Review of ".5: The Gray Chapter - Slipknot"

published 26/03/2015 | SirJoseph
Member since : 08/03/2012
Reviews : 545
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About me :
Farewell chums... Our reviews will hopefully help consumers unless they take down the site completely... Perhaps one day someone will recognise the hard work we've done and come up with a better way to utilise it than the French ;) ta ta
Pro Vocals, New Band Members, Ballads, Return to Iowa Sound, Music Videos
Cons No Paul Gray or Joey Jordison, Long songs & Tracklist
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money

".5 Doesn't Quite Get A 5."


I had been meaning to review the latest Slipknot album for a while now, ever since it's release and my acquisition really. I managed to review Iowa earlier in the month, the 2001 album that singlehandedly got me into the metal genre, but after stumbling across a rare little documentary of the band on BBC iPlayer I felt obliged to sit down and listen to The Gray Chapter. "You don't follow Slipknot casually" said the random Maggot fan in one clip, dressed in black leather boots, black fan shirts, nail polish and frequenting a bedroom covered in My Chemical Romance posters. Don't get me wrong, you can dress how you want but don't act as if you speak for all listeners when you feel the need to dress provocatively, indulge in teen-tripe such as MCR and are fresh out of college, young lady. Perhaps she wasn't the best example of the bands fans, whereas 4 ordinary looking blokes followed, showing just about anyone and everyone can be into this genre. This and the soundtrack played parts of Goodbye - one of my favourite tracks on the album... Be warned, there is copious amounts of swears on the album and as such will be covered in the lyrics.

XIX I feared would be a similar track to the introductory on Iowa, '(515)' - an awful barrage of noise, screams and cheap, gimmick effects. Luckily, this is not a repeat of that trash. Instead Shawn Crahan AKA 'Clown' announces that "This song is not for the living. This song is for the dead." amidst a swell of bleeps, bloops and some deranged sounding bagpipes and/or kazoos! It is also fitting to start such an album ~ in memory of Paul Gray ~ the bands first without him (and drummer Joey Jordison who was replaced for various fuzzy reasons). Vocalist Corey Taylor recites few apathetic words culminating in "Walk with me, walk with me. Just like we should've done right from the start/Don't let this f*cking world tear you apart." The odd glockenspiel ting and a crying baby close. As such, track no.1 is less of a song and more of a Dirge. Sarcastrophe follows the intro with a dark idling riff awaiting strong slams of guitar, bass, drums, the lot. It's beat actually sounds very much in the same vein as Iowa, with similar tone, momentum and dissecting disc scratches and mixing. "Prepare for judgement day!" is the clarion call. Shame it sounds very similar to the teaser released in 'The Negative One'. All else I can make out is "We are kill Gods" whatever that means and a tame jumbled guitar solo pan this song out far longer than it can sustain (< 5 minutes).

AOV - abbreviation of 'Approaching Original Violence' has punch - a lot of it initially. A slower more melodic, calming even, chorus makes it a mishmash 3rd song (despite double bass drum) but the verses are head nod agreeable and jivy with a nice rhythm to "And I think I'm going to kill myself. F*ck myself, or tell myself.. About the only thing that matters now." Again though, it is needlessly long after what could've been a sweet outro, turns back into the same ol same ol for a good minute and a half. The Devil In I is the second single thats video reveals all the bands new masks: skin, gold, makeup, metamorphosis... The track is heavy and worthy of being at the forefront. Verses rock back and fourth to plucked strings and symbols shake throughout with clockwork percussion. The chorus engages more heavy elements like upstrokes overall vibe. "Step inside, see the Devil in I. You'll realise I'm not your Devil anymore." Sometimes the productions seems to go out of the window, especially concerning the drums. Video is worth a watch if you can find the uncesored version ;) Dynamite.

Killpop interests me greatly as it has a strutting bass-line, a clean vocal and tender guitar notes that really are not a part of Slipknot formula. That's not me saying it sounds like Stone Sour (side-project of Taylor and guitarist Jim Root) But the chorus wails of "Not until she loves me" mean its trudging into emo territory and it's hard to imagine the big burly blokes in masks looking at all threatening performing this. Well, aside from the outro of "Die and f*cking love me!" I like it but... what? Skeptic goes in another direction too - this time sounding more like those christian rock ballads of the late nineties - "God, are we alone?". Surprising, indeed and the only thing stopping divine intervention is the constant swearing. Nice oil drum smacks though. Possibly a nod to Gray with "The world will never see another crazy motherf*cker like you". This sections title, shouted from the raspy pit of Corey Taylor's stomach - I like this very much. It's dark and utilising late double tracking and deep harmonies for the somber parts and goes full assault for the rest. "No one is bulletproof" is the mantra ending the sections. It rarely lets up and was a loveable track as soon as I heard its intro. "You live right f*cking heathen so you'll die like pagan gods" are more of the religious themes creeping in.

