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Slipknot's mix of grinding, post-Korn alternative metal, Marilyn Manson-esque neo-shock rock, and rap-metal helped make them one of the most popular bands in the so-called nu-metal explosion of the late '90s. But even more helpful was their theatrical, attention-grabbing image: the band always performed in identical industrial jump suits and homemade Halloween masks, and added to its mysterious anonymity by adopting the numbers zero through eight as stage aliases. Add to that a lyrical preoccupation with darkness and nihilism, and an affectionately insulting name for their fans ("Maggots"), and Slipknot's blueprint for nu-metal success was set. Slipknot were formed in late 1995 in the unlikely locale of Des Moines, IA; after some early personnel shifts, the nine-piece lineup settled around (in order from number zero to number eight): DJ Sid Wilson, drummer Joey Jordison, bassist Paul Gray, percussionist Chris Fehn, guitarist James Root, sampler/programmer Craig Jones, percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan, guitarist Mick Thompson, and lead vocalist Corey Taylor. The music scene in Des Moines wasn't much to speak of, and the band's big-time ambition was usually met with disbelief and ridicule, which provided the initial spark for its mostly anonymous stage visuals. On Halloween 1996, Slipknot self-released an album called Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat., which began to build a buzz around the group once it found its way to several labels. It was picked up for distribution by the Nebraska-based -ismist label, and also caught the attention of Roadrunner Records, which signed Slipknot in 1997. Working with producer Ross Robinson, Slipknot recorded their official, self-titled debut album, which was released in 1999. They gradually built an audience through near-constant touring, working their way up to the summer Ozzfest package tour, which really expanded their audience. Their live shows were a much-discussed hit with metal fans, and the band performed with such energy that Crahan gashed his head open on his own drum kit twice that summer, requiring stitches both times. The tracks "Wait and Bleed" and "Spit It Out" got the band some airplay, but most of the buzz came from touring and word of mouth. Finally, in the spring of 2000, Slipknot was certified platinum; the first such album in Roadrunner's history. The anticipation for Slipknot's follow-up was intense, and many industry observers predicted that it would debut at number one; however, faced with some stiff competition that week, the band's sophomore effort, Iowa, bowed at number three upon its release in 2001. More heavy touring followed, including another, more prominent slot on that summer's Ozzfest. After a long spell on the road, Slipknot took a break while the members worked on side projects. The band set up its own label, Maggot Recordings, and signed a band called Downthesun, whose lead singer had served as Crahan's drum technician. Wilson, meanwhile, began DJing solo under the name DJ Starscream, and Root and Thompson both worked on solo material. Drummer Jordison worked with a side group called the Rejects, where he'd actually served for quite some time as guitarist. Taylor, meanwhile, started a side band called Superego, and also contributed a solo song, "Bother," to the soundtrack of the 2002 blockbuster Spider-Man. That May, the band got some amusing press when some of its fans discovered the website of a British crocheting group also called "Slipknot," and flooded the members' in-boxes with excessively rude e-mails. Guitarist Joey Jordison and Static-X guitarist Tripp Eisen teamed that summer for the Murderdolls project, while Taylor re-formed his old band Stone Sour and released an album. By the winter, Slipknot had still not reunited and Taylor wrote a commentary on the band's website stating that they had not spoken in months, and that they'd rather break up than become "the next Gwar." The statement sparked a quickly resolved mini-feud between Taylor and Gwar frontman Oderus Urungus. but it also sent many of the Maggots into a tailspin. By early 2003, Taylor had retracted his comments, and