“Iowa” by Slipknot

Slipknot certainly have a fanbase, but they get a lot of hatred both from non-Metal fans (they aren’t the most abrasive band in the genre by a long shot, but they’re definitely the most public example of so-called ‘Extreme Metal’, so they wind up as a focal point for a lot of the rage toward it) and Metal snobs who see them as only slightly higher on the genre’s elaborate pecking order than acts like Limp Bizkit. But if you believe brutality is a virtue (and while I myself have my doubts about this, it’s generally the common mindset among the Metal crowd), then they deserve a certain measure of respect for being by far the most brutal band to remain remotely pop-friendly, and there’s something to be said for the sheer force and intensity of their music. This song was the climactic track on their second album, which was something of an artistic breakthrough for them. In concept, it’s not that different from the standard fare of Slipknot’s sometime cohorts Insane Clown Posse…an internal monologue from the point of view of a particularly twisted serial killer, punctuated with evil laughter in the background…but unlike ICP, Slipknot can actually pull off real terror, and the lyrics to this song are genuinely unnerving. It also shows the band had a sense of atmosphere…the track is essentially a kind of 15-minute Nu-Metal soundscape. I like my brutal music subtly and complexly textured, and this song certainly proves that Slipknot are capable of more than just simplistic musical assault…yes, even this early in their career. Granted, I approach pretty much all Metal music as an outsider, given that I’ve never really bought into the Heavy Metal mindset, but based on my analysis, I’d give this band a passing grade at least.

Verdict: Good.

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