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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)
Roadrunner Records

Rating: 6/10 ?

February 18, 2000
The nine piece, heavy metal noise merchants hailing from the fine state of Iowa are back with their third album filled with the same angry, self-hating lyrics and brutal, Slaytanic guitar raping riffs that all the self-proclaimed "maggots" of the world have grown to love.

With their new album, Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses), Slipknot treads the same musically corrosive water that has rightfully made them the ruling kings of the metal world. From there, Slipknot have finally attempted to branch out from their Max Cavalera neck snapping, speed metal guitars, trying a subtler, less caustic approach, grounded in a more traditional song structure.

This new approach may ultimately alienate some of the band's most die-hard fans and cause the maggots to accuse the nine masked members of getting weak. Nevertheless, Slipknot have attempted to give their fans another album full of manic depressive, syphilis infested, broken nose, colon cleaning tunes that will make your parents twice before coming into your bedroom uninvited - annoyingly asking to take out the garbage while you're in the middle of trying to remove your seventeen year old girlfriend's bra.

The biggest problem with Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) is that Rick Rubin, the legendary producer of such bands as the Red hot Chili Peppers, Beastie Boys and Johnny Cash, simply ruined the album. Why the Iowan nonet didn't call upon metal producer extraordinaire Ross Robinson for a third time is very puzzling.

Rubin unabashedly destroys the chemistry and pure aggression of their first two albums with his smug, overpriced, production job. It seems like Rubin was too busy playing with his beard and scratching his gut to actually find some actual interest in guiding the masked musicians in creating a sound that is relevant to the experience and uniqueness of the band. For Slipknot's sake, the Iowan nine need to call the bank and stop payment on Rubin's fat paycheck and simply call this album a "demo" until Ross Robinson can get his hands on the tapes and undue Rubin's deaf eared hack job.

The most intriguing and unique thing about Slipknot is that there are nine contributing members in the band; this is a selling point that is partly responsible for separating Slipknot from their pale imitators. Thanks to Rubin and his greedy dick fingers, Slipknot has been reduced down to four, sometimes five members on many of the album's 14 tracks.

Stripped tracks like "Vermilion PT. 2" and "Circle" sound more like leftovers from frontman Corey Taylor's radio friendly, metal-lite side project, Stone Sour. Beyond my own comprehension, I find myself asking what the hell these two tracks are doing on a Slipknot album.

Further evidence of Rubin's bad choice in production can be heard in the percussion. With Slipknot's first two releases, the drums have been near perfect in their performance and production; each crack slammed and echoed like a shotgun going off inches from your ear. With Rubin's production job, the percussion sounds like an arthritic fist pounding the bare flesh of a fat man's belly. While the drums just sound like something Metallica would be proud of, that's not saying much. This weak, milquetoast production can be clearly heard on tracks like "Before I Forget" and Opium of the People."

Besides the nine contributing members of the band, the gruesome masks and matching jumpsuits, the other intriguing point about the Iowan noise makers is that they have taken agro-heavy, speed metal and made it intelligent and accessible. The band's music is the equivalent of the anxiety and fear of a train wreck that never happens.

Slipknot has the ability to get heavy with their music and razor's edge, losing all noticeable tempos and beats and standing inches away from becoming another death metal band searching for a harmony and a consistency. There is little to no trace of this controlled chaos anywhere on Vol. 3.

Despite Rubin's inability to capture the band's dynamic and intensity, the album's first single "Duality" is still able to cut through the high class production and come across as nothing but classic Slipknot.

A Kerry King-like guitar riff, mixed with a sinister piano track, carried by a mysterious vocal delivery has "Duality" rocking from the start. With lead singer Corey Taylor spitting and screaming "All I got is insane" throughout the track - the next Dr. Phil look-alike driving his Mercedes convertible who brazenly cuts you off in traffic to make an illegal U-turn to get to the drive thru at Starbucks better hope that you don't have "Duality" blazing through your cheap factory speakers, because Slipknot makes this a caustic situation.

I understand that Slipknot doesn't want to end up like The Rolling Stones and continue to pump out the same redundant rock albums year in and year out just for the sake of releasing an album. But when a band attempts to go in a new direction, they have to find a producer who understands the band and the newly charted course.

Plain and simple, Slipknot's new direction would've been more successful with the help of Ross Robinson. Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) isn't a total washout, but as a self-proclaimed maggot, I expected a lot more out of the masked musicians then what they released with Vol. 3. Get rid of the Beatlesque, wanna be Black Sabbath "Planet Caravan," "Laguna Sunrise" and its acoustic guitars, and get back to the high voltage, cardiac inducing, unapologetic schizophrenic rock that had my father slipping Bible tracks underneath my door.

Reviewed by Jason Pete
A contributing writer for LAS, Jason Pete lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. You know, where the casinos and prostitutes and stuff are.

See other reviews by Jason Pete



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