The Pulse of the Maggots.
So… My column then. Where to start? Maybe a brief explanation. ‘The Pulse of the Maggots’ is a song by Slipknot. The lyrics are about fighting for the beaten down and oppressed and for the people who cannot fight for themselves. In that vein this column will predominantly be about defending music, albums and artists that have been given a rough time of it by the press or just common opinion. So after that intro we begin with the very people that inspire the column name, Slipknot.
“Aren’t they the guys who poo on stage?” I hear you cry, and the answer is… well… yes. But there is so much more to it than that. If you look beyond the masks and on-stage antics you discover a wealth of talent and some fantastic tracks. This is a band that has received 7 Grammy nominations and 1 win. All of their four main studio albums have gone at least platinum and the members have numerous side projects which are all well worth a listen. Stone Sour, Murderdolls, To My Surprise, Dirty Little Rabbits and DJ Starscream (unfortunately not on Spotify).
Slipknot have produced four major studio albums and at least one live album. (All of which can be found on Spotify). All of these albums have stand out tracks on them. Their self titled first album (Slipknot – Slipknot 10th Anniversary Edition) begins with the wall of noise that is [sic]. Blasting through this onto track three is Eyeless. This track is actually a fairly intricately constructed musical treat especially paying close attention to Jordison’s drumming. Track six is Spit It Out. Probably my favourite track on the album, the underlying bass riff at the bottom is a really interesting combination of notes. These are my favourite tracks on the album but if you listen from start to finish you’ll get an astonishing mixture of crashing noise, exceptionally tight guitar, expansive drumming, intriguing scratching and a range of vocal styles.
Slipknot’s second album is Iowa. This actually is my least favourite of the Slipknot albums because it is the least varied. Most of the tracks are fairly standard chugging metal tracks. Although Left Behind is a remarkably accessible track even to those who are not fans. The most interesting track on the album is I Am Hated. The crisp tightness of the riff underneath the dual vocals are a nice contrast that makes it interesting to listen to.
The third album (Vol. 3 The Subliminal Verses) represents a degree of maturing of the band. Many members in the intervening time had been off working on their side projects and when they returned together it showed. I love this album, even though some claim that they went too commercial. I think there is a difference between commercial and accessible. Accessibility in music is no bad thing. Duality and Before I Forget are good examples of this (hence the latter’s use in a Guitar Hero game). My favourite track on the album (and in fact of all Slipknots music) is Pulse Of The Maggots. From the opening Siren through the inspired riff and mind blowingly quick guitar solo to the crescendo of noise at the end, I think it is inspired. Finally included on this album are some acoustic tracks. Circle could best be described as haunting and even possibly beautiful, which is a definite step out for Slipknot.
The fourth studio album is called All Hope Is Gone. Highlights include the unrelenting chug of Vendetta and impressive guitar work of All Hope Is Gone. The suprise package on this album is Snuff. A ballad seemingly about losing someone but not wanting to let go (do not quote me on this) is quite a step out from the usual lyrical direction.
In conclusion, you are not necessarily going to fall in love with Slipknot but I implore you to give them a second chance and see what more there is to them than you may have thought. With the sad passing of bassist Paul Gray there may be no more Slipknot to come so why not try what there is.