The band are noted for
their image; the members
wear matching boiler suits,
and each has an individual
The band found it's initial roots in the 1992 "Basement Sessions", conducted in the basement of Anders Colsefini, co-founder of the band. Many of the songs on Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat and some that made it through to the newer albums were written during these sessions.
The group formed in 1995, and released a demo album called Mate.Feed.Kill.Repeat in 1996. The album was well-received, and several major record labels became interested in the group. At that time, there were only 5 members. Slipknot eventually signed to Roadrunner Records, and released their self-titled debut album in June of 1999. Despite receiving little airplay, the album was successful, due mainly to word-of-mouth. Regarding the album, one reviewer wrote "You thought Limp Bizkit was hard? They're the Osmonds. (Slipknot) are something else entirely. And it's pretty impressive." 
Heavy touring (including an Ozzfest stint in 1999) greatly enhanced the band's fanbase.
2001's Iowa, the follow-up to their debut album, was widely anticipated and debuted at number three on the Billboard Magazine album charts and at number one on the UK album chart. They again toured heavily to promote the record.
After an almost two-year hiatus, the band regrouped in late 2003 and began writing and recording with world-renowned producer Rick Rubin, who has worked with artists ranging from Johnny Cash to the Beastie Boys to Slayer.
The band released their third album, Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) in May 2004. Reviews were mostly positive. New Musical Express noted, "At least two thirds of it is still comprised of head-spinning speed metal, but there are signs of genuine progression -- not to mention progressive rock -- from the off." It debuted at #2 on the Billboard albums chart.
Several members of the band have been photographed without masks: Vocalist Corey Taylor and guitarist James Root with their band Stone Sour, drummer Joey Jordison with his side-project the Murderdolls, percussionist Shawn Crahan with To My Surprise, Sid Wilson as DJ Starscream, guitarist Mick Thomson in Total Guitar magazine, and bassist Paul Gray in a police mugshot leaked through The Smoking Gun. In the video for "Before I Forget" they performed without their masks, with cameras facing only under the heads. (but as the video progressed, details of the faces were shown in brief moments.)
Debate on categorization
Corey Taylor on-stageThe critics are in discord where Slipknot's music fits, if in nu metal / mallcore or other genres.
Critics argue that the lyrical themes and instrumental styles of Slipknot (most notably the rarity of guitar solos), the use of turntables and sampling, and rap-style vocals are definitely similar to those of typical nu-metal bands. The structure of the songs tend to be simplistic. On the contrary, supporters of Slipknot note that the majority of their music does not have a rap-based lyrical structure (although the influence of rap is evident in some of their earlier music). Additionally, most of their instrument settings are not typical of nu metal (scooping of the mid range is not common in Slipknot's music).
With the release of Slipknot's latest album, "Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses", advocates felt that the presence of solos on their albums would silence debates on the genre with finality. However, it can be argued that this is simply another financially conscious move given the mid-2000s "retro-metal" renaissance, and that the style of vocals still have more in common with hardcore music than metal. Some others think that the presence of solos in their latest album is only due to the change of the producer, because of some sort of solo presence in pre Road Runner recordings. Following that hypothesis, producer Ross Robinson should have denied to Slipknot the use of guitar solos at all, to align them to the musical tendencies of late 90's. The debate goes on.
Some detractors accuse Slipknot of not being sincere in their music, to show violence on stage and to scream only to sell better and not because they are really angry with the world. As one detractor of their music says: "Slipknot are intense the same way your little sister screaming is intense. It's loud and angry, but also very annoying and not the least bit menacing".
The band is also frowned upon by many critics due to their appearance which many attribute to shock marketing and are described as "gimmicky". Some argue that this is no different to other nu-metal bands and that image is promoted in all mainstream bands. Another detractor is that many fans of the band Mushroomhead claim that Slipknot copied them. But the fans of Slipknot says otherwise, along with Mushroomhead and Slipknot. And then there are people who are fans of both bands and say that they both came out around the same time, in different states, so neither band copied the other.
Other methods of shock marketing that the band incorporates are epitomized in songs like The Heretic Anthem suggest Satanic undertones. The lyrics "If you're 555 then I'm 666! What's it like to be a heretic?" imply the dark purpose strongly, but the band members say otherwise, agreeing that it is part of the shock marketing.
Slipknot is also accused of creating positions within the band for the sole purpose of increasing the total number of members; for example, no other popular bands hold a position for a sampler, even if samples are included in the music. The band and fans claim that they have these extra members to create a unique sound, such as their two extra percussionists to add drum fills. However many critics argue that the extra members add little to the music, especially in a live setting.
Slipknot's present look
0 Sid Wilson - Turntables
1 Joey Jordison - Drums
2 Paul Gray - Bass guitar
3 Chris Fehn - Percussion
4 James Root - Guitar
5 Craig "133" Jones - Sampler
6 Shawn "Clown" Crahan - Percussion
7 Mick Thomson - Guitar
8 Corey Taylor - Vocals
Greg "Cuddles" Welts
Josh "Gnar" Brainard
Quan "Meld" Nong
Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) (2004) #2 US, #5 UK
"Wait And Bleed" (2000) #27 UK
"Spit It Out" (2000) #28 UK
"Left Behind" (2001) #24 UK
"My Plague" (2002) #43 UK
From Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses):
"Duality" (2004) #15 UK
"Vermilion" (2004) #31 UK
"Before I Forget" (2005) #35 UK
Roadrunner Records Demo (1997)
This Slipknot Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub