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A new Slipknot album is always going to be an event, but this really is something else. A whole lot has changed in the six long years that have passed since the 'Knot's last record, All Hope Is Gone. They're two founder members down, for a start: Paul Gray, of course, tragically passed away in 2010, and Joey Jordison, the diminutive percussive powerhouse, was ousted last year.

1. The mystery drummer
Ok, so we start with the one thing we didn't learn - who the hell is playing drums?!
While rumours persist that former Against Me drummer Jay 'son of Max' Weinberg is the man at the kit, there has been no confirmation from the Slipknot camp, and it seems that the band have no plans to officially unveil the identities of their new drummer or bass player.

2. They're not hiding the mystery man's playing
Whoever it is at the kit, they have done an incredible job. It would have been easy for Slipknot to have come out and hidden their new drummer's work beneath Corey Taylor's roar and the monstrous guitar work of Jim Root and Mick Thomson, but instead, the new boy is put right up front and centre and basically told to give it his best. It's a brave move - Jordison is so adored that the playing by his replacement on this record will be picked apart - but we think it's one that pays off.

3. This guy brought his A game
The real drumming action starts on the record's second track, Sarcastrophe. It's got the lot, kicking off with big, high-pitched toms, before an almighty wave of crashes. We're smashed around the chops with pummeling double bass and scattergun fills all over the kit, but there's plenty of light to go with the shade thanks to some neat snare, kick and hat interplay, something that becomes a theme that runs throughout the drum work on the record. This is the sound of a drummer keen to impress, and one who has the chops to back up his lofty ambitions.

4. It's lyrically dark
To be expected, but The Gray Chapter is most definitely a dark, uncomfortable listen when it comes to lyrics. Opener XIX is dark, brooding and - when it comes to drums - sparsely populated. Taylor gives us the first glimpse of the raw lyrical journey we're about to set out on by screaming, "Don't let this f***ing world tear you apart".

The shadow of Paul Gray's loss clearly hangs heavily over the band. Skeptic is centred around the lyric, "The world will never know another man as amazing as you, the world will never know another crazy mother f**ker like you," while Goodbye's, "No one is bulletproof" could be a nod to either Paul Gray or Joey Jordison.

5. Musically, it's not quite so dark...
While The Gray Chapter may be punishing lyrically, it has its fair share of lighter musical moments. Stone Sour-ish melodic choruses dovetail with brutal, double kick-led verses on tracks like Killpop.

6. Joey will be missed
The six years between Slipknot records have been crushingly difficult for the band, and they sound like they're very much in transition. The new man at the kit has done an impressive job, but it could be argued that The Gray Chapter misses the spark of Jordison's signature drumming.

.5: The Gray Chapter” is due in stores October 21st on Roadrunner. Pre-Order the brand new album now from iTunes /


vol 5 .5 the gray chapter preview
Posted on 06 Oct 2014 by ash

1) XIX

"XIX" opens up with a distorted bagpipe-sounding keyboard patch, a glockenspiel and an acoustic guitar in the background. Corey Taylor's vocals come in over the eerie soundscape alongside muted drums quietly keeping the beat and Taylor's voice just sounds strained in a fed up, pissed off way. "XIX" is interesting because it keeps building on a lot of additional instrumentation, volume increases and layered vocal harmonies seeping into frame. The main scratchy, sickening soundscape remains constant and you can almost feel Taylor glaring at you. It seems like Slipknot is trying to make you feel uneasy and scared with this track.

The song builds and builds, edging toward total paranoia, and finally arrives at… nothing. Everything falls apart and you're left with the original soundscape in extreme disrepair. It’s you're expecting something to jump out at you from behind a curtain. You reach toward it and there's nothing behind it, but you're pretty sure there's someone breathing down the back of your neck now.

2) Sarcastrophe

"Sarcastrophe" picks up where "XIX" left off in terms of mood. There’s light percussion, effected clean guitars and a bubbling static noise. Things pick up with the addition of cymbals and distorted guitars. Then, out of nowhere, a drum fill and you're thrown into the midst of Corey Taylor growling his fucking face off. The heaviness arrives in the same way the band did heaviness on their debut record- plenty of heft in terms of a traditional metal band, but with more percussion going on and the added madness of DJ electronically adding layers of insanity.

