Published Aug 09, 2019If you look back at the history of Slipknot, the band have done an amazing job of creating a cohesive sound while tapping into so many different styles. From their first demo through their first three albums, the band kept pushing the boundaries of who they were, but after Vol. 3, their sound was locked in.
For a lot of bands, that's a good thing, but with Slipknot, the experimentation is what makes them interesting and their last two albums were very by-the-numbers. They weren't bad, just a tad formulaic, but luckily, We Are Not Your Kind is a return to form for the band.
In classic Slipknot fashion, they start off with an eerie noise track leading into an absolute banger in "Unsainted." The song's use of mid-tempo grooves complemented with beer keg slaps is all too familiar, but a prime way to start off the record. The definitive sounds and characteristics of their early material are present in songs such as "Red Flag" and "Orphan," but don't overstay their welcome, allowing for the band to explore every facet of themselves.
Unlike the past two records, the new album brings back the highly experimental side that was so present on their pre-Vol. 3 material. Instead of simply rehashing old tropes, they take their more straight-forward and melodic sound and build it into something different. The back half in particular has an almost cinematic quality to it, with sound samples and synths that could be from a horror movie soundtrack. The creepy melodies used throughout "Spiders" or "My Pain" feel like a breath of fresh air in moving past the neatly put together songs they've focused on over the past decade.
The album is a tad long, but the diversity in sounds and use of ambient noise make it clear this is to be listened to from beginning to end. There are plenty of single-worthy songs for casual listeners, while offering dedicated fans a more fulfilling experience by pacing the record's heavy moments.
After 20 years together, it can be difficult for bands to sound inspired, but Slipknot manage to create an entirely new era for themselves. We Are Not Your Kind is a rebirth of the maniacal and constantly changing sound that earned them their fame, and opens a new chapter for the band. (Roadrunner)