Their claims of We Are Not Your Kind being “heavier” than 2001’s Iowa may not be completely true, but neither is this false for Slipknot. The band’s 6th full-length album, which is out now after a long wait, is more or less destined to be the biggest metal record of this month – if not possibly 2019. The quality here, though, is pretty astounding – equalling some of their best work to date.
It’s important to note that We Are Not Your Kind has elements of every Slipknot album to date, containing the aggression and unbridled anger the band carried on their self-titled and Iowa, but also the more accessible melodic injections that have defined their last 3 records. Interesting experiments like “Nero Forte” could have easily come alive on Vol. 3, with a hook-filled melodic chorus that may well be the best on WANYK. Meanwhile, it’s followed up by one of the heavier tracks, “Critical Darling”, which also sports a ridiculously catchy chorus, but still has major Iowa and Vol. 3 vibes that could be appreciated by almost any fan. Other experiments like the electronic-driven “Spiders” and unsettling “My Pain” are likely to divide fans for the most part, but it’s great to see a veteran band still capable of thinking outside the box.
Corey Taylor has managed to channel his anger and trials into one of the more diverse vocal performances of his career. Don’t let his age fool you, he’s still one of the best vocalists in the game right as he drives tracks like the sludgy, doom metal-esque “A Liar’s Funeral”. The song also sports a really neat guitar solo (though short) two-thirds of the way through the song, coalescing in an acoustic ending that also pops up at various places throughout the album.
Of course, if you get halfway through the record and aren’t convinced Slipknot are capable of being over-the-top heavy, you need only listen to “Red Flag” and “Orphan”. The former features one of the best drum performances from newcomer Jay Weinberg, who flourishes on his second go-round with the band, while the latter features more impressive drumming alongside arguably the best chorus on the album as a whole. And you really can’t examine WANYK without mentioning album closer “Solway Firth”, an unsettling song that brings the best elements of Slipknot together – pummeling groove, creepy atmospheric electronics, incisive riffs, and some of Corey Taylor’s most vicious vocals to date.
Overall, Slipknot’s new album is a return to form. While certainly not perfect – the added slower songs and ballads don’t always work to full effect here – We Are Not Your Kind is a consistently solid and occasionally great record that cements Slipknot as a vital force in modern metal. We Are Not Your Kind is the kind of record that most bands who have been around two decades simply aren’t capable of making, and that’s very impressive.