Ranking Every Slipknot Album From Worst to Best

With a spectacular release of their sixth album, Slipknot has reclaimed the throne of heavy metal. To celebrate a monumental entry to their catalog, it is the perfect time to rank all six efforts to see which is truly the best. Prepare for some hot takes.

#6: All Hope is Gone (2008)

The masked Iowa natives don’t release bad records, just the fourth album fell weaker. It is not a surprise; it falls shorter compared to the rest since the group was in turmoil.

The internal problems aside, some great tracks came out. The anthemic Psychosocial is a must-have when seeing the Knot live. Then other hard hitters like Sulfur and Gematria (The Killing Name) standout from the rest. Sadly, while most every other track is strong, nothing is all that memorable.

Quite possibly my least favorite song from the nine-piece metal veterans is Dead Memories. I just cannot stand the chorus, while the rest is fine.

Snuff destroys my heart every time I listen to it with its poignant lyrics and powerful conclusion. The most emotional and passionate track to come from the band to that point in their history. Speaking of impactful tunes, the bonus song ‘Til We Die is another that will get a room of people to start getting teary-eyed.

#5: Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Messages) (2004)

Experimentation has lead to some of Slipknot’s best songs, yet Vol. 3 misses a lot of points. It has some high energy and well-executed ideas but lacks anything all that worth to go down in history. The stars on the third effort certainly shine bright to make up for some lackluster aspects.

The Blister Exists not only shows how intense this record gets, but shows the percussive power that these guys put out due to ex-percussionist Chris Fehn, ex-drummer Joey Jordison, and founding member Shawn “Clown” Crahan.

Duality and Before I Forget share one thing in common and that is a scream-along chorus. Which is better is hard to put, but the two songs are superb at gathering energy despite their stylistic differences.

Another anthem for the maggots to listen to with pride is Pulse of the Maggots, a tribute to the most hardcore fans. When artists give the people, who support them, some love like this is beautiful, especially with the aggressive spin that Slipknot execute when saying thank you to their audience.

Haters would point out Corey Taylor’s lack of lyrical skill due to his excessive use of “fuck” on the first two albums. Then he showed them all up by writing songs like Vermillion and its acoustic counterpart Vermillion Pt. 2. The first truly beautiful sounding songs to come from such the extreme metalheads and to this day will still tear down anyone listening.

#4: .5 The Gray Chapter (2014)

This took me a bit to figure out. I used to hail the 2014 release as their best album. Some of my favorite songs are here, but some of my least favorites too. It just lacks the experimentation and has some drastic gaps between the quality of its strongest and weakest tracks, even though I do love everything the Knot has done.

XIX defies the typical structure of a Slipknot record, it is an actual song and not some weird introduction that disturbingly sets the tone. I love that aspect, but this was important as most of The Gray Chapter is meant to be a dedication to the late Paul Gray, who was a founding member that passed away in 2010.

Another leader comes from Sarcastrophe. A gut ripping track that proved to fans that after a long gap between .5 and All Hope, they still had the power to unleash utter hell. This monster always gives me chills by its heaviness.

Also proving that the guys have not lost their edge in creating extreme music comes from Custer and The Negative One. Two unrelentingly violent tracks that beat to death anyone in their path. Full of Taylor’s vicious screams and the assault that comes from the rest of the guys to back up the vocals is beyond intense.

An element that if a song has it, then it becomes a contender for my favorite is the contrast between the brutality and melodic. AOV and The Devil in I flawlessly show that it is possible to have something so heavy yet soothing. The flip here is AOV has a skull-crushing verse with a softer chorus and bridge while The Devil in I lets the beast out during its chorus then back in the cage during the verse.

Deceiving the listener with Killpop is just cruel. A gorgeous verse sets up false hope for something gentle then jolts into its chorus and climax after one of Jim Root’s best solos shows the danger that occurs when listening to these headbangers.

Everything else from Lech, Goodbye, and Nomadic does not leave the same imprint. Satisfying parts of the album to make it whole, but nothing that to punch me in the gut like everything listed above.

#3: Slipknot (1999)

It may not hit me emotionally as the band 2014 effort, but their debut still stands taller and stronger with its remarkable tracklist of smash hits. The strength is proven by the self-titled album going platinum in under a year, launching the young band’s career to set them on the path to get to this point 20 years later.

