In early 2008, Slipknot returned home. Despite putting the midwestern state of Iowa on the heavy metal map by becoming one of the genre’s biggest success stories, it was the first time the Nine had recorded in their own neck of the woods.
In the small village of Jamaica – less than an hour away from Des Moines – the band created their most controversial effort to date, All Hope Is Gone. The album went on to be a multi-million-selling blockbuster and spawned gigantic hits Psychosocial, Sulfur and Dead Memories. However, it’s since been criticised by its own makers for being a safe and trying entry in the career of one of rock’s most dangerous enigmas.
All Hope Is Gone was not the only thing Slipknot made in those hometown sessions though. As revealed by Shawn “Clown” Crahan more than a decade after the fact, he, Corey Taylor, Jim Root and Sid Wilson also found time to record another, more ominous-sounding set of songs on the side.
“There’s a collection of songs that were recorded – eleven I think,” the percussionist revealed to Hammer in November 2018. “I’ve held onto them for ten years because it hasn’t been right, and I’m going to let you know now that it’s feeling right.”
Titled Look Outside Your Window, the lost album highlights the tense and fractious nature of the recording, recorded in a separate space to where the other five members focussed singularly on All Hope Is Gone.
“We had two different studios going on,” Corey said on SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation in 2019. He then described the songs as possessing a “Radiohead vibe” that’s “experimental” and “melodic”.
“They’re very solemn, very energetic, very artistic,” the frontman continued. “For people who are used to a certain way of Slipknot sounding, this doesn’t sound anything like that. It’s much more of a rock vibe.”
“It wasn’t going to be one of those things to loosely go out and confuse everyone, and piss everyone off,” Clown told Hammer. “We spent time doing it, we worked it every day, we mixed it, we mastered it, there’s artwork. It’s amazing stuff, but it’s all got to be right in the story of Slipknot.”
One song from Look Outside Your Window – the creeping ‘Til We Die – has already seen the light of day on the deluxe edition of All Hope Is Gone. As for the rest, Clown initially envisioned a Christmas 2019 release, capitalising on the momentum accrued by lauded comeback We Are Not Your Kind. That date came and went, but the deadline still seems to be anytime before the next Slipknot album if the band are to be believed.
“We were going to release it early on this cycle, but this [We Are Not Your Kind] takes precedence, and that’s not supposed to be confused,” Clown told NME in January 2020. “It’s going to be on this album cycle at some point. And, like everything we’re doing right now, it’s just going to come out, and people won’t even know. It’ll just be this thing that happens. I’m looking forward to that, though. I think people will really enjoy it.”
The idea of the raging ’Knot exploring the realm of ethereal rock is enough to make anyone impatient with curiosity, but we’re going to have to wait just a little while longer for this window to defog.