It's been four years since Slipknot's last album, and the maggots (aka Slipknot fans) are ready for some more meat. It may be awhile before the masked metal band makes their way back to town, but the group's fourth album, "All Hope is Gone," hits stores Tuesday.
Two new singles, "All Hope is Gone" and "Psychosocial," have already hit the radio, the latter exhibiting a more melodic sound than you might expect from such a heavy band. Slipknot percussionist Shawn "Clown" Crahan views the new sound as an extension of Slipknot's artistic growth.
"It's a very different album, not better or worse than the others," Crahan said from New Jersey, where the band was preparing for a show. "We've always believed that to continue this dream we need to have the courage to push forward in different things. It's a bridge into uncharted territory, but it's a territory we've all been wanting to get to."
"All Hope is Gone" was recorded at Sound Farm in Jamaica, Ia. (where The Envy Corps recently recorded their major-label debut), with Evanescence and Mudvayne producer Dave Fortman. It's the first time Slipknot has recorded in their home state since their demo, "Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat." Past recording sessions required the band to relocate to Los Angeles for months at a time, but with most of the band still living in Iowa this commute was a lot easier.
"I don't think any of us took being so close to home for granted," Crahan said. "I have a family, and it's difficult to live in an apartment for three months while everyone you love is at home. To get up, take my kid to school, have lunch with my wife and then bolt to the studio, record into the a.m. and then drive home to sleep in my own bed, it felt like an honor to be here."
Recording location wasn't the only change this time. Work on "All Hope is Gone" began in February, so it was the shortest recording schedule of any Slipknot album. The songwriting process was more inclusive, as all nine members had input.
And Slipknot's trademark masks were redesigned. Crahan's new mask goes much darker than previous incarnations of Clown. The new mask has a bondage look, with a zippered mouth and no color. Crahan said he used the mask to externalize the anguish he had been feeling for some time.
"The last four years have been really tough for me - my dad died and my mom has Alzheimer's," Crahan said. "There was a time I was really not looking forward to doing all this [Slipknot]. I was deciding how much longer I might do this, and instead of making myself more comfortable, I decided to go for the most painful I could. I didn't want to rely on things being easier, bigger and better."
Slipknot is now touring in Europe, where they will remain through the end of the year. After that the band will return to America for a stadium tour. No Iowa dates have been finalized (though Slipknot did practice last month at Wells Fargo Arena), but Crahan says the band wants to play for fans in its home state.
"All Hope is Gone"
What: New Slipknot album
Where: In stores and online Tuesday
More: Listen to Shawn "Clown" Crahan discuss the evolution of Slipknot's sound.