- SPIN Rating:7 of 10
Masked or otherwise, Slipknot's members have rarely seen eye to eye creatively, but without that friction, the nine-member band's self-titled 1999 album and 2001's Iowa (the closest death metal has ever gotten to mainstream rock) wouldn't have been so memorably volatile. Still, between 2004's softer, stylistically uneven Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) and numerous side projects (including singer Corey Taylor and guitarist Jim Root's alt-rock warhorse Stone Sour), Slipknot finally seemed to have succumbed to their own interpersonal tension. But All Hope Is Gone, reportedly the first thing they've recorded in years without wanting to kill each other, proves that there's still musical unity in disharmony.
With the spoken-word noisescape "Execute" and the snarling hydra "Gematria (The Killing Name)," All Hope Is Gone kicks off with a sociopolitical ferocity not heard since Iowa's opening salvo, "(515)"/"People = Shit." but here, Slipknot keep the politicized condemnation coming, as Taylor bellows that "the Bill of Rights is abill of sale" on the title track. Sure, there's some navel-gazing: the power ballad "Snuff," one of several tracks that continue Vol. 3's move into more melodic drama, tackles a personal trauma that Taylor can't bring himself to name. But Hope's fiercest tunes -- the bludgeoning, math-rocky "Butcher's Hook" and the sludgy, atonal "Gehenna" -- find Slipknot's usual self-loathing and internal hostility becoming even heavier and more powerful when it's turned outward.