Following the tragic death of bassist and founding member Paul Gray back in 2010 and drummer and principle songwriter Joey Jordison leaving the fold in 2013, it seemed for a while that a fifth album or any notable continuation for Slipknot would only remain as a figment of imagination. Yet, fast-forward 5 years of mourning and grief for the loss of such a pinnacle member of the band along with recruiting some (currently) temporary, and not only do we have a fifth album, but now a huge touring campaign, and here in the UK it is our turn to prepare for hell.
Initiating the preparations are Michigan controversial metal outfit King 810 (**), and sadly don’t really get things moving as we would all hope. Indeed, their riff work and smashing drums accompanied with the dark lyrics from frontman David Gunn to the likes of ‘Murder Murder Murder’ really drags a dark cloak across the room, but that being said, Gunn‘s often monotonous vocals and somewhat one-dimensional stage presence isn’t quite the quality we would need for a show of this size. Maybe in time they’ll adapt and become more comfortable in an arena setting.
Moving onto one of the main attractions for a large amount of this whole tour, Korn (****) have been at this game even longer than tonight’s headliners, and together with them paved the foundations of nu-metal and ascended to the status of metal legends. Stood atop a stage floor that lights up and flashes beneath them, the Bakersfield outfit run through a scope of their entire catalogue, from fresh cuts like ‘Love & Meth’ to classics such as ‘Got The Life’. Even at 44-years-old, frontman Jonathan Davis‘ vocals have never sounded stronger, and when debut single ‘Blind’ comes into the fold, it really does feel as fresh as it did back in 1994.
However, it’s the nine-headed masked Iowan monster that is Slipknot (*****) who really steal the show once the curtains are pulled up. Kicking right into proceedings with ‘Sarcastrophe’, the bar only keeps climbing from this moment onwards, from the pummeling and abrasive hooks of ‘My Plague’ to the haunting yet soaring cut of ‘Purity’ standing as just two of several set highlights.
Even with the music aside, Slipknot have always been an entertaining band to simply spectate too, and tonight is no different; Sid Wilson is constantly running around like a mad man or jumping onto his platform when he’s not spinning his discs (along with being treated to a birthday cake), Clown always acts a little unstable atop his spinning array of percussion, and Chris Fehn occassionally stands in front of the audience and leers at them menacingly.
It’s the more classic material that everyone is most excited for though, of course, and though there’s an absence of the catchy of hell ‘Wait & Bleed’, the screeching punisher of ‘Psychosocial’, the jumping off the ground in unison tradition of ‘Spit It Out’, and the aplomb with hate anthem of ‘Surfacing’ are as exhilirating as they’ve ever been, with Corey Taylor perhaps bringing a career best thoughout. If this is hell, then we’re prepared and ready for eternal damnation.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)