music / Columns

The Top 20 Slipknot Tracks

August 17, 2019 | Posted by David Hayter

Ladies and gentlemen the moment has finally arrived. We Are Not Your Kind, Slipknot’s sixth studio album, has been released and 411 will be reviewing it this weekend.

In the meantime, while we wrap are heads around the new material, it’s time to celebrate the old as we unveil a treat for all the Maggots in the comment section.

The top 20 Slipknot tracks! In honor of the 20 years that have passed between the release of the Iowa band’s self-titled debut and their hotly anticipated new release.

20. People = Shit (2001)

In so many ways “People = Shit” captures Slipknot at their most childish as they unashamedly pander to their own nihilistic world image. This is the band very literally telling you to get the fuck out of their face as they stumble paranoid from one miserable shithole state-of-mind to the next. The title and chorus says it all and, while the production may seem a little dreary in 2019, it’s impossible to deny the seething onslaught of the rhythm section that cascades in a beautiful brutal fashion.

19. Snuff (2008)

The awkward, opinion splitting “Dead Memories” may be the most notorious single from All Hope Is Gone, but “Snuff” was actually the album’s highest charting single. Bordering on the over-earnest – especially with its cringe inducing backing vocals – this sweet relationship mourning anthem captures Slipknot’s ability to use blunt and disgusting imagery to create something beautiful – a classic lighters in the air anthem from an unexpected source.

18. Everything Ends (2001)

Atop a quicker than a whippet groove, Corey is free to experiment with one of his craftier verse-chorus dynamics on the extremely catchy “Everything Ends”. The chorus is your classic “fuck the world” outsider posture, but verse reveals the internal the insecurities behind such wanton antagonism. With an elastic rhythm section and an ungodly catchy chorus, “Everything Ends” is the perfect end-of-your-tether angst unleasher.

17. No Life (1999)

If it weren’t for the skidding samples and scratches coming from the decks, you’d have a hard time convincing me “No Life” belonged on Slipknot’s debut. The barmy blend of percussive insanity and a calm melodic vocal hook is instantly reminiscent of Vol. 3. It feels like a perfect template for what would become “The Nameless” – another insanely structured track that came ever so close to making this list.

16. The Negative One (2014)

Initially viewed as a shot at legendary drummer Joey Jordison after his acrimonious split from the band, “The Negative One” now stands as a brutalistic anti-lead single. The shrieking samples offer a clear throwback to the band’s debut, while the tight locked rhythm and tubular guitars point in the direction of Iowa. Still this was no exercise in nostalgia, “The Negative One” represents a soothingly focused Corey Taylor making his intentions clear for a new iteration of Slipknot.

15. Spit It Out (1999)

“Spit It Out” is one of those strange songs that has aged horrendously, almost every aspect of the track from its dodgy raps and goofy scratches to its subterranean echo-y production and farty bass feels dated and gimmicky – and yet, I defy anyone to avoid screaming and headbanging along the second it kicks in. Of course, anyone who has seen the band live knows how important “Spit It Out” is in their canon and every listen will be enhanced by those sweat soaked memories.

14. The Devil in I (2014)

After a slick and sludgy opening (if that isn’t too much of a contradiction), “The Devil in I” transitions from an instrumental and low-key mood piece into a billowing cathartic anthem. The slamming, stuttering riff might sit uneasily alongside the soft-spoken understatement of the verse, but this tribute to their fallen bandmate Paul Gray just about works as both a powerful headbanger and a worthy thinkpiece.

13. Unsainted (2019)

Suffice to say we’re very excited to review We Are Not Your Kind this weekend and while, out of respect for that the fact we want to give the new songs a chance to sink in, no album tracks will feature on this list – the riotous lead single “Unsainted” will. Slipknot are walking a dangerous line. They are showing off their craftsmanship, their innate ability to control mood and create a shifting atmosphere, while simultaneously trying to unleash their angst in as anarchic a fashion as possible. It could sound contrived, instead it feels like the first step towards a richer and more ornate direction for Iowa’s finest.

12. Vermillion, Pt. 2 (2004)

The dialling back of extremes that The Subliminal Verses represented culminated with “Vermillion Part 2″: a gruff and unguarded acoustic ballad. This statement of true vulnerability (there is no anger or nihilistic posturing to hide behind here) removed all remaining boundaries for Slipknot. No longer constrained by their monstrous imagery, they’d be free to explore their insecurity and softer side on future releases.

11. Psychosocial (2008)

All Hope Is Lost might have failed to live up to the hype, but that’s because “Psychosocial” sent expectations skyrocketing towards the stratosphere. It’s hard to fathom today, but when Slipknot returned and this single dropped, they were instantly earmarked as the biggest and most important metal band of their generation. In hindsight it was just a riotously silly lead single with a gorgeous melodic hook, but back in 2008 it was the proof that a metal band was willing to stand front and center stage and dare to be the biggest band in the world. Forget the Killers, who cares about The Kings Of Leon, bollocks to The Black Keys, Slipknot could be bigger, better and catchier than the lot of them.

