Newer readers may not know, but long-time followers or more recent followers probably know how hardcore I am about my Slipknot fandom. Like somethings in life, I went from not caring to fall head over heels for that thing, the same goes for the nine-piece metal group. The journey took years, but after building up admiration for the most influential band in modern metal, I can say I will stay a maggot for the rest of my life.
I remember a friend of mine was over at my house. It was sometime between 2008 and 2010 when he showed my Psychosocial. He was not a fan but thought I would enjoy, yet I did not. The memory is a blur, but somehow, this mighty track did not grab me.
I went years dismissing their music until Junior year of high school, around 2013. A mix of news circling around about the band caught my interest. Plus I needed a book to read for my English class, so I got into reading because of Corey Taylor’s books.
Seven Deadly Sins gave me an appreciation for the vocalist. His humor and writing style showed me a bright side to his personality while his darker stories displayed the agony he has experienced. That pain made me understand a part of Slipknot more, which grew the fan that was developing inside of me.
After reading so much about Corey and one of the biggest bands on the planet, I decided I needed to give the music one more chance. I went onto YouTube, typed in “Slipknot lyrics” and went through until I found People = Shit, which instantly jolted me into the world of the Knot. It matched with my death metal roots along with so many other influences that I could hear, it changed everything.
I thought they did not have another song that could match the raw hatred that the monstrous opener of Iowa delivered, yet I was wrong because I went into utter chaos with Disasterpiece. As any pissed-off teen who loves metal, this was perfect that tracks like these came into my life.
Fast forward some time for the release of .5 The Gray Chapter. While the iconic Sophomore album was my main introduction, the tribute entry to the late Paul Gray was my first record to buy from the Iowa natives. That purchase cemented my connection.
The change within myself that got me to this point came from my own tastes. I started to get into musicians that defy the boundaries that are set. The masked nine-piece goes beyond music with their masks, live show, and overall packaging. Plenty of groups do the same, but none hit that same mark.
The bar was raised as Slipknot beat one another to be better, or for fun, if you know their wild early years. The balance of making visual art and music came together over years of hard work.
Another standout point that I look for comes from contrast. I heavily follow some bands that have a formula when creating music, which can be great, but I need something different for my ears to devour. A soothing melody, terrifyingly experimental sounds, and brutal heaviness come from The Knot, three ingredients that make for refreshing material every few years.
Not everything with them is consistent, and that is okay. Unlike many artists, these guys learn from their mistakes. The latest release, We Are Not Your Kind, that came out this year proves this. It is everything I love about the band and more, and it happened this way because those issues in previous albums were solved.
While music and all of the other creative pieces that make up the greatness of this prolific group are important, the one thing that gets me into anyone comes from a connection. Besides some exceptions, I mostly find musicians who I can relate to the lyrics and be moved by the songs. Slipknot has such raw emotion, unlike anyone else.
The latest record takes a deep dive into Taylor’s two-year depression that followed after a divorce with his second wife that was considered a toxic relationship. Dealing with that negativity as a sober man for the first time in his life delivered one of his most emotionally engaging albums ever. WANYK is full of agony, and it radiates throughout every track.
The tribute album to Gray had plenty to offer as much of the album mourned his lost, something that long-time fans felt deeply. I did not make much of an emotional connection to that due to my recency as a maggot, but later down the road, it would finally hit me.
The first two releases seem a lack of that depth with the excessive cursing and seemingly nonsensical lyrics, but something deep beneath the surface-displayed the troubles of the nine members. That hatred for everything resonated with people to boost their popularity early on. If you learn about people like Taylor or Clown’s struggles, then songs like Surfacing make a lot of sense.
One aspect outside of the music and look that launched to their success, and my fandom comes from the shows. It is hard to beat Slipknot at performing as they bring out a large production, their elaborate outfits, and chaotic energy. After years of lusting for one of their concerts, I got to go a few weeks ago, and I can say I may never see anything better.
Any great concert has all of the essentials for a spectacular show, but to truly embrace the community is another. Taylor’s power as a frontman engages an audience, unlike anyone else. I felt the power behind uniting with fellow metalheads, especially when we all shout lyrics like “people equal shit” and “we are not your kind.”
From the music to the message to the live performance, Slipknot has changed my life. I was a naysayer because I did not understand this band. Some musicians just need to check out the material, but these crazy headbangers need to be understood for full appreciation. There is a reason why most modern metal bands list a mask-wearing group as a top tier influence who will forever be unstoppable.
Remember, Long Live The Knot.
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Header image via Roadrunner Records