It’s immediately noticeably that this is not the Slipknot you think you're getting. This is a Slipknot that is righteously pissed off. There's blasts, there's tremolo-picked riffs and there's non-conventional breakdowns that include sampling and keyboard work and aren't drum centric. There's a strange, airy quality to the heaviness of this song. It's not this laser-focused precision that's cut and dry. It’s haunting, terrifying and larger than life. It's as if Slipknot were this spectral being here to kill you, but slowly… painfully.

3) AOV

"AOV" is driving in the same way the members of Amon Amarth are just kind of vikings. The combination of double bass and percussive attacks on the downbeats give the song a militaristic stomping quality while guitars simply drive like tanks through your speakers and keyboards sound the air raid sirens as if it were the end of days. There's a big hooky chorus that pops up between the bursts of violence that's going to get stuck in your head, and that's just the first half of the song. What surprised me was the interlude toward the middle of the track.

During the interlude, the majority of the band fades off and featured prominently, providing the melody aside from a tinkling piano and dreamy, swirling guitars, is the bassist. I'd go as far as calling this a bass solo. It’s melodious and has a sense of direction in that it touches on what the guitars are doing in the background but doesn't stick to them. With the band still mourning former bassist Paul Gray, I wasn't sure if this was going to be Slipknot's …And Justice For All.

It is not.

4) The Devil In I

Everyone knows this song already, so I'll keep it brief. This is straight up classic Slipknot via their Iowa days with a heavy dose of that unsettling heaviness I’ve mentioned. It's also the slowest song up to this point (barring the introductory track) and I'd even say the least heavy.

Do not underestimate how much heavier this band has gotten.

5) Killpop

The intro to "Killpop" brings back that "XIX" phantasm keyboard sound along with plodding drums doubled up by what sounds like an electronic drum kit. The best way to describe "Killpop" is a ballad co-written by Satan himself and someone who is just totally empty inside. It's cold, it's slow and it seems to deal with drugs, the issue of addiction and someone taking advantage of them. "Killpop" is interesting because it relies on keyboards and alternative percussion as the main focus the song, barring the blistering guitar solo and blastfest in last forty seconds of the song.

As a quick refresher, Craig "133" Jones is listed as doing media and sampling in the band, Sid Wilson on turntables and Chris Fehn on percussion for the group. The trio has always been a part of the group's sound and a big part of the live show, but they shine in a huge way here. After listening to the record in full, I can honestly say the three have a big hand in .5: The Grey Chapter terrifying. In fact, they’ve the backbone to two of the five songs we've looked at so far!

6) Skeptic

There's a lot of references to someone dying and some else being arrested for it in “Skeptic.” I’m near positive this one is directly about Gray’s death. The chorus of the is particularly touching in both inflection as well as lyric, reading-

"The world will never see another crazy motherfucker like you.
The world will never know another man as amazing as you.”

"Skeptic" is an interesting song musically. It starts off with the typical Slipknot stomp and then launches into a Soilwork-worthy melodic death metal chorus, even using a pre-chorus section twice in two different formats that gets blindingly fast and uses a lot of chromatic, dissonant tonal work. "Skeptic" opens up the sonic space a lot throughout its runtime to be filled out entirely by (we assume) Jay Weinberg's drumming, giving the song this very punk rock feel with grindcore sense of anger.

7) Lech

I know why Judas wept, motherfucker.” Those are the words that seem to boil out of Taylor’s mouth at the beginning of “Lech.” There’s no instrumentation backing him up, there’s nothing. This is between you and Taylor, and so help you he’s going to make sure you heard him.

