Label: Roadrunner Records
Released: 30th September 2022
As always with a new Slipknot record, the rumour mill and opinion boards came alight with suspense. Following the preview of teaser singles ‘The Chapeltown Rag’ and ‘The Dying Song (Time To Sing)’, there was a duality forming in the Slipknot army between those of the old school and those living realistically in the modern world. And ‘The End, So Far’ is an album that will drive that wedge even further.
The closest to a straight-up metal album the nine-piece have ever dared create, while all the usual elements are at play (syrupy thick assaulting percussion, wide-eyed guitars, Corey Taylor’s guttural screaming), the immediate welcome of opener ‘Adderall’ is the lightest and most straightforward yet. With a plodding bassline and ambling soft vocals, yet it’s within this context that ‘The Dying Song’ quickly finds a new lease as a brutal anthem.
The most interesting part of ‘The End’ is the emergence of each component. There are vastly more electronic flourishes from DJ and sampler Sid and Craig, while the newest components Vman and Jay find new feet as the rhythm section, entering more experimental territory than their predecessors. These elements are what bring a new lease of life to the older components of the beast.‘H377’ hits the closest to any previous iteration of Slipknot. Featuring frantic spitting from Corey amidst a torrent of sounds, it’s proof there’s life still rattling around in the rusty cage. ‘Hivemind’ gets down on its haunches and leaps to the throat, and it’s these moments of familiarity that help the reasonably more considered and restrained sections sit easier. Closer ‘Finale’ is an epic of Slipknot proportions, where once they went straight for the jugular, now it’s an all-over gentle butchering with doom coming through the soft vocals, and choral progressions as samples nip at the ear reminding you there’s always something lurking in the background.
Indeed ‘The End, So Far’ feels like a complete album. It’s Slipknot reaching their apex of creativity and culminating absolution of who they once were. This is a different band with different ambitions, even when compared to 2019’s ‘We Are Not Your Kind’. It may not suit all, but in over two-decades Slipknot have never stopped burning down boundaries. ■ Steven Loftin