The most successful bands, whose hits catalogue is longer that the duration of a concert, are inevitably called upon to resolve the setlist conundrum, trying to strike a balance between trademark songs that ought to be played, and their most recent material. On top of that, Slipknot’s discography has a distinctive tipping point: the first four records, with their classic line-up, and, after Paul Gray’s death in 2010 and Joey Jordison’s departure in 2013 (who unfortunately also passed away in 2013), two (very strong) records: ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ & ‘We Are Not Your Kind’.

‘Goodbye’: Starting off with ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’, that album is full of references and tributes to Paul Gray, including its title. ‘Goodbye’ is maybe the most direct and heartfelt letter addressed to Paul from his bandmates, balancing gracefully between melody and the heavy second part of the song.

‘Nero Forte’: Made to be played live. A relentless riff storm from the very first second which is impossible to escape. In the chorus, even Corey Taylor’s harshest critic has to applaud his gift in being able to combine eerie melody and raw hatred.

‘AOV’: A stadium chorus with clean vocals, appealing to pretty much all music fans, surrounded by Root’s and Thomson’s unstoppable guitars and borderline death metal drumming. From that record’s singles, I think I prefer it over both ‘Sarcastrophe’ and ‘The Devil in I’.

‘Α Liar’s Funeral’: With this kind of material Slipknot simply must become more daring. Writing such a powerful, different track, which gives weight, diversity, and added personality to your body of work is the first step: promoting it live should be next.

‘Custer’: Maybe the most traditional, old-school Slipknot track on here. It’s simple, but so catchy that no one can resist it; entire stadiums mostly comprised of adult males jump up and down screaming ‘Cut, cut, cut me up and fuck, fuck, fuck me up’. Corey whispers deliciously in the beginning of the first verse.

‘Critical Darling’: Yet another ‘We Are Not Your Kind’ moment that I believe elevates the band to new heights. Perfect tempo, no cans, scratching and other bells and whistles, just pure, strong, spot-on songwriting.

‘Override’: This here ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ bonus track is in a league of its own, with an atmosphere that you simply can’t find in other Slipknot songs in my opinion. Purists may believe it sounds too much like Stone Sour, but: a) if we’re talking about ‘House of Gold & Bones’ era Stone Sour, that’s a compliment, not an objection, and b) go give the riff at 4:42 a good listen.

‘Solway Firth’: Atypical structure for Slipknot, exclusively riff-driven (‘All Hope is Gone’ has some of that) with a track that builds momentum with patience and perseverance. Taylor seems to really not have enjoyed the collapse of his relationship and the divorce from his second wife: ‘You want the real smile? Or the one I used to practice not to feel like a failure?’ Someone should make Johnny Depp listen to this.

‘If Rain Is What You Want’: Unrealistic choice – epilogue. But in an unrealistic situation, when ordered to stay at home during lockdown, I listened to it a lot, and if you let it, it can lead to dark but cleansing places. A two-faced song: somewhere in the middle the tone changes, the riffs become menacing and even hostile, and you’re left alone to face the beast that lives inside you.

Romanos Terzis