Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

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Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by D.B. » Tue May 25, 2004 5:33 pm

Ever bought an album and been, well... I don't even know the words for it. I've about half way through my seventh play through since i bought it at 8:00 last night, *checks watch* just under 21 hours ago.

The new Slipknot album came out yesterday.

No, don't click on a new thread yet. I know no-one here's really a fan, and I'm not going to go into a blow by blow description (unless someone posts asking me to, in which case it will be nice to get some of it off my chest ;)). The point is, this is nothing like anything they've *ever* done before. Had I heard a preview of it on the net, I would have dismissed it as an incredibly naieve hoax instantly. I wouldn't even recognise the band in some of these songs, had I not put the CD in myself.

There's been lots of talk in the last few months that this album was going to be a big departure - Rick Rubin (producer) said it was like a cross between Radiohead and Slayer. But every artist proclaims their new work as being something completely new and unique. I just ignored it. I figuered it would be a tighter, more polished version of what had gone before, with little experimentation thrown in if we were lucky.

...dammit though, there are *guitar ballads* on this! Piano parts! Strings in the background. Nosebleed inducing changes of key and mood. Sample/Dj solos. Kerry King-esque guitar solos. The majority of songs contain melodic sections, whereas before it was at most a couple per album. And stylistically.. This isn't a "big departure", this is a reincarnation into a new and alien form. I've never before jumped up off my bed when listening to a cd for the first time, just to run over to the speakers and check if I'm hearing what i think I'm hearing. But I did it four times yesterday. It's certainly the most intense emotional reaction I've ever experienced from just listening to an album. And the damndest thing is, I still have no idea if I like it or not.

...and where exactly is this long winded ramble going, I hear you ask. Well, I'm curious - has this ever happened to anyone else here? An album/piece of music (or film or book) that threw you curveball after curveball, that so utterly defied your expectations, that you were left feeling completely bewildered as to what had just happened? Was it a wonderful progression/discovery that lead onto to something better than you would have ever imagined, or did it signal the end of your love affair with the work of (what had been) one of your favourite artists/groups?

Or am I a nut, and maybe should chill out a little?





[size=0.5]I'm meant to be programming in the department at the minute. I came home. I can't concentrate. I think I can fit in another listen through before dinner, once this one's done...[/size]
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by Dana » Tue May 25, 2004 6:31 pm

Yes, you're a nut...and no, don't chill out. ;)

Sounds like a fun ride your on right now with this album...are you worried that they'll be viewed as sellouts or is the music just that good that you don't care, you're going to embrace it no matter what your friends think?

I cant wait to hear if you actually like it...or not. ;D

The closest I've come to what you're experiencing is AC/DC's "Powerage". I became a fan of AC/DC in 1980 with the release of "Back in Black". I had never heard of them, got in backstage to a show in Boston and have been hooked ever since.

So, I kinda got into their music backwards. I bought B in B and then bought the previous album, "Highway to Hell"...loved it...and then the live album, "If you want blood"...really loved it...and that lead me to their next previous album, "Powerage". This album was sooo different than all the others I'd listened to, especially B in B. It had storylines, wonderfully powerful heart-wrenching lyrics that made you feel for this guy, Bon Scott. Slow tunes, fast tunes, lots of blues...I loved it and played it over and over and over...in my opinion, it's the best album ever recorded by anyone...and that includes the Almighty "Back in Black".

But I didn't listen to it non-stop like you're describing...yup, you're nuts alright. :P

Happy listenin D.B. ;)

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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by Sheana_Molloy » Tue May 25, 2004 7:11 pm

Slipknot?! [puts Pat out of his misery]

J/K. :P

Yeah, I can say I've had those sort of experiences before. They include The White Album (first album I was ever given), Queen II, Quadrophenia, and Blood On the Tracks.
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by FunkyMonk » Wed May 26, 2004 12:31 am

I too remember things very similar to what you all have just said.

Aout 4 or so years ago, I really started getting into music (since I am only turning 13 in June), rock music in particular. Both my parents are huge fans of all the classic rock bands, which is why I myself am a fan. But anyway, my dad really likes Led Zeppelin, and at the time, I wasn't very familiar with them. So, I bought their very first cd, "Led Zeppelin" to see just how great they were.

