With Slipknot‘s highly anticipated new album, We Are Not Your Kind, just around the corner, we thought it was the perfect time to dive deep into their catalog and dissect their first five full-lengths, from their watershed 1999 self-titled debut to 2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter. Below, from worst to best, we’ve ranked their formidable discography. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.
5. .5: The Gray Chapter
Slipknot could have called it a day before even making .5: The Gray Chapter. They had lost two major players and songwriters — bassist Paul Gray, who died in 2010, and drummer Joey Jordison, who split with the group in 2013. But the ‘Knot persevered and made this against-the-odds comeback album. Still, for all it’s bristling defiance and explosive creativity, the album feels somewhat transitional, the sound of a band redefining themselves, now quite whole again yet, as the .5 in the title suggests.
4. All Hope Is Gone
The band’s final album with their classic lineup, Slipknot’s All Hope Is Gone showcases the full range of their sonic possibilities — from the stomping brutality of “Psychosocial” to the introspective acoustic balladry of “Snuff.” For all its dynamic range, however, the album isn’t the complete, cohesive vision that previous offerings are — a fact perhaps related to the record’s fractured songwriting sessions.
Savage, relentless and shocking at the time, the ‘Knot’s debut (which just turned 20!) still hits hard and amazes. It’s first five songs — “(sic),” “Eyeless,” “Wait and Bleed,” “Surfacing” and “Spit It Out” — are straight-up modern metal classics, but the album closes with a bang, too, with the blistering near-grindcore ferocity of “Eeyore.” It’s all still a bit raw, but sets the stage perfectly for the next-level brilliance to come.
2. Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)
Following the all-out assault of their first and second albums, Slipknot got arty and Gothic with super-producer Rick Rubin and made a masterpiece. The album still rages — just blast its first proper song “The Blister Exists” for the concussive evidence — but creepy, expansive compositions like “Duality” and “Vermillion” proved that the Nine were capable of much more than just sonic destruction.
It’s sound of Slipknot at their most unhinged and ferocious. It’s practically death metal and yet it peaked at No. 3 on the U.S. charts (No. 1 in the U.K. and Canada!) and has since gone platinum. From “People = Shit” to “The Heretic Anthem,” Iowa is Slipknot’s finest 66 minutes and an album that’s almost impossible for any metal band (including the ‘Knot themselves) to match, let alone top.