As a die hard maggot I've been waiting for this album with baited breath for over 4 years. Now, you may think that would prevent me from giving an objective opinion on All Hope Is Gone, but I'll give it a go nonetheless.
Disc 1: All Hope is Gone.
Slipknot's 4th studio release is nothing short of staggering, they've managed to take all of the best elements of their first 3 albums and meld it into a near perfect whole.
The distortion charged spoken word intro .execute. builds the tension on a par with Iowa's (515) before exploding into Gematria (The Killing Name), a politically charged assault on the senses clocking in at six face melting minutes that stands as a statement of intent for the rest of the ablum. Continuing the onslaught Sulfur has a distinctly old school 'Knot flavour but with a cleaner vocal in the chorus offering some respite. First single Psychosocial stands as a career highlight from the band with it's simplistic heavy metal beat, offset by a superb solo from guitarist Mick Thompson and relentless percussive undertones. Vendetta perfectly intertwines speed metal riffs, a very natural vocal performance from Corey Taylor and a fist pumping Marilyn Mansonesque chorus. Butcher's Hook ramps up the intensity before the experimental track Gehenna slows things down with it's Alice in Chains feel and nod to old tracks like Prosthetics and Skin Ticket.
Album highlight This Cold Black is by far the heaviest track with another brilliant solo and a great chorus. On the first listen Wherein Lies Continue didn't really do much for me, but with time it may become a grower.
By far the most controversial songs on the album, certainly amongst Slipknot fans and other metal heads alike, are Dead Memories and Snuff. While I agree they do sound slightly out of place on such a heavy record, both are excellent songs in their own right and deserve your attention. Snuff stands as a vocal and song writing highlight for Corey Taylor and Dead Memories continues the melodic metal edge of songs like Vermillion quite adequately.
The decision to end with the title track, a traditionally heavy Slipknot song as opposed to the usual slow, intense and morbid offerings on previous records works well and serves to end the album on a high. Overall, All Hope Is Gone has confirmed that Slipknot are still worthy of your attention and has cemented them amongst the elite. Still makes you wonder how they'll ever top it.
Highlights: Gematria (The Killing Name), Psychosocial, This Cold Black, Snuff)
Disc 2: nine: The Making Of All Hope Is Gone
It would be through a lack of thoroughness on my part if I did not offer opinion on the second disc of this package, a DVD containing a 35 minute "documentary" on the making of the album. I use the term documentary very loosely however since it is nothing more than a flimsy collection of scenes shot on Handicam that have been roughly cut together to form nothing more that a structureless mess. Considering that Shawn Crahan (#6, percussion) is largely responsible for the editing on the superb Disasterpieces live concert, it surprises me that Voliminal and now nine are so badly made and put together. Rather than opting for a more professional production values as seen in Lamb Of God's excellent Walk With Me in Hell, Crahan has chosen to pursue a more artistic approach, but to no avail. What could have served as a vessel for giving a real insight into one of the most intense, creative and entertaining bands of the last decade has succeeded only in making them appear very boring which is a real shame. If your not already a fan of Slipknot I wouldn't recommend this pack, as even fans will be disappointed.
2/10 (at least they tried!)