Well, they weren't great. They were phenominal! This album came out in 1969, and I think for that day and age, Zeppelin really introduced a whole new type of music to the world. So, almost immediately after I bought their first album, I went out and got "Led Zeppelin II" which was even more heavier and amazing then their first album. But then I remember getting "Led Zeppelin III" and that's when Led Zep started expeirimenting a little with the instruments. In songs like "Gallows Pole" John Paul Jones plays the mandolin, and I think that it just goes so well with the rest of the song. Then, it was christmas in 2002, I believe, when I got their "Untitled" album. This, in my opinion, is the greatest album Led Zeppelin ever made. With beautiful acoustic songs like "Battle of Evermore" and "Going to California" and much heavier, rock'n'rollin' songs like "Black Dog" and "Rock&Roll". Not to mention "When the Levee Breaks" and the all too famous "Stairway to Heaven", this album is a masterpiece.

Then somewhere between now and after I got "Untitled" ::), I bought "Houses of the Holy". Not one of the best Zeppelin albums ever, but it does have "The Ocean" and "Dancing Days".
I have not bought the other 4 Led Zep albums, but don't worry, I will! ;)

Now, just last month, I went to the local cd store and with the little allowance money I had left, bought the Led Zeppelin 2 disc live DVD...which, by the way, has been out for quite some time now. This. Is. Awesome. This DVD shows the band perform many of their great songs, and it has Mr. Jimmy in it too! (duh) Robert, Jimmy, John, and Bonzo were some of the greatest, and most talented musicians in history. N one will ever be able to copy or duplicate them in anyway. (You hear that, spinal tap?!?! >:()
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by SirMustapha » Wed May 26, 2004 1:52 am

Well... Um, maybe I haven't yet witness a band change their direction so dramatically like Slipknot did, and when I buy albums, I normally read reviews first (by George Starostin or Mark Prindle), so I always have an idea of what it will be like. But I did have wonderful surprises in my journey through music. "Dark Side Of The Moon" was the first album that truly woke me up to music, even if it was a slow discovery, and my first Pink Floyd was "Meddle", that I still find excellent.

And there was "Tubular Bells", which I really grew addicted to. It felt amazing, I couldn't get it off my head. And then, it was "Amarok"... well, with that one, I knew I had something absolutely fantastic on my hands, and... well, I had never heard something even similar to that. It was amazing.

My journey into Talking Heads was also great. "Remain In Light" was my first, and it was awesome! Crazy, addictive, fun, you name it. And then, I bought "Fear Of Music" in LP... I was like, "man, what IS this?" I guess that's the closest I got to your story, D.B. I was so intrigued by that record, it hardly sounded like the same band from "Remain In Light"!... except for Mr. Byrne's vocals, that is. :) It took me a while to make up my mind about "Fear Of Music", but as of now, it's my favourite Heads album.

Of course, there were the unpleasant surprises... Delving into Mike Oldfield's 90's discography was a pain... I mean, there's "Tubular Bells III", you know. :D Oh, my, do I hate that album. *insert long, generic rant here*
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by Marco » Thu May 27, 2004 10:48 am

I despised Slipknot and their music from day one, judging it classical angsty-chuggy-messriffic-teen metal. I'll save you the dissertation on why and how, but if you are into it a bit, you might already have heard enough discussion from both sides. But, reading this "review" i think i'll be more than happy to change my mind after a good listen.

As for having this exact experience, it's hard to say. I believe i never ran into such a change of style from an album to the next that let me disoriented/wondering "wtf". Innovation, sperimentation and progression, always. I don't think an album can be *really* good if it doesn't put something new into a band's style.
The Gathering with their gradual but overwhelming change from doom metal to "trip-rock", Opeth's "one timer" Damnation, Anathema, Katatonia, Arcturus's "the sham mirrors". Or, MachineHead's and Fear Factory surprising return to their roots, or Dream Theater becoming all of a sudden clones of old Metallica revisited and spiced up with keyboard goodness.
But most of the times there were just gradual transition on the space of 2-3 albums, so that even if i putted the CD on without knowing who was the artist, i could still get it after 1-2 songs at most.