10. Before I Forget (2004)

These days Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses tends to be viewed at the classic, but at the time Maggots worried that they were witnessing the Stone Souring of Slipknots sound – and not without good reason. In hindsight, Slipknot were simply broadening their horizons, enriching their already ferocious rhythms with the inclusion of more grooves and less thrashing while embracing a slower, classic rock terseness. By dialling down the febrile metal intensity and employing his screams sparing, Corey stumbled on a model for arena cathartic conquering glory that would serve the band well in years to come.

9. My Plague (2001)

With its whacky 2000s vocal effects – Corey’s bridge sounds as if it’s swirling through a sewer en route to the listener – “My Plague” feels like an artefact from another time. Of course, being on the Resident Evil Soundtrack only adds to this lost in time and space feeling, but if its sonics are old, its energy, aggression and urgency remain in tact. When Corey screams, “I’ll reach in and take a bite out of that shit you call a heart”, it’s hard to imagine that this savage-slam-dance will billow out into a sensitive and expansive piece of precision engineered pop, but that’s exactly what happens.

8. (Sic) (1999)

Slipknot have all those drummers for a reason. They might not be interested in sounding like a Mortal Kombat inspired rave these days, but the power of their tribal rhythms can never be denied. “(sic)” is the perfect blend of relentless, inhumane sawing guitars and a psychotic death dance of interwoven drumwork. “You can’t kill me because I’m already in inside you” – this is as dark, demented and imposing as Slipknot hits get.

7. Left Behind (2001)

Lo and behold, “Left Behind” was one of the first metal singles I ever bought back in the days when you would save up your cash and go and buy a CD from Woolworths of all places. “Left Behind” seems to have fallen from favour with the band themselves and often finds itself jettisoned from setlists. This should come as somewhat of a shock as the track is utterly unrelenting, blending an insistent melody with a series of horrific cries of raw desperation.

6. Wait and Bleed (1999)

“Wait And Bleed” is the moment when Slipknot made their ambitions undeniable clear. More than a Nu-Metal fad, not just nihlistism with a wicked rhythm section and a an arbitrary DJ – with Corey Taylor’s instinctual mastery of melody-admist-the-mayhem, Slipknot were destined to be metal’s next great headliners. For better or worse, “Wait and Bleed” is the genesis point for every great maggot mashing anthem that was to come.

5. Eyeless (1999)

“Eyeless” in many ways represents so much of what Slipknot have left behind as they’ve matured and expanded their sound. Slipknot’s progression has been wonderful to behold and it only serves to enhance the pleasures of “Eyeless” which, after its daffy drum and bass intro, blossoms (or should that be decays) into a feral, anti-social psychosis. This is Slipknot at their most depraved. They transition right through the pit sparking riffs and scream along chants, into something undeniably black. Metal bands often claim to represent anti-pop nihilism – while producing well structure songcraft complete with hooks – and it would be churlish to label “Eyeless” as anti-music, but by its thrilling conclusion it has descended into a state of ritualistic otherness.

4. Duality (2004)

Slipknot, like all bands, have their own collection of malcontent fans pining for the days of yore, but compared to their festival headlining rivals, the Iowa metallers have rarely been labelled sell outs. The question is: why? Well look no further than “Duality”. Nothing holds a fanbase together like having your biggest and boldest pop moments slap his hard. Slipknot have that uncanny knack of writing transparently ambitious anthems without embarrassing themselves or their fans – then again, “I push my fingers into my eyes” is about as dark as concessions to the mainstream get.

3. Disasterpiece (2001)

I mentioned earlier that Iowa is a hilarious teenage album and that is exactly why it is so beloved. It takes a farcical level of petulance and  demented societal disgust to scream, “I wanna slit your throat and fuck the wound” ( with a straight face no less). From its knowingly terrible title on down, this track is the ultimate anarchic outleting of vile vitriol that just so happens to be backed by Joey Jordison at his absolute technical zenith. Never has ritualized bloodletting sounded to so good. This is more than just “Slipknot does death metal” – the grooves and rhythms are too rich and rewarding – and Corey’s bridge proves too damn melodic. This is Slipknot making extreme bad taste, good.

2. The Heretic Anthem (2001)

It might be redundant to say “this song is incredible live”. After all, pretty much every Slipknot anthem is a riot in person, but “The Heretic Anthem” is one of those gloriously snot-laden onslaughts that everyone should scream along to in person at least once. So what’s it like to be heretic? A hell of a lot of fucking fun, actually – even if this double bass pedal onslaught does its best to grind your bones into earth.

1. Surfacing (1999)

Slipknot have always represented a Duality: like the human hand, they can extend their palm and welcome you in (“Wait and Bleed”) or turn savagely and smack you on the jaw with their knuckles (“Surfacing”). With its gloriously alien sound-mix, “Surfacing” is Slipknot at their teenage, miserablist, best: “Fuck it all/Fuck this world/Fuck everything that you stand for”. To be fair, Corey never claimed to be a poet, but a poet could never have captured the resentful anger of a generation of alienated teen acolytes.

article topics :

Slipknot, David Hayter