Home Read Classic Album Review: Slipknot | Iowa

Classic Album Review: Slipknot | Iowa

The masked metallers are even more pissed off on their second major-label album.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Every generation gets the heavy metal heroes it deserves. The hedonistic ’70s produced Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. The superficial ’80s gave us Mötley Crüe and Poison. And now, the violent, dysfunctional days of this new millennium have given us the frightening Slipknot, the new antichrist superstars of disaffected teens everywhere.

We should not be surprised by their popularity. Everything about this nine-member troupe from Des Moines is tailor-made to appeal to surly adolescents. Start with the look, which is, after all, just as important to kids as the music: The members perform in identical industrial coveralls and freaky-creepy horror-movie masks. They go by single-digit numbers instead of names. Think about it: Anonymity, withdrawal from conventional society, the creation of a fearful new persona, a sense of belonging to a rebellious and powerful group — what more could your average teen want except a side order of fries?

In Slipknot’s case, that would be the music — a monstrously heavy and explosively destructive cacophony of murder and mayhem more akin to the blackest European death metal than the comparatively benign rap-rock of Limp Bizkit. Pummeling slabs of grinding guitars, manically frenzied double-bass blasts, nuclear-powered bass guitars and tortured vocals that veer from a guttural growl to a primal scream are the main ingredients in their recipe. And it’s all served up with a bottomless lyrical cup of bitterly psychotic rage. The message is simple: Slipknot hate everything about society. And everybody in it. Us, themselves, you — especially you.

And amazingly enough, they’re even more pissed off on their second major-label album Iowa than they were on their eponymous 1999 debut. That album was like a middle finger stuck in the face of the world; this one is more like a fist heading towards your skull. On shiny, happy tunes with titles like People = Shit, My Plague, I Am Hated and New Abortion, Slipknot make their intentions graphically clear: They don’t just want you to f— off. They want to cut you from ear to ear, bathe themselves in your blood and have sex with the incision. I am not hyperbolizing. Read for yourself: “I wanna slit your throat and f— the wound / I wanna push my face in and feel the swoon,” bellows vocalist No. 8 on the pummelling Disasterpiece, one of the 14 violence-drenched assaults on this hour-long session of brutality. And you thought Marilyn Manson was evil?