Written by: Izzy
Slipknot is a household name. - Love ‘em or hate ‘em, every metalhead can recognize Corey’s rough gravelly vocals in an instant, and for a lot of people, including myself, Slipknot was a gateway to the heavier side of metal. And I can say I’ve loved every album of theirs for one reason or another: S/T, Vol. 3 and The Gray Chapter mix in perfect amounts of aggression and catchiness, Iowa is still one of the most blistering and unrelenting albums I’ve ever heard, even All Hope Is Gone which is pretty much universally considered their worst album still stands out completely unique with the different direction they took in riff writing. Even though I agree it’s definitely their weakest project.
So expectations are always high for Slipknot, especially with the singles for this album. Given "Unsainted" and it’s soaring chorus and emotionally charged breakdown, and "Solway Firth’s" near perfect return to classic Slipknot form, I was thinking this was gonna be an incredible album. But I’ve beat around the bush enough so I’ll just be honest, We Are Not Your Kind was a disappointing album. Not bad, but I expected better.
It took me a few listens plus revisiting AHIG, Vol. 3 and The Gray Chapter before it really clicked with me why I didn’t enjoy this album.
This shit’s boring.
Now I promise I have plenty of praise for We Are Not Your Kind soon too, because it’s not a disasterpiece, I just think it’s a very average album. But I do wanna get my complaints out first.
WANYK (which is easily the best acronym for an album name ever) feels like Slipknot is running out of steam. I appreciate some of the more experimental moments for Slipknot like the extra focus on melodic choruses instead of having a mix of anthems and spine snappers, and them doing some interesting things with song structure like on "A Liar’s Funeral" and "My Pain," but at a cost of experimenting with their sound like this they’ve somehow made themselves sound less interesting than they ever have before.
The first half of WANYK is pretty decent, "Unsainted" in particular is one of Slipknot’s catchiest and most anthemic tracks and I will fight to the death that it’s a bonafide metalcore track. I mean, it’s got heavy guitar, a melodic chorus, and a god damned breakdown. Maybe my requirements are kinda loose but that sounds like a metalcore song description to me.
The second half of the album is where it takes a dip sharper than a guillotine during the French revolution and most of my complaints start. That wonderful mix of familiar but effectively pummeling guitar and some, dare I say, orgasmic choruses turns into bland songs that, despite sounding “new,” also sound like they should’ve been rejected B-sides.
"Red Flag," "Spiders," "Orphan," and "My Pain" are some of the most painfully boring songs Slipknot has ever written. "Spiders" and "My Pain" are awful because they’re just experimental for the sake of being experimental, there’s so little substance, "Orphan" is just kind of lame and overdone but it and "My Pain" also share the issue of dragging on way too long to the point they just feel sluggish.
And I’m just gonna mention it real quick here. The interludes suck, "Death Because of Death" I especially cannot stand because of its repetitiveness and how it really doesn’t feel necessary to the flow of the album. "Birth of the Cruel" transitions perfectly fine into "Nero Forte" without it, so it just ends up detracting from the album rather than adding to it.
At least it ends on a relative highnote with "Not Long For This World" and "Solway Firth," both being some of the better tracks on the album, but honestly was it really worth it? Nah.
This album could’ve been so much better if it just had some of the fat trimmed off it’s songs. Instead of being 63 minutes where only half is worth listening to in your spare time it could’ve been a still decently filled 50 minutes where 3/4ths were worthy of a spot in your playlist. I know after S/T Slipknot like their albums over an hour but that really held them back here, even though there’s genuinely a great album hidden in the husk of WANYK. Go listen to "Unsainted," "Birth of The Cruel," "Critical Darling," "A Liar’s Funeral," and "Solway Firth," ignore the rest, it’s not worth the full hour.
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Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.