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Music Review: Slipknot – All Hope Is Gone

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Slipknot did something special in creating their fourth studio album: they went home. Preparation for All Hope Is Gone began in 2007 and the recording process began in early 2008 at the Sound Farm Studio in Iowa, marking the first major label album from Slipknot to be recorded in their home state.

And it sounds like home.

All Hope Is Gone is a shadowy, down-to-earth record with twisting melodies, some unexpectedly light tones, and a great equilibrium of radiance and gloom. It is their most melodious and most sonically-pleasing album to date and represents a shift in a new direction without abandoning the crunching turmoil that the maggots adore.

Producer Dave Fortman was brought in to help prepare the sound and give it some density. Best known for his work on Evanescence’s Fallen, Fortman loaned his ear for layering to the band and the final result certainly benefits from it.

According to reports, all nine members of Slipknot were involved in the writing process. Vocalist Corey Taylor told MTV via podcast that the process was not without its conflict, but that Slipknot’s music always contains elements of conflict.

With All Hope Is Gone, the album gains its clarity through the palpable divergence. Some songs are unequivocally disordered, with percussion slipping in and out where it doesn’t belong like a stroppy youngster, while other songs are extraordinarily elegiac and almost resemble ballads.

All Hope Is Gone comes born out of a throng of sound that includes a smidge of Spiro Agnew (“.Execute.”) and quickly storms into the mammoth breadth of “Gematria (The Killing Name)” with a rattle of drums and some killer guitar. The pace is swift, the pounding is remorseless, and Slipknot holds back on the strain just long enough to incite madness.

The thrash elements are here, but there is more of a sonic spotlessness to them. The wall of guitars takes over and crushes the listener into capitulation, while the drums pummel away on whatever’s left. It’s sanitization by inferno, a ripening assault for the senses that isn’t afraid of covering new earth.

Taylor’s vocals run the gamut of cavernous growls and wonderfully tuneful segments, giving his lyrical delivery a sense of ardour that is hard to ignore. I’m not particularly a Slipknot fan, but his passion and force captivated me. “You don’t always know where you stand/till you know that you won’t run away,” he sings on “Sulfur.”

Guitar solos show up an awful lot on All Hope Is Gone, which is a welcome addition to the set-up. Cleverly gifted, Mick Thomson’s solos are out of this world and really give each track additional strength and concentration.

Acoustic guitars even find their way into the mix, as Slipknot heads right into rock ballad country with the gorgeous “Snuff,” a song that finds them sounding unusually snug in a setting that would have likely fit Taylor’s Stone Sour better. Anxious to experiment and demonstrate development, however, the nine members of Slipknot fit the track expressively and formulate a truly believable song.

All Hope Is Gone has all of the elements of a truly epic album. “Dead Memories” has alt-rock radio hit written all over and “This Cold Black” may be one of their heaviest tracks ever. The capacity and extent of the record is unbelievable, as is the band’s courageousness to do what they want with no apologies.

This is great stuff and I truly can’t say enough about this record. It is one of the best heavy albums of the year and represents a diversity in music that is habitually missing from countless fashionable rock bands. Unlike Staind, Slipknot isn’t afraid of progress and on All Hope Is Gone, they welcome it with open arms.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • slipknotbass

    fuck you slipknot how dare you not replace your bassist, how dare you deny us this. it is just your excuse to continue your other projects. Murder Dolls and the other one corey is in, LMAO, sell out.

  • fuckslipknot

    SLIPKNOT SOLD OUT Antennas to shit, a pathetic mix up grab for cash. Paul gray killed himself because the faggot members of the band were spending too much time with other bands they are in.

  • M4L

    This album is the shit, fuck what other people say. So what they changed up a little, WHAT THEY CANT DO THAT, DO YOU OWN THE BAND, DO YOU OWN THEIR MUSIC, NO. This album is brutal check out the first four songs especially Gematria IThe killing Name) and Psychosocial. Do you even understand what All Hope is Gone means.

    It means that you thought you knew about them but you dont ALL of your HOPE IS GONE you will never find them out, no matter how hard you try.

