Statute of Frauds = Metal Manic
We here are open to all types of music at SoF, but we're entitled to likes and dislikes, and 8 times out of 10, those likes seldom include theatrical bands of the nu-metal ilk. But we're not eliteist, so when my roommate asked me two months ago if I wanted to pay 40 bucks and go see Slipknot at a hockey arena in New Jersey, I said "eh, why not."
For those out of the loop, Slipknot are eight beefy dudes from Iowa who play a considerably theatrical blend of classic speed metal and the not-so classic rap metal kind; buoyed by ferocious drumming and the typical unintelligble metal growl of vocalist Corey Taylor. They all wear costumes and masks, refer to each other by numbers 1-8, and have a fiercely rabid fanbase who refer to themselves as "maggots." Rock!
There were two opening bands at this show-Shadows Fall and Lamb of God. It was pleasing to know that both bands were firmly entrenched in the more old-school vein of Slayer and Sepultura than say, Korn. No whining about how Daddy abused them when they were little, no horrible rapping; just unintelligble screaming. Both bands featured crazy, Dave Lombardo-styled double kick drum action, fleet-fingered leads to complement heavy riffage, guitarists with long hair who were able to whip their locks in perfect time to the music, and most importantly, no DJs. Lamb of God seemed to have ever so slightly more variety to their sound-including a willingness to play in 6/8 time, but Shadows Fall was the better of the two groups; if only for vocalist Phil Lebonte's 5-foot dreadlocks and timely shout out to "our fallen brother, Dimebag, fucking Darrell!" (this is also the guy who refused to cancel shows even when he had laryngitis, saying that 'if Curt Schilling can win the World Series with a bloody ankle, then I sure as hell can sing with laryngitis.' Shadows Fall are from Massachusetts) I guess it's an unwritten rule in metal stage patter that you aren't truly metal unless you drop an F-bomb in between every other word. But I guess real metalheads are some truly crazy fucking motherfuckers, so it's ok.
If there's one thing to be said about Slipknot, it's that they at least have a sense of humor. Entitling a song "People=Shit" is funny enough, but the humor is taken up a notch when the song is accompanied onstage by two large monitors that quite literally spell out that People=Shit. Same goes for the song with the chorus "If you're 555, then I'm 666!!!!" But maybe the funniest thing about the band is how they have 8 members, yet only 5 of them really do much of anything other than run around and hump the two extra drumkits that the band has set up on the sides of the stage (imagine if the Mighty Mighty Bosstones had two extra dancers in addition to Ben Carr, or Radiohead had multiple Ed O'Briens). Actually, of the three extraneous members, one contributed some muted DJ scratches (ugh), and the other two guys occasionally played their drums as opposed to climbing on them; but the five dudes making the music could stand to make more $$$ per gig if they streamlined the operation a little bit.
It's unquestionable that the 'Knot have serious chops-especially drummer Joey Jordison, who was given a drum solo where his riser was lifted up and spun around a'la Tommy Lee or Palmer from Emerson, Lake and Palmer. They're loud, fast, and demonic sounding; this was the first concert I've ever attended where devil horns were raised and it wasn't meant to be ironic. Some of their newer songs have some ever-so slightly melodic sectons with proggy tendencies, but not enough so to make you think Mike Piazza is a fan. Speaking of fans, Slipknot seem to appreciate theirs; hauling out their double platinum record plaques in between songs and thanking "all of you maggot motherfuckers for making this possible" while stating how "they're honored to play for the fans, and not the other way around." In all seriousness, it was sort of touching.
All in all, a surprisingly good time. But once is plenty.
Most definitely 666.