By Frase Bryce
I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I mean, how the Hell do you find the words to describe one of the best nights of your life? I could hand over a cup of my own tears as my review of this gig and it wouldn’t adequately describe how I feel about it. Alas, you cannot print tears, so here we are. I was lucky enough to witness Slipknot’s first Scottish date since 2008. Recently the band have come back from the brink of extinction, following the death of bassist Paul Gray in 2010 and drummer Joey Jordison’s departure in late 2013, with their frankly stunning ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ album, a new lineup, and a determination to prove that they’re here to stay.
And they fucking prove it.
There was a real buzz in the air prior to Slipknot’s set, just a feeling that what was about to happen would be very special indeed. As ‘XIX’ blares over the PA, the anticipation reached fever pitch. It felt like that, the moment the band started, all Hell would break loose. And then, as the eighteen legged hate machine took to the stage with ‘Sarcastrophe’ from their latest album… Nothing. People seemed far too preoccupied with taking pictures and videos to enjoy the spectacle unfolding in front of them. But then, that intro started. The “9, 8, 7, 6, 6, 6…” countdown that signals the start of ‘The Heretic Anthem’. As soon as the riff comes in, the audience explodes into a frenzy of moshing, circle pits and devil horn throwing. And it doesn’t let up. Even lesser heard tracks like ‘Opium of the People’ and ‘My Plague’ incite riots in the crowd. New tracks like ‘The Devil in I’ and ‘The Negative One’ pack one Hell of a punch live, and you can’t fault bona fide classics like ‘Psychosocial’ and ‘Disasterpiece’. Even the ‘slow song’, ‘Dead Memories’, still out heavies any other arena-sized band you care to name.
But it’s the second half of this show where shit got real. From the moment singer Corey Taylor gestures to “Mister Seven” (Guitarist Mick Thompson, for the uneducated out there), who begins ‘Before I Forget’, it’s classic after classic. ‘Duality incites the biggest singalong of the night, and the encore of ‘(sic)’, ‘People = Shit’ and ‘Surfacing’ leaves the audience broken, battered and bruised.
But the real highlight of the night goes to the two songs that closed the main set. The first, the immortal ‘Spit It Out’ contains, as ever, Corey Taylor instructing the entire audience to crouch down on the floor, and, on his signal, “Jump The Fuck Up”. If you’ve never seen this, look it up on YouTube. It’s a Hell of a thing to behold. The second song, ‘Custer’ from the latest album, is an absolute monster. By far one of the most skull-shatteringly heavy songs the band have written, it is the best part of their set by a country mile, with the refrain of “CUT! CUT! CUT ME UP AND FUCK! FUCK! FUCK ME UP!” being bellowed back at the band by nearly all in attendance. Needless to say, I lost my shit, and accidentally punched a few people. When they play this at Download… Ooft.
The band themselves are on blistering form. The two new members, who are all but confirmed as drummer Jay Weinberg and bassist Alessandro Venturella have given the band a serious kick up the backside in terms of energy; percussionists Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan and Chris Fehn add extra power to the heavier parts of the set from atop their spinning hydraulic lifts; guitarist Jim Root is on incredible form; DJ Sid Wilson, who was forced to remain static on the first half of the tour due to surgery, is back to his usual antics, sprinting around the stage and leaping onto platforms; and Corey Taylor cements his reputation as one of the best singers in hard rock and metal. The stage resembles a carnival from Hell, complete with giant glowing goat head and hall of mirrors, and shoots flames so large even those in the nosebleeds would have felt the heat.
So there you have it. Slipknot, unsurprisingly, were incredible. If you want to catch the band, they’re headlining the Download festival in June. On this form, you will not be disappointed.document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);