The first half is unrelenting hatred and anger from the explosive opening title Sic to and Surfacing, which features one of the best and most blunt choruses in their catalog. Nothing beats shouting “Fuck it all / Fuck this world / Fuck everything that you stand for,” at a concert or in your own home.

Plenty of experimentation showcases the creativity that went behind crafting the first record. Prosthetics and Tattered & Torn prove some weirdly scary things can happen when nine metalheads wearing masks get in a room together to make an album.

#2: Iowa (2001)

While The Gray Chapter opened the door as my first Slipknot album, Iowa gave me a peek into the madness that sold me that this is a path I want to go down.

People = Shit was the second song I heard, but it was the first that grabbed me to become a maggot. Its death metal influence and fierce chorus are irresistible.

The rest is pure mayhem with the chaotic Disasterpiece to the devilishly anthemic The Heretic Anthem. Backing up the rest of the first half comes from the melodic, yet heavy My Plague and another hateful tone from Everything Ends.

With a few exceptions here and there, most of the second half of the sophomore effort turns more experimental. Gently has a long intro that goes down a dark journey with equal parts brutal and reserved. The ultimate bizarreness to come out of their minds is within the title track itself, Iowa. A 15-minute horror show of a creepy atmosphere and Taylor’s haunting vocals.

#1: We Are Not Your Kind (2019)

The latest release hits everything that makes the Knot special in the metal scene. The perfect mix of Iowa levels of experimentation and heaviness and the life from Vol. 3, along with plenty of fresh ideas.

Not to go too much in-depth since I recently review WANYK, I do have to say its contrast of heaviness and melody balances better than anything previously done. Unsainted waves that flag high as others like Birth of the Cruel and Nero Forte emphasize the way the group can flip a switch between headbanging to something catchy or melodic for more comfort.

Plenty of the weirdness from the first two records come off of here with more maturity. Spiders or Death Because of Death highlight that the creative juices still flow strong within each member.

How would you rank each album?

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Ranking Every The Ghost Inside Album From Worst to Best

July 13, this past Saturday was The Ghost Inside’s first show in four years since their bus accident. To celebrate one of my favorite bands having a comeback concert, I thought it would be perfect to reflect on all of their material. TGI is one of the few bands to have nothing but hits, so this will be more like a ranking from good to excellence.

#4: Fury and the Fallen Ones (2008)

The LA-based group released a strong debut record. Out of the four albums, this is by far the heaviest. Shiner and Faith or Forgiveness are memorable tracks that shine just as bright 11 years later.

The main issue that puts the first album on the bottom is Smoke and Signal Fires which comes off as a filler instrumental track that offers no substance. Outside of this, the 11 other tracks are standout hits.

Buy: Fury And The Fallen Ones by The Ghost Inside

#3: Returners (2010)

The sophomore album from The Ghost Inside steps up their game. An evolution occurs that keeps the old sound while feeling like they have matured as musicians. Tracks like Chrono, Between the Lines, and Greater Distance stand out as some of the most powerful creations from the five-piece California natives.

Coming off of Fury and the Fallen Ones, Returners has a similar issue with the outro of the closing track, Truth and Temper. It has an overly long instrumental outro that feels unnecessary without any interesting riffs or breakdowns to keep it alive.

Buy: Returners by The Ghost Inside

#2: Dear Youth (2014)

The last album before the accident struck the perfect balance of experimenting with new sounds and keeping the same ingredients in the recipe. Avalanche holds together as the best introductory track to any of their releases by slowly building up into an energetic monster. From there it becomes difficult to choose some of the highlights with Out of Control, Mercy, and Move Me standing tall and mighty.

Buy: Dear Youth by The Ghost Inside

#1: Get What You Give (2012)

An album that introduces you into one of your favorite bands often takes the cake as the best. This is the case for Get What You Give. Engine 45 inspired a tattoo on my body that I will carry forever as a straight edge metalhead. White Light is the groups most emotional track as vocalist Jonathan Vigil discusses his brother’s death. Face Value and Deceiver balance out the melodic songs with their relentless heaviness.

Buy: Get What You Give by The Ghost Inside

That is how I look back on each The Ghost Inside record. What about you? How would you rank each of these albums?

Be sure to click the links to buy their records and merch to support the band as they are not touring right now. You can also go to Epitaph Records to buy their merch and music.

