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Slipknot's The Chapeltown Rag: the metal world reacts

Slipknot Masks
(Image credit: Roadrunner)

Having laid down a trail of snippets, Slipknot finally dropped The Chapeltown Rag on a semi-suspecting metal world last Friday – their metal behemoth's first new music since 2019's We Are Not Your Kind sessions. Immediately swarmed over by the legions of Maggots, its delving into both the real-world tale of the Yorkshire Ripper serial killer, aka Peter Sutcliffe, and the not-so-real world of social media that can still have consequences revealed a band turning their ire outwards, after dealing with all the trials and tragedies the members have had to endure.

Slipknot have forever altered the metal landscape over the course of the past 16 years, so how would the bands who found fertile DNA in the nu metal pioneers' blast radius react to the heralding of a new era. We tracked down a host of leading lights to find out...

Metal Hammer line break

Caleb Shomo (opens in new tab) (Beartooth)

"When a metal band puts out a new song these days, the same questions seem to arise. Will it be softer than the old stuff? Will they cut the screaming and try to go more radio-friendly? For Slipknot, this is simply never the case. As a worshiper of the Iowa album, The Chapeltown Rag gives me the same chills as when I first heard People = Shit. It's a sonic pummelling of organised chaos that continues to open up the more times I jam it. Every member is at their best. Slamming guitar riffs, relentless drums, cranked percussion, chilling effects all over the background, and the iconic vocals that sound like a throat on the verge of exploding. How they continue to get better and heavier I have no idea, but I'm fucking here for it. Long live Slipknot."


Diamond Rowe (Tetrarch)

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was a maggot for life, so Slipknot truly can’t do wrong in my eyes. The Chapeltown Rag is a classic example of why Slipknot is who they are and arguably the most successful extreme metal band of that caliber. This song has all elements that make Slipknot unique and consistently who they are. From the blastbeats to the big melodic chorus and sick riffing. It has Corey Taylor (opens in new tab)'s classic spitfire vocals and they seamlessly go from extreme blasts and tremelo picking sections into catchy half time head banging riffs. I went and saw Slipknot at Knotfest a few days ago where they played this song live for the first time in a stadium and it was killer. All I can say is the people who hear this song and don’t understand how sick it is and why it represents Slipknot so well are not our kind.”

Max Portnoy (Tallah)

“The Chapeltown Rag is probably one of the best Slipknot songs to come out in recent years. The song structure feels chaotic, and reminiscent of stuff they used to do back in the old days. Jay's drumming in particular was a highlight for me. It's got me really excited for what's to come with their next album.”

Slipknot in 2021

(Image credit: Alexandar Gay)

Jake Dieffenbach (Rivers Of Nihil)

“Slipknot have honed in on their greatest assets while pushing the envelope into subject matter that has rarely been explored by a metal band: social media. The song has the pulse of someone scrolling a thousand likes per minute, and has the catchiness of the World Wide Web while remaining haunting and mysterious. The song has a rampant vibe to it that is hard to shake off. I totally dig!!”


Elijah Witt (Cane Hill)

“Slipknot have found a way to continuously push the envelope with every release, and The Chapeltown Rag is no exception. When it feels like we live in a world where legacy metal bands churn out rehashed earaches, The Devil’s 9 take their classic sound and twist it into something refreshing and full of hate. Instrumentally, the blastbeats, kegs from hell, and guitar riffs that make your ears bleed keep you in engulfed in their world while Corey Taylor displays his prowess as a vocalist. In the verses he adopts a distorted melodic technique that sent literal shivers down my spine.”

Kate Davies (Pupil Slicer)

"My first experience with Slipknot was seeing them live in a 10,000-capacity venue, alone, after the friend that was taking me couldn't make it. I had no idea what was going on or what to expect and suffice to say, they blew me away. As someone who didn't grow up listening to Slipknot or even metal in general until later in life, it's interesting to see how various bands' legacies compare to their output in retrospect. There have been lots of bands that I've listened to that I feel you had to grow up with the appreciate as much as hardcore fans do, or that their works inspired so many bands better than themselves, but with The Chapeltown Rag Slipknot prove they are in the same position they were 20 years ago – at the top of the game. Catchy choruses, a breakdown hard as nails and killer riffs throughout."

