‘Iowa‘, Slipknot’s second studio album is a dark, nihilistic, hectic, violent and multi-textured album.
With a group as large as Slipknot (9 musicians), it could go either way for what each member of the group brings to each individual song as well as the project as a whole.
From the beginning on ‘(515)’ with the distorted screaming of Sid Wilson to the crashing drum kicks and blaring symbols being smashed on the appropriately titled ‘People = Shit‘, the album already has a quick pace and an extremely aggressive tone.
As the tone of the album is set by the first full-length track, we also get that particularly gripping head-banging track, ‘Disasterpiece‘. From the start with the guitar chords to the build up of the drums, when lead singer, Corey Taylor, finally enters, bellowing out ‘I want to slit your throat, and fuck the wound’ and continues this technique which isn’t exactly rapping or screaming, but what I like to call S-Rap (Scream Rap). As the track continues with the ad-libs provided by Shawn and Chris, we get around 2:30 when the track really shows itself off. Joey Jordinson provides a demonic drum kick, which you can’t help but throw your self back and forth to.
As the album continues and we get the menacing ‘My Plague‘, with a great chorus from Taylor, singing in a lighter tone, which is actually quite pleasing to hear him do. Although, whenever I hear Corey start screaming onto a track, I can’t help but get hyped.
Highlights off the album and tracks which should be celebrated more are the incredibly horror-movie-like theme song, ‘Skin Ticket‘, which could’ve ended up on a Rob Zombie soundtrack with the un-nerving lyric – “Come see my cage, built in my grave”. As well as that is the heavy ‘The Shape’, which sees Corey reflecting on a broken relationship, which he not only compares to the typical ‘humane’ emotional connection we have to others, but that when someone we need in our life or is removed, we just become another shape to them. It would be like comparing the everyday human to the expanse of our universe.
The album is supported minimally by Sid’s turntables, although, when they do become evident and are heard, they provide a part of the song which may not have been able to accomplish with the other instruments and adds to the diverse sonic sound which they portray.
In overall, the album is exploding with a lot of the same themes on all the songs, however, each song has its own diverse sound, which only that song can be compared to. Comparing the track ‘Eyeless’ on their debut Self-Titled album would be pointless; although it could’ve easily been included on ‘Iowa’, as it is a heavier and more experimental sound.