The legendary Steve Jobs once said, “To move forward, you have to leave something behind”. I feel like this quote is very relevant to Slipknot’s final album with Road Runner Records, ‘The End, So Far’. Not only are they leaving behind a long-term contract that has kept them grinding for over two decades, but they are also leaving behind that signature sound that defined them as a stand-out metal band.
Not that there is anything wrong with that. Change is inevitable. Slipknot fans already got their Iowa sequel in the form of ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ and their new record could probably define how they intend to make music moving forward. That is if we ever get any more music from them.
Before we go into the review, I need to remind you that this album came out almost a year ago. I am reviewing it simply because I never cared for it when it came out. “Why?” you may ask. Well, it has to do with the singles they released prior to the release of the album.
The Dying Song was good but not as exciting as their previous singles (Unsainted, The Blister Exists, The Devil in I). Yen was eventually released and I immediately thought to myself “Vermillion part 6”. I wasn’t fully convinced to give it a listen up until now when I am mandated to do so. Lol.
So, did I treat the album unfairly? Let’s find out.
Slipknot has always been that one band that hasn’t been shy about trying out new things. They have been doing this since Vol 3. The Subliminal Verses with moderate acceptance by the maggots. It is difficult sometimes to understand the band’s fans as they are always divided into two camps: one that just loves the band for all they do and the one that just wants another Iowa.
Unfortunately, The End, So Far doesn’t appeal to the latter camp as much. This record is tame, sentimental, and calming to listen to. Very unusual to say for a Slipknot album but it is true. This is evident with the first song Adderall which sets you in a comfortable mood to listen in before being barraged with The Dying Song’s heavy riffs and Corey’s growls.
The Chapeltown Rag feels disjointed with the melodic chorus feeling misplaced after the growling on the bridge. It actually becomes a personal problem for me in most of the remaining songs as Corey opts to sing in the choruses after growling in the verses. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with him doing so but the build-up to the songs doesn’t feel like they need melodic choruses. Hive Mind surely didn’t need one. Medicine for the Dead and Warranty are the only two examples where melodic singing and growling blend so well.
What I found surprising is that Warranty is the last song that has the ‘Slipknot signature’ and that’s halfway through the album. By signature, I mean the band doing the heavy riffs and growls. Every song from there sounds like Slipknot with guest vocal features by Corey Taylor from Stone Sour.
That may sound a bit rude but it is the best way I can describe it to you. See, I have listened to Corey in three different aspects: Slipknot, Stone Sour, and CMFT. He tends to sound different in all of his three personas but in this album, he sounds more like his Stone Sour self. If that makes any sense.
Moving on, Heirloom sounds like Psychosocial but the twist is that Corey sings all through. I find it absurd that this is what I wrote on my draft notes rather than what the song is about. Tells you a lot about the song.
You might be reading this and wondering if I have any issue with him singing. No, I do not. I like it. Corey is an amazing singer. That is easily proven throughout the whole record with a special highlight of his vocal range in Acidic, my personal favorite song in the album. I got no problem with him here.
My biggest issue with this album is its tame nature. The reason why I fell in love with the band in the first place was how intense their songs used to be from beginning to end. From the very first second, you just knew you were about to bop your head like crazy (Think back to Sic, Eyeless, The Blister Exists, Duality, Psychosocial, Custer…you get the point).
You don’t get much of that in this album. Most songs start with percussions and/or mixing from SID, Clown, and/or Craig. That tends to keep you in suspense waiting to find out if you will be doing a helicopter or sitting back waiting for something to happen. I can tell you right now that I only bopped to Warranty in the entire album. Not even The Dying Song could get me moving.
Perhaps that is the point being made here. After seven albums, it is probably fitting to end the cycle in a calm manner. “Besides, if you want their harder stuff, go listen to their old stuff,” that’s what they say when you criticize the new project.
I don’t know man. As a Slipknot fan, I am content with what we got. I just feel like the album is unbalanced.
If it were up to me, Acidic would’ve been the last song of the album. It has a better sense of ending than Finale. Also, the remaining songs after Acidic feel like filler (Heirloom, H377, and De Sade). I have tried to give them another listen (five to be precise) but they don’t resonate with me that much.
The End, So Far is a fitting conclusion to their more than two decades run in the rock scene under Road Runner records. It has been a crazy ride for them and it is only fitting for them to close things on their own terms.
Even if I do not necessarily agree with those terms.
I wish it wasn’t as tame as it is, I wish I didn’t have that feeling that I’m listening to Stone Sour in a Slipknot album and I wish that there wasn’t filler in the second half of the album.
Still, it is a good album in its own right.
So, was I unfair to Slipknot by not listening to their album last year? Yes, I was.
I do hold myself responsible for judging this album prematurely.
Rating3.5 out of 5.0 stars