Slipknot

(Image credit: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images)

Scott Lewis (Carnifex)

“From the Eyeless-esque intro to the opening line of the first verse, ‘Everything is god online’, Corey Taylor and Slipknot have known we live in a world of perceived absolutes, and The Chapeltown Rag arrives as that sentiment reaches a fever pitch. The subjects of Slipknot’s songs always seem timely, and this one is right on time. Musically the band are more locked in than ever. V-Man and Jay complement the band more and more with each song they’re a part of. Twenty-six years in, still brutal, still catchy, still relevant, always fucking Slipknot.”


Joe Nally (Urne)

“I think the big thing from listening to the earlier albums to listening to the new songs is that you can tell two of the main are no longer with us. It's the same sort of vibe, and it's good, and I'm fine with it, but that the way Paul Gray (opens in new tab)played left-handed, the notes felt different and the way the riffs fell felt different. It doesn't always need to be the most technical, flashy guy in the world, it's just about knowing what sounds good. I listen to the band now and it's a different band. It’s Slipknot 2.0 – a lot of it sounds the same, but I know what's going to happen, I gather this new song was written by V-Man, the bass player, and it fits in line perfectly with what they've been doing for the past couple of albums. If anything, it's a bit more aggressive, there's a bit more character to it.

“When I first heard the intro, I thought they were doing Eyeless from the first album, and I feel like they’ve sampled it for two seconds before cutting it off. I feel like the percussion shines through a bit more that it has done in the previous two albums, but I think Corey Taylor sounds fucking amazing. There’s a lot of power. He’s like Bruce Springsteen (opens in new tab); he’s got a great talking voice, so you know he’s going to be a great singer. There are a couple of different things he’s done on this track, that are really interesting. The music falls into what Slipknot is now, but there are a lot of bands coming through and doing this nu metal stuff but, I’d be a bit gutted that Slipknot have come out with this because it still smashes them."

Slipknot promo pic 2019

(Image credit: Alexandria Crahan-Conway)

Josh Middleton (Sylosis)

“Slipknot were a hugely important band to me as a kid and it’s so great to me that as much as they’ve expanded their sound and grown as a band. They’ve not lost their intensity and venom. If The Chapeltown Rag is anything to go by, the new record is going to be really exciting.”


Eugene Abdukhanov (Jinjer)

“The Knot are back in a huge way! The Chapeltown Rag is my new favourite Slipknot song and in my opinion it is the best single they’ve released since Subliminal Verses. Damn, I am surprised in the best way I can be! They’ve got this new sound, something that reminds me of the Subliminal Verses era, but this bass by V-Man is definitely a new hook. The message is right on point too – we cannot deny what is wrong with us. This track is absolutely massive, and I can’t wait to hear more.”


Roel van Helden (Powerwolf)

“I’m a Slipknot fan. I always think of them as the new Pantera in terms of intensity. And I have a massive amount of respect for Slipknot’s drummer Jay Weinberg – this guy is working hard!! This new song is killer! It’s got the energy I love the band for. The first thing I notice as a drummer are the blastbeats in this song, very cool and above all, very functional. I’m looking forward to the new album!”


Turanga Morgan-Edmonds (Alien Weaponry)

“It’s really great to hear the combination of elements from all Slipknot albums showing up in this new single. The raw and chunky riff paired with Jay’s super-tight drumming. Add Corey’s vocals, which are sounding as strong as ever, combine it all up for an all in all great and true to form Slipknot song that makes me excited for the full album.”


Jamie Graham (Viscera)

“That blast-ridden pre-chorus leading into the melodic chorus hook is seamless. It’s sounds like the band have found the perfect bridge between their Iowa savagery and their more melodic sensibilities. Definitely the song a lot of the older fans wanted!”


Solomon J Lucifer Christ (Red Method)

“Slipknot have influenced countless bands the world over and by rights have nothing to prove in their 20-year-plus career. The Chapeltown Rag shows a band at their most potent. It’s full of fire and vigour not heard in a long time – although I don’t think it’s possible to top the ferocity of Iowa (opens in new tab), my personal favourite record. The song is centred around the Yorkshire Ripper and Sid Wilson (opens in new tab) leads the charge with an all too familiar introduction and before you know it, the entire band erupts into an insane cacophony of brutality. The song twists and turns with riffs that pummel you in a way that only Slipknot can. The vocal harmonies in the chorus sound beautifully unhinged, bringing out the darkness of Corey Taylor’s mind while the brutal breakdown at the end of the song offers no respite at all. They are on fine form, and it will be incredible to see how this will unfold. I can’t wait to hear what the rest of the album has to offer. It’ll be hard to top this one."

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.