Slipknot uses positive energy in musical tribute to fallen bandmate

After six turbulent years, Slipknot returns with the Des Moines, Iowa, band’s “heaviest and most intense body of work” on .5: The Gray Chapter, a Roadrunner Records release that goes from “grief to anger and beyond,” according to a news release. The new album touches on the most difficult period of the band’s career and serves as a tribute to lost friend and founding band member, Paul Gray. .5: The Gray Chapter is led by the “ferocious” ‘The Negative One’ and first single ‘The Devil In I,’ which is currently No. 3 on the Mediabase Active Rock radio airplay chart.

.5: The Gray Chapter is further described as taking the listener from the “raw moments” of the Slipknot’s self-titled debut and follow-up, Iowa, to the dynamics of Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses and All Hope Is Gone.The press announcement goes on to call .5: The Gray Chapter “classic Slipknot” while remaining fresh and innovative, proving the band continues to be “the premiere heavy band of this generation.” What’s more, Billboard reports the new album is on course to become the band’s second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, predicting the LP should sell more than 100,000 copies in the week ending Oct. 26.

The new album is Slipknot’s first studio release since 2008’s All Hope Is Gone , which debuted atop the Billboard 200. A review posted on notes that while .5: The Gray Chapter finds the band still recovering from the loss of Gray in 2010, the surviving members are able to harness that energy and focus it instead of allowing their pain and anger destroy them. The result is one of the band’s “most visceral and dynamic albums to date,” continues the review.

Frontman Corey Taylor tells that to experience something as profound as the loss of a close friend “shakes you to your very foundation,” adding, “It shakes up your life, it shakes up your personality, it shakes up the way you look at things and how you deal with things.” He goes on to state Gray’s death has left him taking less things for granted and appreciating life more. When asked if the lyrics on .5: The Gray Chapter revolve around the issues that surrounded the bassist’s passing, Taylor responds only in the sense of the guilt each member felt and wondering if there’s something more they could have done to prevent the apparent overdose.

“I didn't focus on anything negative with Paul; it was mostly about us dealing with the grieving process,” explains Taylor in the OC Weekly interview. “We miss him and miss his energy, the good times he would gave and the music he made. It would seem like people would expect us to focus on the negative shit and I didn't want to do that. I would rather celebrate who he was in a positive sense.”

Slipknot kicks off its 2014 Hell Tour Oct. 28 at Knotfest in San Bernardino, Calif., followed by more than 20 U.S. dates through Dec. 7 with Korn and King 810. The tour also sidetracks to Tokyo, Japan (Nov. 15-16) and Toronto, Canada (Nov. 30) before launching a full-scale European tour in January 2015 and appearing at the Soundwave Festival in Australia for four days (Feb. 21-22, Feb. 28, March 1).

Watch the official music video for ‘The Devil In I’ off the new Slipknot album, .5: The Gray Chapter.

As A Matter of Fact…

* Slipknot formed in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1995. The group was founded by percussionist Shawn Crahan and bassist Paul Gray, going through various lineup changes over the years before currently evolving into a core outfit that includes Crahan along with Corey Taylor (vocals), Sid Wilson (turntables), Chris Fehn (percussion, backing vocals), Jim Root (guitars), Craig Jones (sampling, keyboards), and Mick Thomson (guitars).

* Slipknot is known for its masked on-stage personas, aggressive nu-metal style, and chaotic live shows. On Halloween 1996, Slipknot self-released an album titled, Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat.. The resulting buzz caught the attention of Roadrunner Records, which signed Slipknot in 1997.

* The band enjoyed quick success following the release of its 1999 self-titled debut and 2001 follow up album, Iowa. Appearances at Ozzfest in 2000 and 2001 also helped raise the group’s standing, helping the Slipknot debut go platinum in 2000.

* In 2004, the EP Pulse of the Maggots produced by Rick Rubin appeared as an exclusive download, followed by a full track listing for Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses. Slipknot then embarked on a brief tour as a warm-up for their dates headlining Ozzfest that summer.

* Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and was supported by steady touring. A two-disc live album followed in November 2005 and fourth album, All Hope Is Gone, appeared in 2008. Slipknot made a number of festival appearances the next summer and launched the All Hope Is Gone world tour.

* In May 2010, the body of bassist Paul Gray was found in an Iowa hotel room. An autopsy on the 38-year-old bassist revealed he died of an accidental drug overdose. The band decided to carry on—believing it would have been the founding member’s wishes—and released new album .5: The Gray Chapter in October 2014 as a tribute to Gray.

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