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Slipknot - "All Hope Is Gone" (CD)

Slipknot - "All Hope Is Gone" CD cover image

"All Hope Is Gone" track listing:

1. .Execute. (1:48)
2. Gematria (The Killing Name) (6:01)
3. Sulfur (4:37)
4. Psychosocial (4:43)
5. Dead Memories (4:28)
6. Vendetta (5:15)
7. Butcher's Hook (4:14)
8. Gehenna (6:53)
9. This Cold Black (4:40)
10. Wherein Lies Continue (5:36)
11. Snuff (4:36)
12. All Hope Is Gone (4:44)

Reviewed by on March 25, 2009

"If Slipknot doesn’t figure out a way to improve their compositions, their album title, “All Hope Is Gone,” may just end up being prophetic."

Confused is the first word that comes to mind upon an initial hearing of Slipknot’s “All Hope Is Gone.” This band that has developed a faithful following appears to be trying to decide if they want to be extreme or fully move into the category of commercialized metal.

Criticism aside, the instrumentals are solid throughout the album, with the exception of the unnecessary turntables for which the band seems to have a fondness. A couple noteworthy guitar solos can be found on “This Cold Black” and “All Hope Is Gone,” and drums are the high point in “Gematria.”

Instrumentally, the album offers a good variety of elements that combine amazingly well, especially in “Gehenna,” which opens with an eerie mixture of goth and industrial, and in “Wherein Lies Continue,” where melodic hardcore transitions smoothly into thrash.

Then there are instances where the transitions are disjointed, such as “Vendetta,” “Sulfur,” and “Butcher’s Hook,” where grunge meets sleaze meets hard rock, and the rap vinyl scratches come off as an anachronism.

Fans of the more extreme metal should appreciate “This Cold Black,” with its heavy vocals and first featured guitar solo on the album. “Psychosocial” is also a little heavier, though more in line with a Metallica mix. The most promising tracks, though, are the lighter pieces, “Dead Memories” and “Snuff.” “Dead Memories” features an industrial/progressive rock sound and is significantly slower than other tracks, but is put together well overall.

The real problem with “All Hope Is Gone” lies in the vocals. Particularly in “Vendetta,” the screaming vocals seem too intense for the hard rock and industrial instrumentals. Sometimes the vocals, including backup, are just plain out of sync, as in “Psychosocial.” In fact, the vocals ruin an otherwise great piece in “Gehanna.”

The title track “All Hope Is Gone” seems out of place as the last track on the album. Perhaps it is placed there as a final acceptance that everything the band is angry about, which seems to be everything, really is futile, but musically speaking, the more refined “Snuff” would have made a much better ending to the album.

The most disheartening aspect of “All Hope Is Gone” is the fact that it’s not the band’s first album. It shouldn’t be a sampler mix showing off all the types of musical elements they can combine, unfortunately in a series of broken compositions. If Slipknot doesn’t figure out a way to improve their compositions, their album title, “All Hope Is Gone,” may just end up being prophetic.

Highs: Smooth blending of elements in “Wherein Lies Continue” and “This Cold Black.”

Lows: Disjointed vocals, particularly in “Sulfur” and “Vendetta,” detract from quality instrumentals.

Bottom line: Instrumentals save this otherwise uninviting and bleak album.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)