Fans weren't sure what would happen after the death of Slipknot bassist Paul Gray in 2010 and the departure of drummer Joey Jordison in 2013, but the rest of the Iowa-based heavy metal group got together to record their fifth studio album late last year.
While the album starts off with the solemn "XIX," it becomes quickly apparent from there that this new work is fueled by some pent-up aggression — what else? Plenty of churning guitars, double-bass drum riffs and Corey Taylor screaming and growling dominate the landscape of The Gray Chapter.
While the drum and bass replacements have not been officially identified, it's clear there has been a relatively seamless sonic transition; the band sounds like they haven't lost a step. The album balances the heavier aspects of 2001's Iowa with the more melodic style of 2004's Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses). "The Devil in I" combines both sides with sung verses and a screamed chorus.
"Killpop" and "Goodbye" blur the line between — is this a Slipknot or a Stone Sour song? It's clear that "Goodbye" was written for Gray, with its lyrics about dealing with loss and becoming a stronger unit because of it.
Fans who have been waiting a long time for the band to release a new album should be content with the 14 tracks contained here. People who never liked Slipknot — yeah, this album's probably not going to change your mind.