slipknotthegraychapter“Sarcastrophe” is a good start. Hard to be negative about “The Negative One”. “Custer” made me giggle.

On the whole, Slipknot do very little good here. They were always Insane Clown Posse with guitars, so I’m glad they’ve reverted to the fruity, unpretentious style of S/T thru to Vol 3 (or perhaps you’d prefer to hear their opinions about the Iraq war). But the songs aren’t catchy or interesting. This is a big problem.

Most of them ride predictable Machine Head-inspired groove riffs and double bass flurries – this is the type of album that make you feel like a sorcerer because you can predict exactly what will come next. Others attempt emotion and land with a splash in boredom.

“Approaching Original Gayness” (or whatever) sounds like “Before I Forget” with a sugary clean-sung chorus tacked on in a way that doesn’t make sense. Lead single “The Devil in I” starts out with an animated uptempo riff, then slows down and immediately starts spiralling the toilet. Boring idea after boring idea. I hate this song.

“Skeptic” is a tribute to bassist Paul Gray, who recently caught a bad case of dead. It has a cute chorus and not much else. “Goodbye” is long and tedious, speeding up and slowing down seemingly at random. If this song was an actual “goodbye” it would be an unwanted houseguest you’re trying to shoo out and who keeps trying to tell you his life story. Shut up already. Save it for your memoir. No, I won’t read it there, either.

At times the album barely sounds finished. The songs change from section to section haphazardly, and the tracklisting induces further whiplash. “Custer” and “The Negative One” have a nearly identical screech sample and a similar breakdown chorus…and they’re separated by just a 2 minute interlude. It’s like listening to the same song twice.

The occasional interesting riff and energetic moment keeps things moving forward and patches over the bad moments somewhat. This is their first album without Joey “needs a stepping stool to reach the drumkit” Jordison, which was a turn for the better. Judging from Scar the Martyr, he was responsible for the band’s self-serious period. But the band doesn’t exactly return to form, either, mostly because Slipknot never really had a “form” to return to.

A few entertaining moments. At least 40 minutes of narcolepsy inducing crap. All hail Slipknot.

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