WE ARE NOT YOUR KIND
Release: August 8, 2019
''I’m counting all the killers…''
“We are not your kind” is the sixth studio album by American heavy metal band Slipknot, and was released on August 9, 2019, via Roadrunner Records. It is the band’s first album since the departure of longtime member Chris Fehn. The title of the album is taken from a lyric off the band’s standalone single “All Out Life” released on October 31, 2018, despite not being featured on the standard edition album, but is on the Japanese edition.
Music can be cathartic both for the listener as well as for its creator. We have witnessed pain transformed into art many times before, just think about HIM’s “Venus Doom” (2007), Nightwish’s “Dark Passion Play” (2007) or more recently Bullet for my Valentine’s “Gravity” (2018) and Within Temptation’s “Resist” (2019) to name some of my favorites. True enough, each artist has its own way of translating the chaos in their life into music, some albums being dark and heavy, others more light and breezy, other both dark and breezy, while others are experimental and follow no precise patterns.
Birth of the cruel
Death because of death
A liar’s funeral
Not long for this world
With Slipknot’s vicious and brutal “We are not your kind” we get yet another survival album, as there is a common thread (mostly anger and the search for identity) through all of the songs, which range from hard and heavy, to unexpectedly calm and serene, but the substrate is still there, in the lyrics and the vocal delivery. The album starts with the intro “Insert coin” and the words “I’m counting all the killers”, which, as Corey Taylor explains, is “a metaphor for counting all the ways that you’ve been minimalized, marginalized — all the things that have been laid on you like an issue and the things that have been laid on you like a scapegoat. You’re counting all the things that are slowly killing your identity.”
And from there on, ‘the killers’ reveal themselves one by one as the album progresses. Dark, cinematic and diverse to the point of being eclectic, yet weirdly cohesive and coherent, WANYK can almost be seen as a concept record. And the digital interludes, consisting of distorted samples and keys from Craig Jones, as well as the way songs seem to bleed into each other, help in this respect (“What’s next” and “Spiders” is the perfect example). With the symphonic infused, hard hitter “Unsainted” (which some link to a Rolling Stones song because of the choirs used) and the up tempo heavyweight “Birth of the cruel”, which has some trance-like passages and a very powerful industrial vibe thanks to the drums and guitars, we have a very solid introduction to this album.
“Nero Forte” ramps up the heaviness and keeps the momentum going with heavy instrumental and a neat vocal delivery that goes back and forth between fast-paced in a rap way, to a beautiful almost operatic delivery during the chorus. “Critical Darling” has moments that remind me of “Psychosocial”, but overall it matches the pace and vibe of “Nero Forte” with more rapped verses, mellow passages, and a rather unsettling atmosphere, that makes for a great contrast. With the bleak and lamenting “A liar’s funeral” we get to the core of the album, and the emotions bubble up the surface. Starting on acoustic guitar and soft vocals (in the same vein as “Snuff”), with some visceral screams in the form of one word – “LIAR!”, it soon develops into a pretty angry song with harsh vocals and intense backing instrumental. Only Slipknot could have pulled off such a song while the next track, “Red flag”, is just a relentless outpour of harsh vocals and aggressive instrumental, making it the heaviest number on the album. Gotta love all these contrasts and juxtapositions that make this album both dynamic and intriguing.
After the eerie interlude “What’s next” we get the rhythmic and piano-driven “Spiders”, whose incredibly catchy and simple chorus will get you humming along to the beat in no time. It serves as a moment when the listeners can catch their breath and get ready for the closing part of the album. And true enough “Orphan” again brings the heavy side of Slipknot into the forefront, with a balanced mix of clean and harsh vocals, abrasive lyrics and hefty instrumental. The electro-driven “My pain” is a creepy and calm number with a very beautiful and enchanting melody to it coming from the keys, and a vocal delivery that is both superb and terrifying at the same time. It’s like a nightmarish lullaby. The melodic piece “Not long for this world” bounces back and forth between light and dark moments, while still retaining a certain dose of aggressiveness coming from the drums and guitars. The exceptional “Solway Firth” closes the album on a very high and heavy note.
There are so many facets and layers to this album, and it only gets better the more you listen to it, as with each new listen you will surely discover a new aspect to it. In between the richness of the vocals and the various electronic overlays, the melodies, rhythms, and the percussion, We are not your kind has a lot to offer, and many listeners will find that they are actually of the same kind.
Rating: 9 / 10
Corey Taylor – lead vocals
Mick Thomson – guitars
Jim Root – guitars
Alessandro Venturella – bass
Jay Weinberg – drums
Shawn “Clown” Crahan – custom percussion, backing vocals
Craig “133” Jones – samples, media, keyboards
Sid Wilson – turntables, keyboards