Food for the soul
Slipknot is a band I can't love or hate totally - it's like walking on a tightrope and falling on either side occasionally. When I first heard "Wait and Bleed", I dismissed them as trivial and made only to shock people. Like Marilyn Manson I thought, who will lead you to madness if taken seriously. Come on, they're wearing masks for crying out loud.
But there is something about their music (although some would use that term loosely for this band) that keeps me coming back for more. Their more radio-freindly singles aired on NU have always caught my ear. It is refreshing in a way to listen to rock that has a sense of chaos. Most of the stuff I listen to doesn't have the same anger and rage that proliferates in songs like "People = Shit", or "Heretic Anthem". My friend who's into Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and the like, got me back into Slipknot after lending me some Revolver magazines with articles about them. Browsing through some of the stuff about the band helped me see the madness behind the music so to speak. I've been giving a good listen to the 2001 album Iowa (a co-worker's CD) at the office these past few weeks. I honestly can't get into a lot of their songs, but after watching some of their concert footage, I can appreciate what they're trying to do: pushing the envelope and see how far they can go in exploring the dark side of rock.
So how can I make sense of what they're all about (in my own opinion), why they do what they do? Well, I remember the Japanese concept of compartmentalization that my college professor used to talk about in class. Basically, the Japanese tend to group the different aspects of their life (and respective people in it) into separate "compartments". This means that the "contents" of these compartments will never mingle with each other. For instance, a housewife may have a group of friends from work that she socializes with, but will never meet her husband. Another good example of this concept is a true story of a Japnese man in a relationship with a Filipina. He also has affairs with other women, much to the grief of the the Filipina. Trying to make sense of why the guy was doing that to her, the girl told her story to my professor. My Prof simply explained : "He truly loves you, if that's what you want to know. But you see, you're only one of his many compartments..."
So what the hell does this have to do with a band that has nine members, trying to make as much noise as possible? My theory is that everything that comes with their music goes into one compartment. The things that go with the Slipknot sound fall into some sort of alter-ego that exists as an outlet for all the emotions harvested from the negatvity of real life. Why else would they wear masks? For me that symbolizes their darker selves that want to vent out the madness within (although they say the masks are meant to take the focus away from themselves and divert it to their music instead). Essentially, it's a coampartment that is meant to release all those pent-up feelings and process it into a cathartic, primal scream.
But whatever, you know...that's just my opinion. That's the best way I can reconcile their stuff with my specific preferences for music.