Slipknot - Iowa
Roadrunner Records
Believe it or not, this is METAL
14 songs (66:23)
Release year: 2001
Slipknot, Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Shane
Archive review

Now many of you metalheads may be thinking “For the love of Odin, why review ANOTHER Slipknot album?” Well, my response is similar to Manowar’s explanation contained on the insleeve of Hell on Stage Live, of why they decided to release two double live albums in a row…and that is because they were warned against it. My comrades on metalreviews.com told me that reviewing Slipknot albums would be met with serious criticism from the readers because they pretty much hate all that is nu-metal and I don’t blame them one bit for that. However, more importantly than wanting to go against the grain is the fact that I have something to say about Slipknot’s Iowa that I think other metalheads need to hear and that is, believe it or not, that THIS IS A GOOD ALBUM!

Now, if you are close minded and hate all that is Slipknot without ever having heard this album and you know that you will never change your mind on this, then please, stop wasting your time reading this review and go read one of the other fine reviews on this website. However, for those that have either heard the entire album and have an informed opinion, or you are open to the idea that Iowa might actually be a good album, then by all means, read on.

On Iowa, Slipknot ditched almost all the rap crap that plagued their self-titled album and made a lot of it unlistenable and instead focused on creating brutal, head bleeding metal. Thank god. In my opinion, Iowa has everything that was good about the previous album and very little of what was poor. The distortion and feedback have been toned down a bit so it rarely becomes overbearingly annoying. The two DJ’s take most of this album off as their contributions are seldom-heard (hooray!) and when they are, surprisingly enough, it doesn’t sound half-bad. The three percussionists play together and play off of each other instead of each of them banging away independently. It gives you the impression that this band has one talented drummer instead of three guys making noise. The vocals stick to what works and that is screaming and singing, not rapping. Only one track, I am Hated, contains anything that could be considered rap metal and while the track is far from good, it is much better than similar songs on their last album.

The opening track, People = Shit is not only the best song Slipknot has ever done, it also sets the tone of the album as it is fast, brutal and extremely angry and aggressive. If you’re into extremely aggressive music sans orchestration and melody, then, other than the fact that it is Slipknot, I see no reason why you wouldn’t like this track as it won me over. While the overdose of carefully targeted teen anger is present on Iowa, it is much easier to stomach than it was on Slipknot’s previous effort because the songs are so much better, therefore, the anger and lyrics end up seeming much more convincing. Funny how the absence of rap and a double shot of metal can do that. I wish more bands would learn Slipknot’s lesson.

Disasterpiece is next and manages to keep up the intensity and aggression of the first track. My Plague follows, and on this track, Corey Taylor accompanies his usual bark with some actual singing. While this adds obvious commercial flavouring to the song, more importantly, it adds much needed variety as well. One criticism I have of Iowa is that there is a lack of variety both thematically and musically as Slipknot songs often follow the same pattern but if I can tolerate it with Cannibal Corpse, then I can tolerate it with these guys. The Heretic Anthem is one highlight of this album as it pays tribute to the favourite number of all metalheads, 666. It’s been awhile since a commercially successful band mentioned the number of the beast. However, after track eight, Left Behind, the album really begins to drag. If Sic, Wait and Bleed and Suffocate could be lifted off of the previous album and be inserted here to end the album, this would be all the Slipknot anyone would ever need. Sadly this is not the case. Once you have heard tracks one through eight, you have also heard the best of what tracks nine through fourteen offer.

Believe it or not folks, this is metal. Call it whatever you want, Grindcore, Mallcore, Nu-metal, it doesn’t change a thing because behind the costumes, the contrived image, the carefully manufactured commercial success and legions of poseur fans, there is something that true metalheads, who are into aggressive music, can enjoy. Now if they can only let themselves enjoy it.

Killing Songs :
People = Shit, Disasterpiece, The Heretic Anthem, Left Behind
Shane quoted 76 / 100
Jay quoted 51 / 100
Aleksie quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Slipknot that we have reviewed:
Slipknot - All Hope Is Gone reviewed by Goat and quoted 56 / 100
Slipknot - Voliminal: Inside The Nine (DVD) reviewed by Dylan and quoted no quote
Slipknot - Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 81 / 100
Slipknot - Slipknot reviewed by Shane and quoted 49 / 100
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