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Friday, Aug. 29, 2008
Slipknot "All Hope is Gone"
By ALEX HOBAN
When burlesque skull-breakers Slipknot released their eponymous debut in 1999 amid a heavy-metal renaissance that, although laughable now, saw the grizzly likes of lowest-common-denominator rap-rockers Limp Bizkit topping the charts, the Iowa nine-piece's violent conflagration of screeching thrash, visceral drum 'n' bass and other experimental forms (along with unforgettable performance-art live shows) marked them out as something genuinely exciting. And almost a decade later, while the Bizkit's Fred Durst sits at his breakfast table, crying into his muesli and wondering where it all went wrong, Slipknot are still popular enough to be releasing records worthy of space in well-to-do newspapers like the one you're reading now.
The good news: For the most part, they're as heavy as ever, with Joey Jordinson's trademark drumming still generating razor momentum on the brutal single "Psychosocial." The bad news: Where this lot once looked forward, they now look back, and their former sense of experimentalism has given way to a slew of unoriginal, '80s-informed guitar solos and soppy choruses, most tellingly on the rock-lite "Snuff." Beneath their ghoulish stage masks, perhaps they've also given themselves a new set of perms too.
Though fans will probably not be disappointed, the main flaw with "All Hope is Gone" is its unwitting pandering to rock cliches of the past — the very ones that Slipknot built a successful career by avoiding.