I'm sure there's so many bands i'm not remembering though, as i usually don't follow an entire discography of a band unless it really gets me in.
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by SirMustapha » Thu May 27, 2004 12:10 pm

I'm remembering of Radiohead now. My first album was the classic OK Computer, and after I left it sink in, I decided to get their next albums. It took me a few hours to realise that the band making Kid A was the same band who made OK Computer... and that the same band who made Amnesiac was the same who make Kid A. Serious, I thought I was listening to the wrong album. It was only when Thom Yorke started whining that I had a better clue. It was the most bizarre discovery of a band's music, for me.
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by D.B. » Thu May 27, 2004 5:41 pm

Marco wrote:...But, reading this "review" i think i'll be more than happy to change my mind after a good listen.
Bear in mind a rather important word, that may have gooten swamped in my general excitement - "I wouldn't even recognise the band in some of these songs..." There are others where it's pretty clear whose playing, and at least three or four songs that could have been on their first album. To hear the stuff that was freaking me out so much skip to tracks "Circle" and "Vermillion pt2", and to a lesser extent "Prelude 3.0", "The nameless"(chorus line) and "Danger - keep away". There are subtle changes in style throughout, though.

And I'm not saying all those changes are good - in fact for every good one, there seems to be at least one bad one. There's quite a few songs that sound more nu-metal-ish than anything they've produced before. Others sound a lot like Stonesour. The closest comparison I can come up with is the change in style between 80's Metallica and 90's Metallica. Sure, in Load/Reload/Black Album it, still sounded like Metallica was playing - but at the same time, the albums were nothing like Master of Puppets, Ride The Lightning, etc.

The ironic thing is, if I really really really liked this album, if it was the greatest leap forward any band has ever made, I probably wouldn't be listening to it as much as I'd have nothing to decide. As it is, I'm still in limbo as to what I think.
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by Marco » Thu May 27, 2004 6:07 pm

I didn't mean it sounded like the album is a masterwork, of course. I always judged Slipknot as one of those one album-two albums hits, then limbo, those bands that work always under the same formula until they do enough money for retirememnt from the mtv scene. But, it seems like they went on and took big risks to "do something new" with this one and i admire that in every kind of group. I know well enough their previous works and i'm curious to see what they have done, as i was curious when i heard about other bands "taking it to the next level". Metallica did that, and the commotion it raised is well known. I might not like them now but it's always better than having a "rereload" album, and it's good that they at least *tried* to do something new (or nu... heh). Maybe it's the same as many other bands, slipknot included. I wouldn't know what is best, but i think i'm pretty positive on the fact that when a band stops evolving (both in good or bad), it's pretty much dead.
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by Jase_to_the_Izzo » Fri May 28, 2004 4:31 pm

Hey Funky Monk, have you ever heard a song by John Frochante (sorry, I butchered the spelling of his name) called "Enter A Uh?"
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by FunkyMonk » Sat May 29, 2004 4:53 pm

Naw, sorry. I don't listen to his solo stuff much. I do hear it's very good, though. It's Frusciante, heh. ;D He's one of my favorite guitarist. He's quite good...sorry for going off topic, guys.
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by D.B. » Sat May 29, 2004 10:15 pm

FunkyMonk wrote:...sorry for going off topic, guys.
Naa, no worries. It's all kinda relevant.

And in my last word on the whole thing (promise!), I feel I just have to share Terroriser's closing comments about this album's change of direction.

"...it's still debatable whether the idea of men in gimp masks singing about their feelings is an entirely edifying experience."

:D
Last edited by D.B. on Sat May 29, 2004 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:Next step in evolution - or grotesque aberration?

Post by Jase_to_the_Izzo » Mon May 31, 2004 5:08 am

Actually I would suggest everyone listen to "Enter A Uh." It's a frightening song. The only thing that matches is it is Tomb Raider 2...the movie.
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