Slipknot nowadays is a far different beast than what they once were. Their presentation of unhinged sonic savagery – most noticeable on their 1999 debut and 2001’s Iowa – has mostly been abandoned; while aggression and anger have continued to be staple elements heard throughout the band’s material, they have also expanded over the years. From The Subliminal Verses and onward, Slipknot have become a creative force of progression and expression (for better and worse).
Unless there is creative intention, few bands/artists want to repeat themselves. As the years have gone on and each member of the band has grown (both personally and artistically speaking), Slipknot has expressed a desire to evolve. Consider 2019’s We Are Not Your Kind, which presents all the various shades of appeal Slipknot have had to offer throughout their career, while also building upon that history and offering unique musical twists.
At the time of its release, the album made for an intriguing look at how far the band have come and what more they are capable of creating – the band’s new record, The End, So Far, is a greater testament to Slipknot’s growth and drive.
The End, So Far, in the context of Slipknot’s work, features next level artistry from the band. Other than We Are Not Your Kind, or even All Hope Is Gone, this is the most unique musical take we have had from Slipknot in sometime, with a plethora of cuts incorporating multiple tempo shifts, tonal mood shifts, and varying levels of sonic intensity within a given song.
The End, So Far also has such a greater atmospheric presentation to it compared to most other Slipknot albums. While singles like “The Dying Song (Time To Sing)” and “Yen” are solid examples of what to expect from the record, The End, So Far has many more surprises to share.
Take album opener “Adderall,” within its opening seconds, there is an unsettling air blooming; an abstract discomfort that feels like it is creeping upon the listener. Then, to a jarring shock, Corey Taylor’s singing enters, and there comes a sense of calm. Much of The End, So Far features a similar duality of sorts; while Taylor is screaming his heart out throughout the album, there’s also a lot more singing taking place among eerie and chilling atmospheres.
That isn’t to say the album is without its bangers – “Hivemind” is a song that feels like a newly discovered B-side to the band’s 1999 album. The metallic sounding ferocity of banging and thrashing instrumentation provides a riveting flow as Taylor barks out lyrics. “H377” is another thrilling banger that exudes a power to fuel mosh pits – a killer cut with tremendous anger.
The technical and stylistic variety that makes up The End, So Far is incredible throughout; while it’s important to acknowledge Jim Root, Mick Thompson, and Jay Weinberg for all their incredible instrumentation, a big shout out is also due to Sid Wilson and Craig Jones. Alongside ominous sounding metal shredding, there are these moments of psychedelic atmosphere that arise, which bring additional layers of unique soundscapes to the album.
Whereas We Are Not Your Kind saw the band pushing themselves further in their artistry, The End, So Far sees the band leaping forward even more. Sonically speaking, the album embraces the band’s history, presenting a work far more intriguing, unique, and mysterious. Mysterious in the sense that this album feels like the beginning of something new.
As the band continue to open themselves to new ideas and explore different approaches to crafting music, there is no telling how much more Slipknot could mutate in the years to come.