Slipknot – ‘The End, So Far’

By Ash Bebbington

When Slipknot burst onto the scene in the 1990s, bellowing out furious, impeccably penned anthems about death, rage, and disillusionment, clad in identikit boiler suits and horror masks straight out of a video nasty flick, what really made them stand out was their capacity to shock. So how can a band like Slipknot continue to pull that off 27 years and seven records into their career? Somehow, within a few minutes of ‘The End, So Far’ opening, they manage it, but perhaps not in the way you might expect.

Opening track ‘Adderall’ is built around a piano line and picked acoustic guitars whilst singer Corey Taylor croons over the top. Not only is this a far cry from the full-blown sonic assault of guitars, electronics, screams, and percussion you’d expect from a typical Slipknot song, it’s a real standout moment on an album that has plenty of them.

‘The End, So Far’ is the second album with the band’s current lineup after the departure of percussionist Chris Fehn in the run-up to the release of 2019’s ‘We Are Not Your Kind’. That record marked a real return to form after a couple of releases that didn’t live up to the sky-high standards the 9-man metal outfit set for themselves in the 90s and early 00s. While ‘The End, So Far’ can’t quite go toe-to-toe with its predecessor, it hits far more often than it misses, and when it’s good, it’s simply outstanding.

The album title itself has generated plenty of discussion that the Iowan metallers might be coming to the end of their journey after almost three decades. However, you needn’t worry – the band has definitively stated that the record merely signals the end of a particular chapter for the band, and could well be a reference to their contract with long-term label Roadrunner running out.

Following the downbeat opening track, ‘The Dying Song (Time To Sing)’ opens with acapella vocals. Any speculation that Slipknot may be going down a more melodic path with this record is quickly squashed as Taylor screams “die, die, die” to a frenetic cacophony of metal instrumentals. This is Slipknot in more familiar territory, and they execute the album’s first heavy song with precise intensity.

Fans of the band will be familiar with ‘The Chapeltown Rag’ which dropped as a standalone single in 2021 and has already made many appearances in their live set. It is one of the album’s standout moments, a boisterous rampage with a catchy chorus hook.

‘Warranty’ opens with a call to arms as Taylor growls “Isn’t this what you came here for?” over and over again. It’s easy to imagine limbs flying in the pit during this song, and would easily stand alongside classic songs in the band’s catalogue at a live show. In fact, the opening six tracks would all make stellar additions to what is already a stacked repertoire of songs spanning their six prior records.

Unfortunately, the record takes a bit of a dip towards the middle, and whilst songs like ‘Medicine for the Dead’, ‘Acidic’, and ‘Heirloom’ add to the overall mood of the record, they seem unlikely to be songs that will stay in Slipknot’s live set beyond the current album cycle.

Thankfully ‘The End, So Far’ picks up again for the last couple of tracks to close out the album on a high. On ‘De Sade’, Taylor returns to the crooning vocal style he used on ‘Adderall’ over the top of heavy, but atmospheric instrumentals. The stupendous closer, ‘Finale’ carries on with this theme as he sings “I know it’s a shame but I gotta stay because I like it here”. As a side-note, this lyric should hopefully put any unfounded rumours of the band’s demise to bed for good.

‘The End, So Far’ isn’t perfect, but it’s a record that’s quintessentially Slipknot, and its finest moments stand among the best work they’ve put out since the mid-00s. Seven albums into a long career, one of the world’s biggest metal bands has once again shown exactly why their popularity continues to endure across generations.

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