fri 14/08/2020

Albums of the Year 2019: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2019: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind

Albums of the Year 2019: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind

A place where anger meets sophistication

We Are Not Your Kind: Slipknot stay true to their masks

It is late December and, as the year draws to a close, it seems that the global political scene is defined by radical divisions, out-of-control climate, growing anxieties, and simmering conflict. Metal legends’ Slipknot’s We Are Not Your Kind responds to the gloomier side of the world picture. It captures anger, frustration, and disillusionment and has been interpreted as an expression of the sour end of singer Corey Taylor’s marriage. However, the themes in the music can be read as a profoundly universal.

We Are Not Your Kind is both raw and sophisticated, with Slipknot drawing on a wide range of styles and expressions within rock and metal. Slipknot are growing up and so am I: I turned 30 this year and have followed them since my pre-teenage years. Both youthful and mature, the confidence, innovation and nuanced emotions on We Are Not Your Kind resonate with me. It contains energetic, angrier “classic” Slipknot songs such as “Birth of the Cruel” as well as build-up compositions like “Spiders” and slower pieces like “Liars Funeral”.

To top it off, Slipknot’s new album ended Ed Sheeran’s reign over the number one position in the album charts in August: news that made me feel there is some hope for human race. Jokes aside, We Are Not Your Kind makes a statement around the relevance of metal: this is not some isolated music, but a global commercial and cultural phenomenon. Slipknot stay true to their masks: in symbol and style they present a detachment from the “normal” world, rejecting celebrity culture, while still being a super band.

This year I saw Black Flag for the first time, as they hadn’t toured the UK for decades. It was one of the most inter-generational and gender-balanced (in terms of the audience) gigs I’ve ever been to and – by far – the friendliest and most energetic moshpit. Black Flag got their timing to visit the UK right. As through teaching popular music culture and music industries at university, I notice more and more students finding punk and post-punk meaningful in the era of Brexit, Trump, and general apocalypse. Hard times have always acted as a creative impulse, so let’s hope 2020 brings on some revolution.

Two More Essential Albums of 2019

Black Midi – Schlagenheim

Future Eve featuring Robert Wyatt – Kitsune / Brian The Fox

Gig of the Year

Black Flag at The Mill, Birmingham

Track of the Year

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Waiting for You

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