You already know the story behind them. Nine men in masks and boiler suits arrive on a flagging metal scene and turn the entire genre on it’s head. Well, the time has come to forget past glories and get on with the here and now. This isn’t just a CD release people, this is an event. You can literally feel the tension all around your body as ‘Iowa’ makes it’s way out of your hand and in to your CD player. Will it be any good? Is there to much hype surrounding it? Will they sell out due to the success of ‘Wait and Bleed’? To save you this agony, yes it is heavier than it’s predecessor, yes it also has more great hooks than the debut, and yes it’s very, very good. Slipknot are well and truly back.
From the opening blast beats of ‘People = Shit’ to the closing melancholy that is the title-track, Slipknot have done the impossible. They’ve made a record better than the first. Recreating the intensity and sheer rage of old but still managing to keep the whole package remarkably fresh, Slipknot haven’t changed so much as progressed. But what a progression it is, ‘The Heretic Anthem’ is all bile and pure hatred, maintaining the trademark heaviness the band have carved out for themselves, and ‘New Abortion’ takes the bands intense dynanicism to a whole new level. Both of these tracks are reminiscent of the debut in the respect that they are heavier than a right hook from Lennox Lewis while still having a chorus refrain that hums around your head for days at a time. This isn’t to say that the Des Moines madmen have abandoned their melodic edge in any way, ‘Left Behind’ is the real jewel in ‘Iowa’s collective crown, chugging along at a steady pace before giving way to a chorus hook that makes ‘Wait and Bleed’ look, well, ordinary. It’s this mix of beauty and brutality that again keeps Slipknot ahead of the chasing pack, with enough crunch to please a hardened Slayer fan, and enough tuneful sensibilities to please the kids pulled in by Papa Roach and Limp Bizkit, Slipknot have an appeal that really sweeps the board of the heavy metal audience. Unfortunately, if you didn’t like Slipknot the first time around then I don’t think this is going to convert any new followers. It’s the same formula as the first record coming from a band that are merely sharpening their attack.
So after all is said and done and the hype has settled we are left with a very good release from an exceptional band. ‘Iowa’ is everything that could be expected from the band and a whole handful more. Prepare for the explosion all over again.
8Terry Bezer's Score