4

Slipknot

Four albums in (five, if you're an eBay-stalking obsessive), Slipknot is having an identity crisis. Frontman Corey Taylor's side project, Stone Sour, has allowed him to unmask his sensitive singer-songwriter side, and that's well-represented here on "Snuff" and "Dead Memories"—the former a half-acoustic ballad, the latter a slab of post-grunge radio rock.

Guitarist Mick Thomson and drummer Joey Jordison, on the other hand, have death-metal dreams; there are double-kick drum explosions and widdly guitar solos all over this record, including some serious whammy-bar abuse on "This Cold Black." The explosive rage of old is now tempered by the wish to mature—no surprise, given that all of Slipknot's member are in their 30s, but potentially alienating to their younger, eternally pissed-off fans.

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