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Images via Epitaph Records/Mediaskare

Ranking Every Whitechapel Album From Worst to Best

Whitechapel launched their seventh album The Valley which marks a new step into their current evolution from deathcore to a melodic powerhouse. The band has taken different paths and have grown in both popularity and in their musicianship. To celebrate the new record, these are how I rank every release from their worst to best.

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#7: Our Endless War (2014)

The band’s 2014 release has a lot of positives about it. They took their self-titled album and advanced their sound further with plenty of great hits like the politically charged title track, the anthemic The Saw is the Law, and the emotional closing song Diggs Road. 

The problem is the inconsistency throughout the list of tracks. Worship the Digital Age is too repetitive, and vocalist Phil Bozeman utilizes talking points too often that became boring and bland throughout the record. If Digital Age and either Psychopathy or How Times Have Changed were switched out for the two superior bonus tracks, A Process So Familiar and Fall of the Hypocrites, then Our Endless War would rank a little higher.

Buy: Our Endless War

#6: Mark of the Blade (2016)

The first major shift since their 2012 release, Whitechapel go in a more melodic and groovy direction with their sound. The record establishes their first time introducing clean vocals which caused controversy, but Bozeman nailed it with this new style.

Each song stands strong, but not a whole lot of memorable songs. What makes this release outrank Our Endless War is its consistency. The only major miss is the title track due to it feeling redundant after having The Saw is the Law and significantly less impactful.

The introduction of clean vocals with Bring Me Home and the closing song Decennium feel refreshing despite a lack of confidence out of Bozeman’s performance. Compared to other bands in the realm of extreme metal, he outshines many vocalists who have tried singing and failed.

Buy: Mark of the Blade

#5: The Somatic Defilement (2007)

Before these Southern metalheads were writing thought-provoking songs about politics or emotionally charged tracks about childhood trauma, they had written this vicious beast. A concept album of serial killers, many of which based on Jack the Ripper who inspired the group’s name. Filled with extremely sadistic lyrics and just as brutal instrumentation, this is the perfect record for people wanting to scratch that itch of brutal deathcore.

The introduction Necrotizing stands as the band’s best with its haunting sounds and disturbing quote from the murderer Jeffery Dahmer.

Buy: Somatic Defilement (10th Anniversary)

#4: Whitechapel (2012)

The first step towards leaving the deathcore scene behind was with this reinvention of what it meant to listen to Whitechapel. They maintained plenty of elements old fans would be familiar with, but added plenty of new melody and styles that changed their identity.

Make It BleedI, Dementia, and Section 8 are just some of the heaviest hitting tracks on this powerful album that packs a punch with every track.

The bookending a piano introduction with Make It Bleed, and the closing track Possibilities of an Impossible Existence brings a beautiful symmetry that rarely gets executed. Starting up this monster eases anyone into a false sense of safety before utter annihilation then putting the person into an emotional wreck after its final moments.

Buy: Whitechapel

#3: This Is Exile (2008)

The album that put Whitechapel on the map, their second release titled This Is Exile. Any fan of the deathcore genre cherishes this behemoth. Full of memorably dangerous tracks like This Is ExilePossession, and Eternal Refuge will remain some of the strongest creations from this heavy metal juggernaut.

A few issues from being such an early creation comes from the unimpressive instrumental tracks that fail in comparison to Mark of the Blade‘s Brotherhood. Despite some immaturity found in some parts, it is hard to resist this classic release.

Buy: This Is Exile

#2: The Valley (2019)

To keep it short, since I do have a review of this album, The Valley takes the misses from their 2016 and 2014 launches and improves upon every aspect. Whitechapel developed what works to become a complete melodic group while maintaining their quality in heavy music.

Buy: The Valley

#1: A New Era of Corruption (2010)

It feels to me that this is the forgotten record from the band’s catalog, but I love it front to back. I got into the group because of Murder Sermon (featuring Vincent Bennett from The Acacia Strain). Now I am a fan for life.

Besides the excellent guest spot with Bennett, Chino Moreno from the almighty Deftones has his time to shine on Reprogrammed to Hate with his ear piercingly awesome screams. Too bad the group has moved away from having guests feature because this is the sole reason why they should have more friends come on to accompany Bozeman’s voice.

A solid album that is relentless and consistent, unlike anything I have heard from the Tennessee natives.

Sadly, I have seen them three times and they have never played any song off the album. One day, I swear I will see them play one of these tracks.

