The first Slipknot album without Paul Gray (R.I.P.) and Joey Jordison is here. The six years that passed since ‘All Hope Is Gone’ have definitely been eventful and hard for the band. The healing process actually began in Athens, where the band played a very emotional show as part of the Sonisphere festival of 2011. Since then, even if it wasn’t confirmed at the time, a clock started to tick, leading to the new record release. In the meantime, Joey Jordison exited the band and Jim Root was fired from Stone Sour, which creates a weird situation between this record’s main songwriters, Root and Corey Taylor.
What does the record that came out of all that sound like? First of all it sounds honest, musically and lyrically. It also sounds like Slipknot, meaning the lineup changes affected the album, how could they not, but they didn’t alternate the (exhibitionist sometimes, but definitely creepy) character and musical identity of the band. The accusations of Slipknot transforming into Stone Sour have no true base. There is atmosphere and melody on the record, but not more so than on ‘Vol.3’ or ‘All Hope is Gone’. The only way this album will sound too soft for you, is if you were expecting another ‘Iowa’.
Personally it seems perfectly logic to blend classic Slipknot songs, like ‘The Negative One’, with less immediate, dark moments such as ‘If Rain is what you Want’.
The only flaw of ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ is not the drumming, not the …clean vocals, but the amount of filler on it. It’s still a good record though, and the beginning of a new era for Slipknot.