A new Slipknot album means new masks, new outfits -- and new sonic sojourns. "All Hope Is Gone" doesn't disappoint in that regard.

A new Slipknot album means new masks, new outfits -- and new sonic sojourns. "All Hope Is Gone" doesn't disappoint in that regard. Building on the experiments of 2004's "Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)," the set is at once Slipknot's most ambitious and accessible outing to date, with a broad palette of sounds and textures that shift faster than Michael Phelps off the starting block.

"Sulfur," "Psychosocial," "Dead Memories" and "Vendetta" are easy fits next to most anything else on the active rock front, especially at night, while the melodic, acoustic guitar-driven "Snuff" is this album's "Circle." On the heavier tip, ".execute/Gematria (The Killing Name)" opens the album with seven-plus minutes of doomy chords and socio-political diatribe, and "Gehenna" is a leaded, layered sludge fest.

The nine-piece recorded for the first time in its home state of Iowa at Sound Farm, about 40 minutes outside of Des Moines, with producer Dave Fortman. "The songwriting is stronger," frontman Corey Taylor says. "It's not a million-miles-a-minute with a bunch of screaming and all that crap." Even so, "the chaos is there but it's done in a more constrained way."

After finishing up European festival dates, Slipknot heads to Japan, Australia and New Zealand to headline arenas in October. In November, the band flies to Moscow for a headlining gig, which launches another arena tour in the United Kingdom through the end of December. In 2009, Slipknot will play arenas in North America, followed by visits to the Pacific Rim, South America, Mexico and possibly China.

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