Slipknot have become one of the biggest bands in heavy metal thanks in large part to their excellent songwriting and insane live shows, but there’s no question that the band wouldn’t have had such a massive cultural impact if their appearance wasn’t also on point. From their self-titled album on, Slipknot have presented a strong, unified vision of nine figures in terrifying masks, looking like they might literally murder you after getting off of the stage. Their visual presentation is the perfect blend of horror-movie villainy, classic heavy-metal evil, and the fringe segments of society and subculture.
Slipknot’s self-titled record positioned the band to look like a group of recently escaped inmates clad in red jumpsuits and creepy masks. The getups looked at once as if they were picked off the shelves of a halloween store in order to just quickly conceal their wearer’s identity, but also unnervingly detailed and thought-out. As time progressed, the band’s looks became more and more complex, with some masks having multiple parts that can switch up as time goes on. The jumpsuits also became more varied, moving away from the inmate look into something like a black-ops strike force from hell, some members donning bullet proof vests and the like. The visual evolution feels like an extended metaphor for how quickly the band blew up and took over the world.
With the group’s new album around the corner (it’s due August 9th), and a whole new set of looks soon to be unveiled, we went back to the beginning of the band to survey all the crazy and insanely cool changes the band’s appearance have seen over the years.
When Slipknot hit Ozzfest in ’01, nobody knew what the fuck they were in for.
Circa Iowa, a neon-soaked family portrait from hell.
Slipknot came back in black, with masks ranging from a satanic clown to dicknose fetishism.
Time went on, and masks got scarier and more complex, with new textures and details, as seen in Slipknot’s Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) looks.
The Crow, a rainbow-haired monster and a living skeleton, all in one band.
In 2008 — for All Hope Is Gone — the band looked like they adapted their masks to be more tactical and stage-ready to move around fast and easy.
The All Hope Is Gone era’s striking red-and-black color scheme carried over to the band’s next album cycle.
.5: The Gray Chapter saw the band go even further in a horror-movie direction, as well as introduce two burlap-faced new members in place of Joey Jordison and Paul Gray.
10-plus years in, Slipknot’s live production has gotten next-level epic. Who knows what they’re going to pull out this summer.