Slipknot once again evolves on “We Are Not Your Kind”

Tanner Owens, T_Owens031

Following a four-year hiatus, one of metal music’s most recognizable acts, Slipknot, has released its sixth studio album — and it does not disappoint.

Fans of the Des Moines natives have been anxiously awaiting the return of the men in masks’ music. A long five years after the release of “.5: The Gray Chapter,” Slipknot has delivered on its new album, “We Are Not Your Kind.” The band took a break from touring and making music following the release of its fifth album in 2015, choosing to focus on getting back to the basics as a band. 

“We gave the music and ourselves a deep breath,” percussionist Shawn Crahan said in an Apple Music interview. “Everybody’s all in.”

Referring back to 2001’s “Iowa,” Crahan said that “We Are Not Your Kind” hearkens back to the same message “Iowa” sent. Both albums feature heavy anti-authority messages and were released during times of political and social turmoil. “We Are Not Your Kind” stands as an album that acts as a way for fans to navigate their way through all the commotion. 

“I always have to stop and remind [the fans] of the temperature of the world at that time,” Crahan said. “And then they step back a little and realize that the world was upside down and you needed music to get through. We feel that the world’s like that again.”

The album starts in very non-Slipknot fashion, with a 138-second interlude (“Insert Coin”) that features a fast-paced static beeping accompanied by flowing synths and an ever-building growl into the beginning of “Unsainted.” Slipknot doesn’t follow recent trends in the industry of making an album for singles; “We Are Not Your Kind” truly plays best when listened to in its entirety. It is an experience. 

“Unsainted,” the lead single of the album, features everything we’ve come to expect from the Hawkeye State rockers. Catchy choruses from singer Corey Taylor followed by fast-paced verses dominate the song with the choruses being boosted by a choir in the background. The bridge once again draws on synths to create an atmospheric sound along with a much more subdued Taylor singing. 

“Birth of the Cruel” is a brutal song with tons of twists and turns throughout. The song features more firsts for the band with the use of turntables a-la Linkin Park. Taylor’s vocals are at their best in this pure metal song. 

In the same vein as “Insert Coin,” “Death Because of Death” focuses on a hypnotic, almost meditative, recurring theme. The song also propels the listener straight into the hard-charging “Nero Forte,” which is a guitar and percussion-dominated song with an incredibly singable chorus that switches quickly from easygoing background vocals to Taylor’s quick-spoken lines.

Other highlights of the album come in the form of “Solway Firth,” “Orphan” and “A Liar’s Funeral.” Each song clocks in at over five minutes, with two of them going well over the six minute mark. Despite this, they never become tedious, thanks to several changes in pace of instrumentals as well as Taylor’s speed and ferocity of singing. 

While “We Are Not Your Kind” features plenty of screaming and break-neck pace instrumentals, it stands as one of the band’s most accessible and easy-to-digest albums for listeners who aren’t fans of Slipknot or particularly into the metal scene.

Slipknot still retains a solid underground following, but “We Are Not Your Kind” has a few songs that are obvious attempts to fill arenas and get fans yelling the choruses, and that’s okay. After more than 20 years in the game and with an inestimable amount of influence on metal music as a whole, Slipknot deserves to have an album that is going to set them up for bigger and better things. Now joining the ranks of Mastodon and Ghost, Slipknot are on their way to becoming one of the most in-demand metal bands to fill arenas and stadiums.