In the wake of Slipknot’s announcement that their ravenously-anticipated seventh studio album will drop on September 30, the band have left us something to feast upon in the form of first single The Dying Song (Time To Sing), along with the track’s official video. What do we think? In short: it positively smokes.
The track opens with Corey Taylor delivering the song’s chorus, faintly accompanied by a pulsating stitch of electronica. Unless you’re new around here, you recognise this as familiar Slipknot territory — songs that begin quietly are often destined for pure sonic carnage and the new track is no exception. As the chorus ends, the rest of the band dive in like an air raid as Taylor bellows, “Die! Die! Die!” Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached cruising altitude.
From here, they rip into a galloping speed metal frenzy, with Taylor barking out verses like “Radical, rather than rhetorical/babble like an Oracle/Why am I always in your debt?” in a jagged staccato cadence. At first blush, it recalls The Heretic Anthem’s raw, spiteful swagger. Sonically however, there are deeper layers at play here than what we heard in their earlier output. Of course, Slipknot’s signature sound remains at the core — the blistering crunch of the two-guitar attack, thundering levels of percussion on top of other levels of percussion and tempos that shift and speed up in dizzying intervals.
After a short pre-chorus of bent, spiraling guitar lines, they hit the chorus again — clean, soaring vocals with a subversively-catchy, slowed-down cadence that all-but-guarantees singalongs in their live show. The instrumental break that follows is where the layering becomes more obvious; a machine gun tempo hurtles through a tangle of kaleidoscopic melodies and thick, proggy bass lines.
One of Slipknot’s enduring hallmarks is the illusion that their music is wild and chaotic when in fact, each track is a tightly-orchestrated exercise in pinpoint rhythmic precision. Jay Weinberg’s performance here is next level and as the chorus repeats through the outro, you can hear him play it just a little bit differently each time. Which of course, requires the rest of the band to remain tightly locked-in through each of these subtle shifts. It all speaks to the obscenely high levels of musicianship at work. Beyond its jaw-dropping technicality, The Dying Song (Time To Sing) is a rampaging, double-dose of pure testosterone and it’s catchy as hell.
The video is absolutely worth checking out as well. Produced by M. Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan, it strikes a glitzy futuristic vibe with dizzying quick cuts of the musicians, walled in by multiple mirrors and pulsating strobe lights. The newest masks are all on display, although in some cases, the glimpses are brief, due to the editing and intentionally-blurry production. Overall, the new single is an exhilarating introduction to Slipknot’s latest chapter and convincing proof that not all things mellow with age.