Lech” takes the punk  feel of “Skeptic” and heaviness of “AOV,” and marries them into the sound of ten thousand soldiers with Doc Martens and six-foot mohawks curb stomping everything. There’s a few passages in the song that use effect-laden guitars that sound like broken machines and even some glitched audio that serves as a vehicle for the band to essentially make sure you’re feeling the violence. At this point, I’m noticing the main focus of Slipknot’s songwriting seems to be the flow of energy in a song- how can they make people feel something during this song, or beat the shit out of each other or even we make their pain evident.

That attention is obvious and well noted.


8) Goodbye

The bass is high up in the mix again, the creepy synths are back and there’s orchestral bells, timpanis and what sounds like a choir that got all of it’s treble and high mid frequencies stolen. The first half of the song is an ambient ballad and then about half way through the band takes the themes from the first half and transposes them onto guitars, drums, and everything else we’ll define here as the “traditional metal band.” It’s cool to hear the original themes go from these airy instruments onto heavily distorted guitars, not necessarily because it translates well, but because the contrast works amazingly to close out the song. Everything gets faster, heavier, darker and louder until there’s a brief band unison and then silence.

I’m glad this wasn’t a ballad. It would have worked just fine as a ballad, but this is Slipknot in 2014 on .5: The Gray Chapter. Fuck the rules.

This is probably a good place to mention the differentiation between keyboard patches and samples used on the record. While a lot of them are indeed terror-inducing and generally have this feel to them that can be described accurately as “nausea-inducing,” each song that uses them in whatever massive instrumental arsenal being employed uses them differently. It’s as if the sounds are tailored to each song, which harkens back to the notion that this record was meticulously written.

9) Nomadic

All this talk of the “new Slipknot heaviness” goes right out the window on this one. If you told me this was a song from Iowa that was just a little too weird to be included on the record, I would believe you. The main riff is this chunky stop-and-go kind of thing that breaks out into an odd, somewhat off-kilter melody in the chorus. “Nomadic” is a really straight forward song that employs probably some of the strangest melodies the band has used up to now. It has this seasick, chromatic feeling to it with low-toned spoken word parts here and there and another ripping guitar solo.

It’s the chorus that gets me more than anything else in this song. That angular riff that Taylor’s singing over has this counterpoint quality going for it with the riff underneath and it’s just infectious. If you could hear the instrumental version of this song, there are points where most vocalists would be left scratching their heads wondering what would fit overtop. Then again, most vocalists aren’t Corey Taylor.

10) The One That Kills The Least

The One That Kills The Least” starts off with a riff that should signal something heavy, but instead the song stays mid-paced and gets pretty anthematic and slow touring the chorus. For some reason this song reminds me of “The Heretic Anthem” at a slower tempo, or basically any of the lighter songs from Vol. 3. The kicker to this song is that even though it’s slow, it has this anxious feeling like it wants to speed up at every turn, but just keeps backing down instead.

One of the cooler aspects of this song is the recurring guitar theme. There are a few variations of it presented throughout, both as low-down riffs and higher-up melodies or leads, but in the end it’s all still this descending pattern that seems to trip over itself initially and then tumble into place. Upon my first listen through the album I was floored at just how much fantastic guitar work there is throughout the album, with “The One That Kills The Least” being the song that finally made it click that both Mick Thomson and Jim Root are ridiculously capable at their instruments.

11) Custer

Custer” starts off quickly with the band playing a hooky unison riff before breaking down into a bass drum, distorted bass and the occasional tom. Enter Corey Taylor, who starts off with a seemingly Lamb of God-influenced spoken word section before going flat out lunatic status. Right as the song explodes, there’s a quick change back to spoken word and then this four-on-the-floor chant that has everything come crashing down around you and ends on a scream that decays a little more every time it echoes off into the depths of the abyss.

This is the song that will have every single person at every single concert screaming at the top of their lungs for the chants before beating the everliving shit out of each other for the remainder of the song. This is the song you’re going to be blasting in your song when it comes on and scaring the piss out of the poor grandmother in the Buick next to you. There aren’t too many components to this one. It’s a pounding sound that takes on that electronica aesthetic of beating you submission.