Buy: A New Era Of Corruption

What do you think of my list? I am sure plenty of you will disagree, so how do you rank each Whitechapel album?

Buying anything off of these links will support the blog, but buying the band’s merch and music will support them too. Be sure to check out the band’s music and purchase some merch.

Images and videos via Metal Blade Records

Ranking Every Fit for a King Album from Worst to Best

Fit for a King has just released their fifth album called Dark Skies. Over the years the band has gone through changes with its members and style to find their identity in the metalcore scene. Now the band has mixed deathcore, hardcore, and metalcore to deliver a mix of flavors that can be found in heavy music. Let’s go over the band catalog to see which are their best and worst albums.

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#5: Descendants (2011)

Not the best debut for a band. While the album manages to have strong hooks, heavy breakdowns, and powerful lyrics, a lot is missing to make this album that much distinguishable from a lot of other metalcore. The album has Matty Mullins from Memphis May Fire featuring in The Architect and Jeremy Gray of Ivoryline in Parallels which is impressive to see a band debut with respectable guests.

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#4: Slave to Nothing (2014)

The band kept their breakdowns but mixing some more technical instrumentation to keep things fresh. In future music, they will step away and reexamine their style as a band, but for the most part, it worked out to make for a solid album. Kill the Pain packs the first punch straight to the gut with its raw emotion. The title track featuring Mattie Montgomery from For Today, who disbanded in 2016, remains to be one of the most outstanding songs off of the record. Impostor has an excellent combination of its clean singing and screaming. Much of the instrumentation feels a bit weak but does not stop the album from standing on its own two feet.

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#3: Creation/Destruction (2013)

Despite its ranking on the list, Creation/Destruction is one of my favorite metalcore albums of all time. Sure, some parts of the instrumentation are generic. What makes it work are the hooks, some perfectly paced breakdowns, powerful lyrics, and some of the band’s catchiest choruses. Warpath and Destruction can tear down buildings with their heaviness. Catchy choruses flood through the album that will get stuck in your head for weeks. Aaron Kuvera, former bass player and clean vocalist, delivers some of my favorite vocal performances heard from Fit for a King. Broken Fame, The Resistance, and Bitter End are some of the strongest tracks the band has ever written. The record is able to take a break with a more melodic approach in Skin & Bones. The Resistance is my favorite song from the group to date with its powerful lyrics about the media. Broken Fame sending the message about not letting fame destroy your mindset and who you are. The album remains to be one of their most powerful they might ever create despite some flaws.

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#2: Dark Skies (2018)

Choosing between the band’s latest album over Creation/Destruction pains me. What makes their most recent effort rank higher is the band’s growth and maturity. Oblivion is one of the most emotional songs the group has ever written. A song about wanting forgiveness when you know you have made a significant mistake. With its music video that just came out, your heartstrings will absolutely get pulled on hard. The Price of Agony and Engraved have some of the band’s catchiest choruses since CreationBackbreaker is arguably the band’s heaviest song to date. Kirby discusses social anxiety in the back-breaking track. I love nine out of the ten songs. Despite not loving Debts of the SoulDark Skies is one of my favorite albums of the year.

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#1: Deathgrip (2016)

What might be the band’s heaviest and darkest album, Deathgrip brings the perfect mix of brutality and melody. Pissed Off is one of the heaviest songs about terrorism. The track shows off Kirby’s range in his vocals with one brutal guttural that closes the song. Other highlights such as Cold Room and Shadows & Echoes are perfect representations of how far the quartet has come. Jake Luhrs from August Burns Red features in one of the most emotional tracks, Dead Memory. Stacking Bodies has another great feature, Levi Benton of Miss May I. The band has dabbled in guest vocalists, but Jake and Levi are the best vocalists to feature in a Fit for a King album. After experimenting with the previous records, Fit for a King found who they are in the crowded metalcore and deathcore scene.

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Be sure to comment how you would rank each Fit for a King record. How much do you agree or disagree with my list?

Images via Solid State Records

Ranking Every Parkway Drive Album from Worst to Best

Parkway Drive has taken the world by storm in the last few years. The band has risen significantly in popularity within the metal scene with every album they have released. These Australians seem pretty unstoppable, and it makes sense since the group has been putting out heavy metalcore with heavy duty melodies since 2005. Now, let’s go over each record and see how they each compare to see which are their worst and best albums in the past thirteen years.

