If America’s moral guardians are to be believed, Slipknot is the devil incarnate. Portrayed as blood sucking, vomit munching, boilersuit loving, sick mask-wearing Des Moines hicks, Lucifer’s meanest creation are capable of corrupting Uncle Sam’s youth with nothing more than a few power chords. They line up behind the usual suspects of Mathers, Manson and, if sense prevailed, Jessica Simpson.
It doesn’t seem to matter that most people can’t stomach the ‘Knot’s music or their stage histrionics; amusing first time round and lame thereafter. The horned juggernaut is speeding out of control thanks to this deluge of free publicity, even if their slightly over-adventurous second outing "Iowa" failed to match the hype.
This time Corey Taylor’s freakshow is taking no chances. Cue the ever present not-so-subtle traces of Metallica and Nine Inch Nails ("Prelude 3.0"), the ballad "Circle" – yes, resplendent in acoustic guitars of all things – the harmonies on the equally soppy "Vermilion, Pt 2" and an alarming array of memorable choruses ("Duality", "Three Nil") that would make even Linkin Park blush. "The Nameless" confusingly stitches both extremes together - the ludicrously vicious and ridiculously placid - into one track that simply feels awkward, wrong even.
OK, so it’s not Norah Jones dinner party territory and there’s enough torturous mayhem to gratify their faithful ‘maggots’ but there’s equally a contrived nature underlying the habitual havoc. Sadly, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to people who’ve kept half an eye on Slipknot‘s passed misdemeanours.
While they’ve violently spat in the face of mass acceptance, let’s not forget this is the same self-styled bunch of vermin who de-masked to unveil nothing more harmful than some dated hairdos and a love of dreary rock. Spin-offs Stone Sour were about as revolutionary as Nickelback.
So, the themes are predictably absurd – sadly nowhere the crude "People=Shit" title from "Iowa" – yet mildly comical given the inclusion of such disparate styles stationed side by side. While critics are busy sniping away at pop’s manufactured morons maybe they’d be better served shining some light on the cynicism of rock’s supposedly dark side.