12) Be Prepared For Hell

Another interlude, but it’s interesting. There’s distorted speaking in the beginning that sounds like a distant voice in a tiled chamber while something is intermittently being crunched around you. That atmosphere gives way to a singular, theremin-sounding keyboard (which was there in the first place but quieter) with a much louder voice that seems to add pitches into its timbre as it continues speaking. Other than that, it’s just a break between songs.

13) The Negative One

Another song we’re all familiar with. “The Negative One” is actually a really solid example of what this album is all about and showcases a lot of the sounds I’m referencing here. It has that classic Slipknot stomp to it, it has all the hallmark DJ sounds, screeches and scratches from their earlier days and it has the hellishly nimble drumming you’re going to hear non-stop throughout the record.

I know Slipknot said “The Negative One” wasn’t technically a single off the record, but it’s a great representation of the record. Not necessarily what the whole record sounds like considering how varied it is, but it gives a pretty good idea.

14) If Rain Is What You Want

If Rain Is What You Want” is a slow burner and an excellent end to a record. It builds slowly upon the blocks of muddy guitars and vocals that seem to be sung through a blanket up to the full band mournfully culling the apocalypse one last time. Everything you have heard up to this point on the record in terms of instrumentation and mood is encompassed in this one. Whether that was purposely done or everything just happened to fit is a mystery, but much like the rest of the record everything seems to have been planned out in terms of its place in this sonic portrait.

The song isn’t trying to crush you to death anymore- the rest of the record has done that just fine. Instead, this is the song that plays over the montage as they find your body and eventually lower you into the ground as the frame widens and everything goes skyward. Even as the song reaches the apex of heaviness, there’s a very sorrowful quality to it that floats down into noise and one last verse sung before its lights out and once for all.

Overall Impression

If it hasn't been made abundantly clear by now, let me reiterate the irrefutable fact that .5: The Gray Chapter is an extremely coherent album that will please fans who have waited and probably garner multitudes of new ones. The sequencing of songs on the record ensures a smooth listen, the writing is impeccable, the lyrics range from straightforward and emotional to sinister and cryptic and the new members fit into the group perfectly and even shine through with their musical personalities.

To sum it all up, .5: The Gray Chapter is an album that retains the classic Slipknot sonic signature while adding new flourishes and finishes the stroke with a solid stab right through the paper.

.5: The Gray Chapter” is due in stores October 21st on Roadrunner. Pre-Order the brand new album now from iTunes /

Review Credit:

vol 5 .5 the gray chapter itunes review
Posted on 02 Oct 2014 by ash

The annual ‘Rock am Ring‘ and ‘Rock im Park‘ festivals in Germany will be reaching their 30th and 20th anniversaries respectively next year. Among the initial wave of artists set for the June 05th-07th run of shows are:

Foo Fighters
Lamb Of God
In Flames
Papa Roach
Asking Alexandria
Parkway Drive
Rise Against
Die Toten Hosen
Trailer Park
Frank Turner And The Sleeping Souls

For additional details head to

2015 tour rock am ring
Posted on 02 Oct 2014 by ash

The opening track from Slipknot's forth coming album, The Gray Chapter has leaked online. 

XIX Video

XIX Lyrics
(This song is not for the living, this song is for the dead)

With my face, against the floor,
I can see you knocked me out the way.
I don't want to get back up,
But I have to so it might as well be today.

Nothing appeals to me, no one feels like me
I'm too busy being calm to disappear.
I'm in no shape, to be alone
Contrary the shit that you might hear,

So walk with me.
Walk with me.
Don't let this symbolism kill your heart.

Walk with me.
Walk with me.
Just like we should've done right from the start.

Walk with me.
Walk with me.
Don't let this fucking world tear you apart.

.5: The Gray Chapter” is due in stores October 21st on Roadrunner. Pre-Order the brand new album now from iTunes /

xix gray chapter vol 5 lyrics
Posted on 02 Oct 2014 by ash

Slipknot percussionist M. Shawn “Clown” Crahan has elaborated on just why the band intend to burn camel shit during the upcoming US ‘KNOTFEST‘. Shawn Crahan points out though that despite the press release mentioning oil would also be involved, it will be pure camel dung that will be burned during the fest. Speaking with Rolling Stone of the matter, he offered:

“We did the camel dung on the first Knotfest. It was awesome; it was beautiful. came into the museum and they had to be hit with camel shit. A very distinct smell. You can’t huff it, but it’s got this smell. And it’s not necessarily the most comfortable thing, but its not necessarily the worst thing, it’s just remembering thoughts — it’s gonna be a reoccurring thing.”

