30. Scissors (Slipknot, 1999)
The idea of this mad, almost cartoonish band doing an eight-minute song seemed ludicrous at the time. After all, it was the nu metal era – success largely came in the form of half-arsed cover songs and three-minute verse-chorus tunes. Scissors is a brooding, genuinely unsettling way to close Slipknot’s self-titled debut, those shuffling rhythms sounding more like they’re from a found-footage flick than a rock album. Nasty.
29. The Negative One (.5: The Gray Chapter, 2014)
Slipknot’s first song in six years, The Negative One served as the debut of the then-unidentified Jay and V-Man (although it should be pointed out the bass may have actually been played by ex-Slipknotter Donnie Steele… it’s complicated, okay?). As opening gambits go, it’s not messing about – it hooks you straight in with one of those inimitable, bouncy Slipknot riffs, careering straight into that classic percussion and, of course, loads of keg hits.
28. The Blister Exists (Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, 2004)
Vol. 3 was certainly a shock for some fans. Acoustic guitars?! Take away their metal cards and fill their masks with cream pie! – but its ‘proper’ opening track, The Blister Exists, at least offered a smooth transition from Iowa’s abject horror. Corey’s verses aren’t really screamed, more yelled; the riffs are wiry and ‘metal’, but not frantically so; the drumming’s obtusely front-of-the-queue as always, the snare solo becoming something of a moment whenever they play it live.
27. Custer (.5: The Gray Chapter, 2014)
Custer, as a metaphor, represents a last stand: Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer led a cadre of 700 men into a suicide mission at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. The shout-along chorus ‘Cut, cut, cut me up and fuck, fuck, fuck me up’ perhaps doesn’t best convey that, but hey, it’s heavy metal. Custer is one of The Gray Chapter’s most ‘Slipknot’ moments – it’s just savage riffing, mindlessly hefty drum patterns and lyrics delivered with enough venom to make a bison feel wobbly.
26. All Out Life (All Out Life, 2018)
Released almost a year before We Are Not Your Kind, this stand-alone single reminded people Slipknot were still capable of grabbing throats, taking names and writing a catchy chorus when they fancy it. Sonically, it’s Custer’s little brother, but with a drawn-out, militaristic break that ensures those kegs and blastbeats feel twice as sharp when they swing back into focus. No clean singing. No pandering to lighter tastes. ‘Old does not mean dead, new does not mean best.’ Quite, Corey.
25. Killpop (.5: The Gray Chapter, 2014)
It’s accused of being The Gray Chapter’s poppiest portion – not true, given Nomadic exists – but Killpop’s dénouement of ‘Die and fucking love me!’ isn’t exactly Shakira, is it? Of course, the song’s melodic inclinations through the chorus could trick you at first listen, but it’s more in keeping with All Hope Is Gone’s ghastly, underrated Gehenna than anything Stone Sour have done. Plus, that solo rips.
24. My Plague (Iowa, 2001)
Slipknot’s My Plague popped its ugly head into Resident Evil’s tracklisting, albeit as a softer mix with – brace yourselves – vocal harmonies in the chorus. In its Iowa form, though, this Grammy-nominated anthem still slaps harder than a Dad at a hospital vending machine. That driving, irresistible beat came straight from Sid’s head, and despite the arena-ready chorus, it’s still heavier than anything on the radio today.
23. Dead Memories (All Hope Is Gone, 2008)
The most contentious song of Slipknot’s career? Yep. Big chorus? Certainly. Dead Memories is essentially what people expected the band to follow Iowa up with: sanded-down, diminishing returns, cashing in on Wait and Bleed’s runaway success. But today, as it stands, Dead Memories is just brilliant at what it does. Sure, the people screaming “Corey’s just turning Slipknot into Stone Sour!” do have a leg to stand on for four-and-a-half minutes, but when the hooks are this prominent, it doesn’t really matter. For a brief moment, the nine embraced pop rock. Turns out they were pretty good at it.
22. Pulse Of The Maggots (Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses, 2004)
Pulse Of The Maggots is a call-to-arms, an ode to Slipknot’s unwashed faithful, heaving in masses of thousands wherever the band went. Corey’s cadence is upbeat, almost giddy, bolstered by those throwback breakbeats just before the second verse; the song’s solo is unashamedly Slayer, backed by Joey’s double-bass in a mini-Lombardo blast. It’s a shot in the arm, a kick in the arse – it’s a song about unity, and really feels like it.
21. Sulfur (All Hope Is Gone, 2008)
Despite having been members of the same band for around a decade, Sulfur was the first time Joey and Jim ever wrote together. The fruits of their labour were surprisingly fresh – this is very much a ‘rock’ song with left-hand turns, Sid’s woozy turntables and a sinister, extreme metal riff underpinning the intro. But that aside, Sulfur’s all about those hi-res, widescreen moments: Corey yelling ‘Stay!’, the subsequently monolithic chorus, the guitar hero solo. It’s not exactly Dead Memories, but it could certainly be seen as Slipknot’s twisted take on arena rock.