is the haunting ballad, an ode to Paul Gray. Full of atmosphere and dread, Goodbye is a shockingly sad song from the Iowan 9-piece. Church bells chime in with uplifting chords over "Maybe we can all recognize a moment of silence. Maybe we can finally agree on the same point of view." sounding like a plea for peace. "A long time ago we believed and we were united. So the last thing on Earth I am ready to do is say goodbye." turns it into the sorrowful sayonara it is. When the band abandon all pleasantries and turn up the volume and gain on the amplifiers, the song absolutely takes off. It's a poem that closes with a hardy back off in the words "No one can know what we're feeling. So don't even try." aside a meaty solo and close into the next song Nomadic. Shame this one sounds poppy in it's chorus with generic bridges and fillers across the board. Nice second half solo, no substance though. The One That Kills The Least starts with original lead guitar and you'd struggle to guess it were the 'Knot' doing it. Once again it's a case of 'nice chorus, not much else'. It's here, 10 tracks in that those Stone Sour breakdowns come into play.

Custer's amusing intro mimic is kind of refreshing and comedic. It doesn't really surprise me that this would be the third single considering it's strange noises and catchily odd chorus rhyme "Cut, cut, cut me up and f*ck, f*ck, f*ck me up". I find it a bit unsettling how I simultaneously love the bounciness to this violent song with a name of one of histories greatest slaughterer, madman, heroes (Little Bighorn - perhaps a reference to his 'Last Stand') and hate how predictable and silly the whole thing sounds/is. Oh and let's not forget Youtube's Screaming Goat making many appearances. I don't really get the spoken words of Be Prepared For Hell. It is certainly experimental to say the least. It combines the tones found in the first song and lame low-note weirdness, laughter and stalling instrumentation - it's not really a song in the end, more a misread message. The Negative One was the very first song I heard from the reformed Slipknot and I was overjoyed at it's chunky guitar work and snappy drumming by new member, speculated to be, Jay Weinberg - although it's worth stating that all written work states the only drums and or percussion were filled in by life-long members Chris Fehn and Clown. Anyway, it's circular patterns are dizzying and will easily form massive mosh pits during live shows.

Closing song If Rain Is What What You Want is downbeat and depressing with ominous tones building thanks to the guitar riff throughout and ending notes of the chorus'. Percussion takes a backseat for once and clams down with a bog-standard loop. Halfway through it evolves into something more spirited with good effort found in Taylor's voice and ends up being fitting closure to the album. Not a bad effort by any means, especially considering the bands troubles. Problems arise when almost every song spills over 4 minutes and repetition creeps in for the sake of it. Thankfully these guys have got enough experience under their belt to put at best, appealing fillers in, instead of some b-sides masquerading as the real deal. Speaking of which buying the Deluxe Edition throws another 20 minutes of 'Knot around your neck which in my opinion, tends to be worth the money nowadays - only if you're really into the band that is - whereas I'm the very thing that girl in the documentary said didn't exist: a 'Casual Follower' so I didn't review them - though I will say I looked them up on YT and only half seemed legit (apart from two tracks, one which lives up to it's namesake of Silent the other a sketchy recording of a Talk). Still, without them it's a solid hour of your time so it's worth pulling the bones out and dining on the meat.

Track List & Rating Out of 10
1. XIX - 7
2. Sarcastrophe - 4
3. AOV - 6
4. The Devil in I - 8
5. Killpop - 7
6. Skeptic - 4
7. Lech - 8
8. Goodbye - 9
9. Nomadic - 5
10. The One That Kills the Least - 6
11. Custer - 6
12. Be Prepared for Hell - 4
13. The Negative One - 8
14. If Rain Is What What You Want - 7

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Comments on this review

  • jb0077 published 23/04/2015
    E review, thank you.
  • RobWK published 21/04/2015
    Nice review
  • shellyjaneo published 12/04/2015
    Great review x
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Product Information : .5: The Gray Chapter - Slipknot

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Performer (Last name, First name): Slipknot

Sub Genre: Metal, Heavy Metal

Title: G

Original Release Year: 2014


Studio / Live: Studio

EAN: 0016861754525, 0016861754556


Listed on Ciao since: 29/10/2014