All Hope Is Gone
posted on 11/2008 By:
When the boss was looking for someone to review the new Slipknot album, even several weeks past the release date, I was the only person who volunteered. This just goes to show you that I'm a glutton for punishment. That or I'm a company man. At any rate, here I sit with the unenviable task of talking to the MetalReview.com audience about All Hope is Gone, an album which most of you have likely either ignored completely, or used to try out new ways of saying a band sucks. That's fine - just scroll down to the lashes section and show us what you've come up with. In the meantime, I'll dish out my three cents worth on the issue.
The time leading up to the release of All Hope is Gone was strange. There was a good amount of publicity around it, but it just didn't seem like the big deal that the last two albums were. Particularly strange given that the band spent the summer headlining the Rockstar Mayhem Festival, and took every opportunity to promote the upcoming album onstage. Personally, after an hour of that, I was ready to tell Corey Taylor to shove the thing up his ass - nothing like a band telling you repeatedly to buy their new album almost two months prior to release to agitate a guy. In spite of that, I still tracked the album down as soon as I could. Maybe some of those "subliminal verses" had carried over.
"Gematria (The Killing Kind)" was an excellent choice to open the album after the obligatory, if not disposable, intro. It has a fast, heavy groove with multiple tempo changes and some hooky vocal lines - basically everything I like about Slipknot. "Vendetta" has a similar effect, complete with a death metal-inspired opening riff and double-bass. Later, "This Cold Black" slows things down to a midtempo without losing any bite. The title track closes the album, and as one of the first songs released from the album, ironically gave me hope that the album would be a hit. Loud and chaotic, in many ways it recalls their self-titled debut album. Although I prefer Iowa, it was good to hear the band could still get raw.
One thing I hate about Slipknot is their unnerving ability to make me like a song that I don't like. I thought "Psychosocial" was a weak, albeit typical, choice for the first single. The clean vocals and bouncy chorus had me rolling my eyes form the moment it was released to radio back in July. Now, I find myself singing along and rocking out to it. It's the same thing that happened with "Wait and Bleed" from their debut: I didn't like it so much then, but now I look forward to singing it at karaoke night. The same thing happened with "Sulfur." Although the verses were strong, the chorus killed it for me - now it too has me rocking out. Meanwhile, "Butcher's Hook" and "Wherein Lies Continue" fall somewhere in between the "instant hits" and the "creepers." Both tracks have their ups and downs but for me ultimately fall on the positive end of the spectrum.
But, I just can't forgive the band when they turn the volume down and trade being musically heavy for emotionally heavy: "Gehenna," "Snuff," and "Dead Memories" all fall into that category (to be fair, the latter isn't as bad as the other two.) They aren't necessarily bad, but they're not what I want out of Slipknot. These would all have been a better fit on a Stone Sour album, where a little mellowness and acoustic guitar is more the norm.
As much as I hate to say it, All Hope is Gone is about what you'd expect from a Slipknot album. The formula hasn't changed: some heavy chaos, some mid-range radio tracks, and a few tender moments to give the guys a break. That's what the maggots have come to expect, and the band is more than happy to deliver. Folks like me who had started to become disenfranchised may find redemption in the harder material but will continue to be disappointed at the commercial leanings. And, of course, if you hated them before, you'll still hate them now - but they're not writing the album for you, are they?
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