“I write down things in life that are special, that only living in this thought process can you ever obtain. Freshly mowed grass. How it smells when a nice spring rain hits. Because of Iowa, I like being in a different state that doesn’t even have grass and think that I smell fresh-cut grass. It brings me home.

Makes me feel safe… So, I figure, since we’re not a band anymore — we’re a culture, everybody needs to get used to that real quick — that the culture has to have a smell. You have to be able to be somewhere in the world, maybe be in a little pain, and then all of a sudden smell that and feel good again.”

.5: The Gray Chapter” is due in stores October 21st on Roadrunner. Pre-Order the brand new album now from iTunes /

The US ‘KNOTFEST‘ will be held at held at the San Manuel Amphitheater & Campgrounds in San Bernardino, CA October 25th-26th.

knotfest tour vol 5. shawn crahan clown
Posted on 30 Sep 2014 by ash

This years US 'KNOTFEST', which will feature Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch, Danzig, Killswitch Engage and many more. The organizers for the fest have now revealed the various attractions that will also be featured at the two day even, which will be held at the San Manuel Amphitheater & Campgrounds in San Bernardino, CA October 25th-26th. Here’s what they have in store - of particular note would be the ‘Scent Of Knotfest’:

A tented museum curated by the members of Slipknot themselves. Slipknot’s history on display to include priceless Slipknot artifacts such as masks, suits, art, previously used equipment and other memorabilia from the members themselves personal archives and home garages.

There is nothing choreographed about the THUNDERDOME. Two fighters step in and fight until one taps out. Nightly fights throughout the festival.

Straight from the bowels of hell is the Fire Zone, displaying a pyromaniac’s wet dream, with fueled performances throughout the festival day and night.

30+ costumed pagan performers roam around festival adorned as different creatures tapping into your nightmares. Included in these performers will be firewalkers, fire breathers and sword swallowers…

For the first time ever at an American festival, the Zipline will scream across the upper section of the festival area, allowing you to fly over fellow KNOTFEST fans below at high speeds. There will be a low cost per ride.

Ripped straight from the memories of Clown’s childhood at the Iowa State Fair is the Ring of Fire. Not for the faint of heart or stomach! There will be a small cover charge per rider.

KNOTFEST has its own aroma that will infest your brain, body and clothes for days after the festival is over. Personally picked by Slipknot themselves, the smell of KNOTFEST will permeate the festival grounds. Oil drums will be filled with camel shit and oil, set aflame to last the entire festival.

Goats will freely graze in the heavy-petting zoo, where KNOTFEST attendees can get close to their horned spirit animals.

What festival experience would be complete without a KNOTFEST tattoo? A world-renowned tattooist will be onsite to tattoo you and leave a memory to last a lifetime.

Beat on junkyard cars with other KNOTFESTERS throughout the festival hours and into the night. A repeat from year 001, Clown also will play host to a drum circle on junkyard cars. Festivalgoers will join in, and beat the crap out of the cars with metal pipes, poles and whatever else they deem fit.

Interactive midway style games that incorporate fire, such as a fire-belching tarot card reader or highstriker that shoots 50 foot flames into the night sky!

One of the most insane freestyle motocross demos in the world, Fitz Army is an action packed performance that hosts the biggest tricks, names and mobile freestyle motocross events. Founder and Metal Mulisha athlete Jimmy Fitzpatrick built the show on an adrenaline-choreographed performance. Each member of the Fitz Army freestyle motocross show has proved himself in the action sports industry, with multiple X Games medals, competitions, and world-class tours.”

knotfest tour vol 5
Posted on 30 Sep 2014 by ash

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