announced plans for a new Slipknot album. That August the entire squad decamped Iowa for L.A., where they began work on the new record with producer Rick Rubin. "Pulse of the Maggots" appeared in early 2004 as an exclusive download; it was 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. (The group also debuted a fully redesigned third generation of their famous masks.) Subliminal Verses was released in May 2004. It peaked at number two on the Billboard 200, and the band toured steadily for the next year and a half in support. They released a two-disc live album in November 2005, followed by a slew of side projects (Taylor and Root formed Stone Sour, while Jordison sat in with Ministry and Korn) before releasing their fourth full-length album, All Hope Is Gone, in 2008. Slipknot made a number of festival appearances during summer of the following year, and also embarked on their All Hope Is Gone world tour. On May 24, 2010, the body of bassist Paul Gray was discovered by a maintenance worker in an Urbandale, IA, hotel room; he was 38 years old at the time of his death, which was later revealed to have been the result of an accidental drug overdose. The band decided to carry on without him, saying it was what he would have wanted. Two years after suffering the tragedy of losing Gray, the band released their first compilation. Spanning thirteen years of output, Antennas to Hell: The Best of Slipknot brought together the best studio cuts from Corey Taylor and co., along with a selection of bonus material, including their full performance at 2009's Download Festival. In 2013 Slipknot started work on what was to become their fifth studio album. During the recording process, it was revealed that drummer Joey Jordison had left the band, in murky circumstances which were widely held to be acrimonious, and that the band had recruited a new rhythm section. Both drummer and bassist were still anonymous at the time of the album's release, but were rumored to be, respectively, Jay Weinberg, formerly of Against Me, and Alessandro Venturella, formerly of Cry for Silence. Titled .5: The Gray Chapter in honor of their fallen bandmate, the album was slated for release in October 2014. Marking a return to a more raw, brutal, dissonant sound reminiscent of their earlier work, it was promoted with the singles "The Negative One" and "The Devil in I," which featured music videos directed by Shawn Crahan. ~ Steve Huey
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Albums by

Top Songs by

  1.   Song
  2.   Duality
  3.   Wait and Bleed
  4.   Psychosocial
  5.   Before I Forget
  6.   Dead Memories
  7.   Snuff
  8.   The Devil in I
  9.   Left Behind
  10.   Killpop
  11.   Spit It Out
  12.   Sulfur
  13.   My Plague
  14.   (Sic)
  15.   Vermilion
  16.   Pulse of the Maggots
  17.   People = Shit
  18.   The Blister Exists
  19.   The Heretic Anthem
  20.   The Nameless
  21.   Custer
  22.   Eyeless
  23.   Scream
  24.   Tattered & Torn
  25.   Skeptic
  26.   Skin Ticket
  27.   People = S#!t
  28.   Vermilion, Pt. 2
  29.   Everything Ends
  30.   The Negative One
  31.   XIX
  32.   No Life
  33.   Surfacing
  34.   Iowa
  35.   Gematria (The Killing Name)
  36.   Disasterpiece
  37.   Opium of the People
  38.   Me Inside
  39.   Nomadic
  40.   Goodbye
  41.   'Til We Die
  42.   I Am Hated
  43.   Gehenna
  44.   Lech
  45.   AOV
  46.   Get This
  47.   Override
  48.   Child of Burning Time
  49.   Vermillion, Pt. 2
  50.   Gently
  51.   Danger Keep Away
  52.   If Rain Is What You Want
  53.   (515)
  54.   The One That Kills the Least
  55.   Sarcastrophe
  56.   All Hope Is Gone
  57.   Drum Solo
  58.   Three Nil
  59.   New Abortion
  60.   This Cold Black
  61.   Purity
  62.   742617000027
  63.   Wherein Lies Continue
  64.   Vendetta
  65.   Prelude 3.0
  66.   Snap
  67.   Liberate
  68.   Prosthetics
  69.   Scissors
  70.   Interloper
  71.   People = Sh*t
  72.   Don't Get Close
  73.   The Virus of Life
  74.   Eeyore
  75.   Metabolic
  76.   The Burden
  77.   Be Prepared for Hell
  78.   .execute.
  79.   Welcome
  80.   Only One
  81.   The Shape
  82.   Diluted
  83.   7426100027
  84.   Circle
  85.   Despise
  86.   Butcher's Hook