    My work here is done

  • Bleak

    Slipknot isnt the sellout. The sellout is he who says they are.

  • People = Shit

    Iowa was the best fucking album. All Maggots know that.

  • 742617000027

    FUCK YES, no matter what everyone says…AHIG has some kick ass tracks! There are, admittedly softer ones dead memories and snuff, but if Slipknot wanna do songs like that, they can. Its their band they do whatever the fuck they want. But then there are fucking great songs like sulfer, psychosocial, the title track and Germatria.

    stay (sic)

  • hella dissapointed

    I myself am very dissapointed with this album and Vol.3. There is no aggresiveness, still every single day I listen to Iowa and their Self titled album hoping they will change their style again. I wait for that day but I fear it may never come. Also I hate this Maggot shit, I’m pretty sure the maggot shit started with Vol.3.

  • “Maggot”

    I would like to say that “All Hope is Gone” is a great album. I liked the idea that they took the Subliminal Verses and just mashed it together with the heavy stuff. Its nice to see a change up in their music, but on the other hand I find the heavy stuff more to my liking. i have been a Slipknot fan a long time, in which i would be called a “Maggot”. Slipknot is my favorite band. I like the reason that they wear masks is to have the fans focus more on their music rather then what they look like. I found Gematria(The Killing Name) to be my favorite of the album. So all in all I really like the new album.

  • Ray

    “No matter what anyone does in lifem one group of people will thing you shouldn’t have done that, one with not care, and one will think you should have done it sooner.”

    Very true, but there’s one more group of people who don’t really care and still think you shouldn’t have done that. And this is the group that pisses me off.

  • Jason

    Been a part time fane of slipknot since there first cd. Heavy metal isn’t my fortay most of the time, but I do like a fast hard beat. “Wait and Bleed”, “Spit it out”and “Sic” and the song that sounded close to that are my favorite to listen to when the mmod takes me. I found there last CD much closer to my liking and this one follow that track. The beats are still heavy but with the strong lyricaland alot to the music.

    As for “selling out”, Slipknot will never be a main stream band. There image is far to heavey for that to happen. I think its a very smart move to try changing there sound from time to time rather then burn themself out doing one thing.No matter what anyone does in lifem one group of people will thing you shouldn’t have done that, one with not care, and one will think you should have done it sooner.

  • Gimpy

    Slipknot sold out, no other way to put it.. didnt think it would happen, Knot being my favorite band ever since MFKR… But at least All hope is gone is better then subliminal. STAY (SIC) MOTHER FUCKERS!

  • slip-ing away

    this album is very, very dissapointing. i have been such a fan of slipknot for there power and aggression on there previous albums and this album fails to provide much of either on this album. where has the power gone? where has the slamming, heavy riffs gone? it certainly hasnt sucked me in to keep listening to it.
    maybe too much stone sour influence? definately too much singing. i hope they make another album and bring back the sound that they were recognized for.
    but i fear this could be the end.

  • Sam Iagain

    Corey has too much control over the band now I think thats what it is.

  • Sam I am

    I miss the turn tables and crazy ass paranoia inducing sampling and more heart out of joey. So you can blast beat who cares, I can too and I’m not in a band and nobody cares that I can.

    Its like they didnt write their own music this time around.

  • Jamie

    A step in the right direction. Slipknot was never nu-metal, they were very innovative for their time.

    Diehard metal fans will tell you slipknot sold out with volume 3 and I agree.

    This album is to redeem themselves and they did a good job but I could do without some of the singing.

    Overall 4/5

  • djG

    After being less disappointed with Vol. 3 than I was with Slipknot’s first two albums (not counting Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat.), I knew that the band is making progress and maturing. “All Hope Is Gone” is their best album yet, and shows that they’ve finally left all traces of their nu-metal past behind and embraced a much thrashier, mature sound. They’re still far from being my favorite band, but they’ve definitely come an enormous way since their self-titled.

  • Adam

    Excellent review, spot on! This album is great, it’s all I ever want to listen to after I bought it… nothing else in my already vast collection just seem to cry out to play them as much as this, I love it.