley vocals.
We've heard it before and we've heard it done more convincingly.
'Vol.3 - The Submiminal Verses' delivered the goods in spades.
'Iowa' remains their tortured, twisted masterpiece.
There are, to be fair, some redeeming moments.
'Sulfur'; 'Butcher's Hook'; 'This Cold Black' and 'All Hope Is Gone'
all demonstrate Slipknot's continuing ability to throw out some
good dark energy....but it's slim pickings.
Mr Taylor seems to be experimenting at times with his sensitive side.
On the pitiful evidence of 'Snuff' and "bonus" track 'Child Of
Burning Time' he really should have left it well alone.
More decline than development. More comfort-zone than risk-taking.
'All Hope Is Gone' bears witness to an erstwhile great band's
growing complacency, lack of focus and loss of vision.
Let us hope that the execrable strains of 'Psychosocial' will not be
their final legacy.