Like it or not Slipknot are about as close to Kiss as modern metal can get. Consistently successful, a spectacle in appearance and flush with conflict, both bands have continually remained in the spotlight throughout various musical phases. However, much like Kiss, the mystery that once surrounded Slipknot has been entirely diminished after years of side projects, interviews and live shows. What this has left the groups highly-devoted fan base to focus upon is the music and with "All Hope Is Gone", these nine Iowans seem highly aware of this.
"All Hope Is Gone" continues with the bands ever-evolving lust for genre experimentation and in turn creates perhaps the most dense and disjointed listen in their discography. While the input of nine members is obviously a factor, the melting pot here isn't so much of a pot, but a cauldron that is repeatedly boiling over from an excess of ideas. Sure it's easy to appreciate that despite having built a successful following, the group continually try to push themselves in new directions.
The problem with this arrives when certain songs feel like little more than a haphazard collection of riffs and dynamically averse melodies and aggressive blasts. While songs like "Psychosocial" succeed by cementing themselves around a stomping riff and rhythm section, others flounder in a collective mish-mash where momentum is never able to be gained as the group seem far too hyperactive to focus for longer than a verse.
As a whole "All Hope Is Gone" seems to take inspiration from not only the bands back catalogue; but a number of their favorite artists and the diversity of that is readily apparent in a number of the songs. Take "Gehenna" for instance, a track which straddles Alice In Chains-like grunge with Josh Homme-reminiscent falsettos. As much as it stands out from the rest of the album, it works thanks to its grounded approach.
It is the lack of this above-mentioned cohesion elsewhere that sees other tracks attempt similarly bold mixtures of ideas and fall apart at the seams. The odd thing is that even with a few shaky results, the band never fully crater - though they do come dangerously close. The problem for most though will be that Slipknot are a band who are at their prime when they are at their heaviest.
And heaviness isn't the driving component of this album, rather it is a vague backbone for the band to unleash a flood of ideas off of. The revisiting of their discography on various songs is a nice touch that will surely give a maggot or two an sly grin. But with plenty of cheesy moments, haphazard part changes and a few plain boring song ideas, "All Hope Is Gone" falls considerably short of being a metal masterpiece. But that's alright, because masterpieces probably don't mean nothing to the Clown anyway.
(3 / 5)