posted on 11/2005 By:
What I’m about to say may well utterly destroy any chance I have of gaining credibility as a writer on this site, especially since this is the first review I’ve contributed. Keeping that in mind, here goes nothing.
I like Slipknot.
No, I don’t revere them as gods or saviors of metal, and I find more than a few of their gimmicks unnecessary and annoying – I never quite understood the whole mask thing, and no band needs nine fulltime members to create the music that Slipknot puts out – but I also don’t despise them with the same intensity that most purists seem to. The songwriting isn’t exceptional by any stretch of the imagination, the lyrics are generally derivative, and the only proven talent in the band is drummer Joey Jordison, but I still enjoy the music enough to throw on one of their CD’s when I need a change of pace.
That said, Slipknot’s latest release, a live 24-track double-disc offering that is fittingly titled 9.0 Live is not very good at all. Granted, live recordings are generally reserved for diehard fans that do whatever is necessary to collect a band’s entire catalogue, but this CD is home to so many obvious flaws that even the most dedicated of those fans will be forced to admit that it’s not up to par.
An awful mix mars 9.0 Live to the point of being painful. The guitars are buried under a layer of white noise that reduces the riffs to muffled fuzz and little else. Some of the more uninspired guitar parts (found in songs such as “Disasterpiece”, “Left Behind”, and “The Heretic Anthem”) sound even worse because of how badly distorted they are. Jordison’s drums are overpowered, so much so that on my first listen it felt as though the rest of the band was struggling just to keep pace because they couldn’t hear themselves over the volume of the kick drum. For the most part, his playing is airtight, and he adds in a few interesting fills and extras not found on the albums, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing I want to hear. On the whole, I’m surprised that Roadrunner didn’t invest a bit more time, money, and effort into the production of this album, especially when taking into account the fact that Slipknot is one of their flagship bands.
9.0 Live also suffers from some disappointingly poor performances. After reading countless articles praising Slipknot’s live show (I’ve never seen them live myself), I really can’t bring myself to believe that 9.0 Live is an accurate portrayal of the band at the top of their game. Almost every one of the twenty-four cuts is played far slower than they are on CD, which wipes out all of the intensity that’s so integral to Slipknot’s overall sound. The biggest letdown is probably vocalist Corey Taylor. On the studio albums, Taylor’s voice and delivery is among the best of its kind. Live, however, his singing is often flat and mumbled, and his screams are weak and tired-sounding.
This obviously isn’t a release aimed at casual fans of Slipknot, and with the large number of problems detracting from the quality of 9.0 Live, I’d even hesitate in recommending it to the more hardcore followers of the band.
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