"Here we go again, motherf---er."
So begins the much-anticipated new album from the world's favorite corn-fed shock rockers.
A few minutes of deafening guitar rampage and percussive thunder later, singer Corey Taylor rips into the first verse of "Disasterpiece." "I wanna slit your throat and f--- the wound," he yelps. "I wanna push my face in and feel the swoon."
This is Slipknot, folks, and they want their maggots (read: fans) to know they aren't any less intense this time around.
"We're living up to what we f---ing said, what we promised that we would not do what all these other bands had done, we wouldn't f---ing cheese out," Taylor explained earlier this summer from his Ozzfest tour bus. "We actually went the other way. We went harder, f---ing faster. We went darker."
Dark it is. This is an album so chock full of fury that song titles like "People = Sh--" and "I Am Hated" don't even begin to tell the story. In fact, only the combination of the 14 songs and the album's Iowa title and artwork will get the entire gist across, which is why percussionist Shawn Crahan refused to reveal the meanings behind several songs on Monday, just hours before the album hit stores.
"What I suggest for people is to pay attention," Crahan said. "I want people looking at the artwork. You should really dissect it, 'cause there's sh-- in there. You have to put things together. I want people to put it on and listen to it all the way through and turn it off after 'Iowa.' Ask yourself why it's called Iowa. We're not going to explain things anymore. Either people are going to start getting us or they're not. And if they're not, I want them to quit wasting my time. I just want people to really get into the band."
Crahan's wishes are already coming true. Slipknot's maggots have been anything but lax about Iowa. Like, well, maggots, they hungrily devoured "The Heretic Anthem" (formerly known as "Heretic Song") when it was released online earlier this month. And they've taken to the streets including the very public ones in front of "TRL" and the "Today" show cameras dressed in jumpsuits and armed with banners declaring a Slipknot infestation.
Perhaps that was what Crahan was referring to when he ended Monday's interview with two words: "World domination."
Many music industry insiders expect Iowa to top the Billboard 200 albums chart. Slipknot's 1999 self-titled major-label debut gradually sold more than 2 million copies worldwide all with virtually no radio or video support.
This time around there is a buzz on the band as electrifying as the group's nine-member musical assault. "Left Behind," the album's first single, is spinning on influential radio stations like KROQ-FM in Los Angeles (see "Slipknot Set 'Left Behind' As First Iowa Single, Video"). The band is also hoping for major airplay for the "Left Behind" video. A Roadrunner Records spokesperson said the label shipped more than a million copies of the album to stores.
"It's going to be a big week. Everyone knows that," Crahan said. "It's a great album. It's 190 percent ourselves, so I don't see why anyone would have a problem with it. All of these people talk, 'You're going to have #1.' I just want it so if the fans want it, it's there."
Much of Iowa is in the same vein as Slipknot, with Taylor's earsplitting screams showered over James Root and Mic Thompson's wall of guitars; Paul Grey's towering bass; Crahan, Chris Fehn and Joey Jordison's spastic beats; and sampler Craig Jones and DJ Sid Wilson's occasional effects and scratches. There are, however, a few stray moments, particularly the aptly titled "Gently," which opens in a whisper and lets Taylor truly shine as a singer.
"We like to get into our art," Crahan said. "Just to get by would be suicidal for us. We want to push it. We feel we are the envelope. It's natural for us to spin in different directions. We're in it to win it. We're not here to be comfortable. We're here to get it on. No one is safe."
More than groundbreaking, though, Iowa is just plain angry. Call it ear-breaking.
"We went out and we toured for two years straight, and the road really beat the f--- out of us, and it was kind of an overall consensus that we wanted to do something a lot darker than the first album," Taylor said. "[Recording] really helped us f---ing get out all the anger, all the bullsh--, all the loneliness, the experience on the road, everything to f---ing create this sick monster."
Slipknot will lay the groundwork for another sick monster when they headline this fall's Pledge of Allegiance Tour, which kicks off September 14 near Chicago (see "Slipknot, System Of A Down, Mudvayne To Mount Pledge Of Allegiance Tour").
For a full interview with Corey Taylor, check out the feature "Slipknot: Home Is Where The Art Is".