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#6: Reverence (2018)

If you read my review of the band’s latest release from earlier this year, then you know how disappointed I was. While I did not like the record, it was not atrocious, but not what I was hoping for. With a powerful first single, Wishing Wells, every other song felt significantly weaker in its emotional weight and musical style. The Void had an old school metal vibe along with Parkway’s traditional sound. The song was a weaker, but satisfying the second single. Sadly, many of the other songs were weaker especially with the first red flag being the third single, Prey. With Winston either talking too much instead of brutal screams or his attempt to cleansing in a few tracks was not fitting. While there is worst metal out there, this is not a highlight in Parkway Drive’s catalog.

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Image via Epitaph Records

#5: Killing with a Smile (2005)

The band’s debut record is a heavy hitter. Out of every Parkway album, this might be one of their heaviest and least melodic. In many ways, it is what I usually think of as metalcore regarding their instrumentation. A simple, but a heavy delight for any metalhead wanting to bang their heads. Romance is Dead is a classic song from the band’s oldest material that helped launch the group into the metal scene.

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Image via Epitaph Records

#4: Deep Blue (2010)

The band is now riding high with this third release that continues to solidify their sound that will be recognizable within the crowded metalcore scene. With a greater focus on melody rather than heavy breakdowns, this album still maintains the proper aggression. The album eases itself in with the somber instrumental portion of its first track, Samsara, with ending off with guttural screams and a slow breakdown to set the stage for what’s to come in this record. Deep Blue shows the band branching out by collaborating with Marshall Lichtenwaldt of The Warriors and label owner, and Bad Religion guitarist Brett Gurewitz makes appearances on the record. Whether it is the rapid-fire that shoots out from Unrest to the fan favorite Karma, the record is full of major bangers for any Parkway fan to listen to full blast.

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Image via Epitaph Records

#3: Horizons (2007)

If you were to go up to any fan of Parkway Drive, then many would say that Horizons is their best record, and it is up there. The band’s second outing hit the world strong with one of their best albums to date. The record has a slow, but explosive beginning with the transition of its two first tracks Begin and The Siren’s Song. Popular tracks such as the fan favorite Carrion and Idols and Anchors are staples in any Parkway concert.

 

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Image via Epitaph Records

#2: Atlas (2012)

The band continues to open the gates of straying away from typical instrumental styles that most metalcore bands implement with this 2012 release. The album has the best intro of their catalog with Sparks which features a somber beginning that builds up to an epic final act before going into the rest of the album. Nothing like Parkway having a melodic, but brutal track to start things off. Dark Days being a thought-provoking track about the world’s environmental issues. A major fan favorite being Wild Eyes which not only has a classic intro for a whole crowd of thousands of Parkway fans to sing along to but an easily recognizable ring that leads right into Dark Days. The guttural and bouncing Old Ghosts/New Regrets makes for one of the heaviest songs off of the record. While many say Horizons is their best album, but many tend to forget about this gem.

 

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Image via Epitaph Records

#1: Ire (2015)

This might be controversial, but I absolutely love the band’s change in sound from their 2015 release. Ire takes that traditional sound that these Australian metalheads have developed and given it a facelift with Rage Against the Machine inspired rhythms and experimenting with new sounds altogether. The album starts off in a way to show fans they are in for a relentlessly furious record with Destroyer. With the heaviness not stopping with the bouncing chorus of Dying to Believe. The album does not let down on the gas but gives a more uplifting track with Vice Grip, a track that is perfect for fans to sing along to during the chorus. The album does not let up with my favorite track being Crushed, the closest to Rage Against the Machine we get with the Parkway twist which makes for one of the most ruthless tracks on the record. The band experiments with one heavy track, in particular, Bottom Feeder, a relentlessly heavy song that features a bridge in which Winston raps, and it is surprisingly excellent. The album knows when to let things settle down with Writings on the Wall while still ending strong with A Deathless Song. Front to back, this is easily the band’s best album.

 

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Image via Epitaph Records

Those are my rankings of the current catalog of Parkway Drive albums. The band has had an overall strong career, despite my disliking of their latest release. No matter how you feel about them, at least they break the mold from the metalcore scene to create their own sound. What are your rankings of Parkway Drive’s music? Comment below on how you would rank their albums.

Header image via Epitaph Records