We were all awaiting the return of our favourite masked metalheads, and 2019 made our wishes come true. America’s faceless heroes Slipknot have returned to the stage and airwaves this year, finally gracing the world with the strongly opinionated and motivational record We Are Not Your Kind.
There’s always a lot to unpack with Slipknot’s music. There’s never music for the hell of it or sounds and effects for the sake of using sounds and effects – every song was driven out of the band and onto the album for a reason. Being one to voice his views and stances, frontman Corey Taylor has worked to put out one message with the record: it’s us versus them. You are you, we are us.
After an eerie opening composition in “Insert Coin,” Taylor goes into the classic Slipknot sound with “Unsainted.” If the band know one thing, it’s how to draw the listener into a believable yet dramatic story. “Unsainted” can be summed up with one lyric: “You killed the saint in me.” The idea of crushing hope and wrecking innocence is played with and reflects how the world is being corrupted and desensitised to all-too-real horrors and tragedies. It starts with taking away innocence and blissful ignorance, then the true damage begins.
The way the band conveys their beliefs and their fears is nothing short of beautiful. One of the more artistically captivating tracks is the latest single, “Birth of the Cruel.” It ironically comes alive with a tone of artificiality and mechanical workings. Matching with Taylor’s screaming vocals, the screeches of the guitar and the harsh sounds fitting together in this masterpiece makes their own statement about the world. It’s fake, it’s fabricated, nothing left is reliable, and no one left can be relied on. It’s a call to overthrow the dangerous, inhuman authority with the unknowingly powerful collective of the individual. That’s the goal of We Are Not Your Kind: to prove that the real will win, and the machine will lose. Never doubt the little guy. Love defeats hate any day.
There’s something to be read into with every song on this 14-track storybook; and the truth is, everyone should read into it. Music is one of the deepest mediums of art and one of the very few universal languages that everyone can hear. Everyone understands the messages woven into music, and it has the power to open eyes and minds and hearts, through the ears.
Instead of running track by track, let’s finish with discussing the closing song, “Solway Firth.” The most fitting conclusion to the record, its title is most likely derived from the conspiracy-surrounded photo and takes the theme of covering up the truth with a more interesting story that will gain one attention and favour. “Counting all the killers” is the striking phrase and motions to issues with unfavourable leadership around the globe – people who twist the truth and make up details, convincing others that it is their truth and should be ours.
The depth of Slipknot’s work is indescribable to say the least and shouldn’t be taken as just heavy, catchy noise to scream and mosh to. There are always words to listen out for, lyrics to focus on, and messages and encouragements from the group to the public. We as individuals need that push to stay strong and keep fighting for what’s right.
Simply enough, Taylor has said it himself years back, and this is just the reiteration: we are not your kind.
We Are Not Your Kind is available now on Apple Music and Spotify. Slipknot are also on tour right now with Knotfest, and tickets can be found here. For European fans, Slipknot are touring Europe and UK next year with dates to be confirmed.