Subdued synths, simplistic drum groove, and a piano chord progression amplified by soothing vocal harmonies. Not exactly what you’d expect from a band like Slipknot, yet that’s exactly how they open ‘The End, So Far.’ With the release of ‘We Are Not Your Kind,’ the band completely revitalized their sound, bringing back the aggressions of their earlier era while also experimenting with some new stylistic changes. Their newest effort follows the same trend, continuing to improve upon their signature sound while enhancing their more experimental efforts, as evident in the opener “Adderall.”
Throughout ‘The End, So Far,’ Slipknot continues to bring back nostalgia for fans, embracing their truly aggressive era, firing on all cylinders. Lead singles “The Chapeltown Rag” and “The Dying Song (Time To Sing)” combine heavy, headbanging riffs with soaring, infectious choruses in a way that captivates and works its way into your head. Tracks like “Hivemind” and “Warranty” amplify the intensity, incorporating gritty guitar progressions and blast beats that are full of energy and passion. Additionally, “H377” features blistering drum grooves with fierce guitar solos interspersed among the driving riffs and screams layering the track. ‘The End, So Far,’ while full of intense moments that truly express the signature nature of Slipknot, manages to still implement new elements that continue to bring an interesting perspective to the band. A lot of the success of such implementation lies in the experimentation present throughout the record.
As mentioned before, “Adderall” truly sets the tone for the record in terms of trying new styles. With a sound not far off from what you’d expect from Stone Sour, “Adderall” shows Slipknot going beyond just the aggression and integrating a slow burn track that jarringly leads into the aggression of the lead singles. Similar to tracks like “Spiders” and “Not Long for This World” from their previous effort, “Medicine for the Dead” and “Yen” utilize eerie synth melodies juxtaposed by heavier progressions and haunting vocals that truly standout as highlights on ‘The End, So Far.’ However, some of the experimentation doesn’t quite hit the mark. With tracks like “Heirloom” and “Acidic,” Slipknot attempts to create simple songs that have basic grooves to contrast the heaviness, but it lacks the passion and energy that the other experimental works manage to achieve. Nonetheless, the experimentation that does work, as in the ultimate tracks “De Sade” and “Finale,” exceeds in going above and beyond the expectations of the group, introducing new elements into their already established sound.
‘The End, So Far’ is a truly defining work in Slipknot’s later era of music. While it doesn’t reach the same intensity as their early work or the soaring experimental highs of ‘We Are Not Your Kind,’ the band’s latest effort still manages to keep their sound fresh and interesting. With the combination of intensity and experimentation, ‘The End, So Far’ doesn’t deviate far from the natural progression of Slipknot’s sound, yet continues to build upon their formula. Aside from a few moments that feel somewhat lackluster or devoid of much creativity, the strong moments of the group’s chemistry outweigh these faults and drive their style further and further, creating an album that will find its place nicely in the expansive discography of Slipknot’s career.