We Are Not Your Kind is the sixth studio album released by leading American heavy metal band Slipknot, on August 9th, 2019. The album debuted at No. 1 on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200 and has received substantial critical praise for its experimentation. Slipknot once again worked with co-producer Greg Fidelman after their 2014 release of 5: The Gray Chapter. As is tradition, the band began work on We Are Not Your Kind in 2017 after having a break from their intensive tour cycle. But how does it stack up to previous releases?
As mentioned, the response for the album both critically and from fans has been generally positive. Slipknot have always insisted on having each of their albums be diﬀerent from one another and pushing their own creativity with each release whether that be through the lyrics or musically. However, after the release of 5: The Gray Chapter and All Hope is Gone before that, many fans were dissatisfied with the new melodic sensibility the band had found and longed for an album which harkened back to their early work such as Iowa. It is clear Slipknot have tried to do just that and have really kept their fans in mind this time around.
Much of We Are Not Your Kind has that heavy sound fans were looking for, many songs feel beefy, intense and truly do give vibes of their first album or Iowa. The album opens with an interlude before hitting the listener with “Unsainted”, an interesting mix of experimental melody with a choir as backing vocals during the intro before heavy riﬀs and Corey Taylor’s powerful vocals which sets the tone for what is about to come. “Nero Forte” is the other particularly heavy song in terms of its sound as well as Taylor’s skilful use of harsh, deep vocals and his ability to quickly spit lyrics not dissimilar from a rapper. It is this combination which makes the first half of the album come alive and feel like Slipknot have found their spark again after the passing of bassist Paul Gray in 2010.
Despite the nostalgia and fan serviced songs, much if the album remains completely new. The experimentation of style in songs such as “Spiders”, “My Pain” and “Orphan” feel very distant from the rest of Slipknot’s work. These songs are much gentler than the rest of the album, starkly contrasting the band’s early work with songs like “Spit It Out”, “Wait and Bleed” and “Disasterpiece” being intense, raw and truly in your face both in terms of their vocals and sound. Additionally, the lyrical content of We Are Not Your Kind appears as though it is rehashed or repeated from earlier songs and lacks the emotional impact that previous albums have. The passing of Gray gave us a very thoughtful and relatable album about loss, trauma and grief while Slipknot’s self titled album stands the test of time with its anger and passionate lashing out at society. The band’s 2019 release lacks this passion and inspiration which has driven the band throughout their career which could be attributed to their changing lineup of band members of recent years.
Overall, We Are Not Your Kind delivers a new creative direction which Slipknot always promises with each release. The band’s continued success has shown that their fans are welcome to these new stylistic directions but as many of the central band members grow older, it will be interesting to see where the future takes the band. Personally, “Unsainted” is my favourite track but We Are Not Your Kind is ultimately the band’s weakest album to date with mere glimpses of what the band used to resemble. Of course Slipknot are known for their spectacular live shows which I look forward to attending early next year, so I’m open for them to change my mind on the album!
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/