Album of the Year

5_The_Gray_Chapter_Artwork .5: The Gray Chapter

There were many notable comebacks in 2014, but nobody came back harder than Slipknot. Things haven’t been easy since the 2010 death of Paul Gray. Many were questioning if the band were going to continue at all. Things were even more uncertain with the 2013 departure of drummer and founding member Joey Jordison. With a new album on the horizon, no one knew what to expect. Could they survive without these key members? Or would they fall on their face? They did neither. They persevered and conquered.

This is a monster of an album. The band returned to their brutal roots originally found on Iowa and mixed it with the melodic tendencies of All Hope is Gone for their heaviest album in years. Their emotions from losing two band members and friends fueled the music. It’s aggressive, abrasive, and intense as fuck. There are moments like “Custer” and “The Negative One” where they come on violent and ready for a fight, but there are other times when they lay their souls bare. There are several songs dedicated to Paul Gray, but instead going of the sappy route, they remain honest, open, and heavy as they say goodbye to their fallen brother.

While Royal Blood’s debut was a serious contender for this title, I had to give it to Slipknot because it blew my fucking mind. I had no idea what to expect and months after its release, I’m still listening to and loving the songs. It’s their most honest album and what I admire about it is they don’t hide that two people are missing. They didn’t try to find someone to replicate Joey’s drumming or Paul’s skills. Instead, they embrace the missing pieces and their faults as if to say this is us, take it or leave it. It really took me by surprise by how it good it was. If anything, I expected it to be a solid effort with a handful of good songs and a lot of mediocre ones just like their last effort.

It’s an amazing LP and the band should be proud of what they made. It’s obvious that a lot of love, pain, and passion went into every song, which is only the beginning of what makes it so good. It’s a stunning return to music that Paul Gray would be proud of. They brought back the brutality fans have been craving for years, but never repeated themselves. This album renewed my love for the band and I hope that scalding fire stays alive in them long enough to get another stellar album from the guys.

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