Record Of The Week: Week 4

It’s Friday once again and once again it’s time for the record of the week! This is now the 4th week and I’m quite suprised I’ve managed to keep it up so far, I don’t always listen to a particular song or album each week but I have tried to since I started this little weekly segment. I am pointing out now that next week the Record Of The Week will be posted on Saturday as I am in Sheffield on Friday to see Slipknot, woo!

Single Of The Week: The Beatles – Hey Jude

A classic. Possibly the simplest way to describe the song, but the most accurate. I have recently started to listen to The Beatles again for one reason and another, and this song is still my most played Beatles track on iTunes. The song is just wonderful and beautiful in every way, and the singalong ‘na-na-na-na hey Jude!’ always gets you smiling and singing. Written by Paul for John’s son Julian it’s quite heartwarming when listening to the song that there actually is a story behind it, unlike so many songs nowadays which are void of meaning. The Beatles are without a doubt timeless musical heroes, and if anyone doesn’t agree then there must be something wrong with them…or they’re not sure what music actually is.

Album Of The Week: Slipknot – All Hope Is Gone

A slight change from The Beatles, but still some great songs. I’ve been listening to this album almost constantly, mainly to learn the words for seeing them live in a week’s time.

It’s not as heavy as previous Slipknot albums such as Iowa or their self-titled debut, it’s more of an extension of Vol:3 The Subliminal Verses. Vol.3 was the album in which Slipknot changed from being masked madmen who bashed the living hell out of their instruments into talented metal musicians who weren’t afraid to change the rules and play acoustically and/or much slower than usual.

All Hope Is Gone is no exception to this, and the album is awash with different styles, techniques and lyrical meanings. From the off Slipknot go in all guns blazing with the song Gematria which is pure metal gold! Catchy lyrics, uncomfortably heavy riffs and double bass blasting out of every orafice in your speaker system. The album takes a slightly lighter turn in the way of Sulfur, in which Corey’s vocal style alternates from screamer to singer as verse changes to chorus. Both of which are done with some considerable talent. Corey’s vocal talents have already been on show through his Stone Sour albums and now incorporated into Slipknot has left some cynics complaining, personally I welcome it. Music is constantly changing, for bands to keep going they’re going to have to change also.

Single Psychosocial is fairly heavy, nothing scaringly so. The vocal style is again that of the screaming/singing alternation. The music changes to match this, which proves the other 8 member’s talents are more than just down-tuning instruments and throwning them around a bit. Slipknot are more than just a metal band, they are 9 men from Iowa who can play music…well.

New single Dead Memories is much ‘less heavy’ than the previous songs, the vocals are pure singing and the double bass has been left alone for a while. Despite this, you can still hear Slipknot in there. It’s not the best song on the album, but it is still worth a listen. Vendetta is heavier but still as catchy. The chorus is slightly cliché but you will sing a long, something inside your brain wants you to nod your head and sing.

Butcher’s Hook reminds you that Slipknot can and will play heavy when they see fit, and at track number 7 (just over half way through the album) this is the time. Drums being beaten, guitars being thrashed and lyrics being screamed – this is metal. The tempo is slowed again though with Gehenna, somewhat similar to Gently from their second album Iowa, in the slightly weird slow music with lyrics.

Like a massive kick in the man parts the tempo is turned straight back up to full with This Cold Black. Corey quite happy to strain his throat to unknown limits through his awesome screaming, and the music is guaranteed to again get your head nodding along. As I’m writing this I have the song on, and I’m nodding away like a dog on your parcel shelf. The next song Wherein Lies Continue is again a reassuring musical punch that metal is alive and well, and it’s based in Iowa. The heaviness concludes now though as Snuff begins with it’s lighter approach to emotive music, the acoustic intro and beautifully sung lyrics allow for a pause for thought when listening to what is classed as a metal album.

The final song and title track All Hope Is Gone is all things Slipknot are embodied into nearly 5 minutes of awesome brutal metal. The anthemic chorus itself is worth a listen, filled with such emotion and passion you have to believe in what is being said.

Overall this album is a great ride through everything that metal was, is and will be soon be. Not just angry men shouting and playing fast, but really talented musicians writing powerful music and lyrics which can be enjoyed by more people than the ‘long-haired people’ as metal fans are sometimes referred to. This album is great, even if you are of the opinion that ‘Slipknot are freaks, they wear masks, it’s shouting etc etc’ then listen to some of the tracks on here, it’s an almighty change and it’s an almighty album.

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