Slipknot’s been through a hell of a lot in the six years since All Hope is Gone was released. The death of Paul Gray and subsequent dismissal of Joey Jordison left the band with big shoes to fill. Meanwhile, in that time Corey Taylor’s other project Stone Sour recorded three albums. Vol. 5 had pretty massive expectations, and it more than lived up to them. As heavy as Iowa, but still with some commercial appeal, it’s could be their best work yet. Upon seeing the gimmickry of Slipknot and their organized chaos in 1999, it would be hard to imagine they’d still be around 15 years later. That they are, and that they’ve made such a solid album speaks to their success.
Key Track: “Killpop”
The best hardcore album of the year hands down. Kurt Ballou has a way of bringing out the best in every band he works with, and while there are definitely comparisons to be made between Trap Them and Converge, this is a solid 45 minutes of hate that shows them solidly coming into their own and staking out their own place in punk and hardcore on their fourth album.
Key Track: “Gift and Gift Unsteady”
If the last album you put out defined a genre, reforming 19 years later and putting out an album is a risky proposition. But in the same way Carcass was able to crush it last year, At the Gates put out an album that could have come out at any time in the last 18 years and still been masterful. The Gothenburg sound has been appropriated by so many other bands that it’s great to see its originators snatch it back and create an album that’s classic and contemporary at the same time.
Key Track: “The Circular Ruins”