Soundwave 2015: Slipknot

Iowa's masked sons close the first day of Soundwave in Melbourne

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The sun’s just slipping beneath the treeline after a 36-degree scorcher when it happens.

The sweaty throng that’s just screamed Paradise City back at Slash and his conspirators have just taken a collective step leftward to the adjoining stage and it’s difficult to tell whether the temperature really has dropped or it just feels that way. We’ve definitely moved more than a few feet – it’s a journey through time from one generation to the next that spans an intervening period of heavy music’s reinvention, and it’s spat out something dark and menacing and the mood near the sound desk is simply electric.

By now you’ll have heard plenty about how good Slipknot are: Knotfest, their triumphant UK and European tour, and crucially a Herculean effort to re-enter the studio following inestimable loss are already well-documented. In short, they’ve deftly proven that if you’re going through hell it really is best to keep going. Tonight, fresh from an all-too-predictable Grammy snub they appear ferociously determined to prove just how irrelevant such hollow accolades really are compared with tens of thousands of maggots squirming to the furious call-and-response of The Heretic Anthem.

“I’ve been waiting a long time to say this,” pants Corey, “how you doing Melbourne? We’re going to make it worth every second you’ve waited for us.”

The serpentine opening riff of The Devil In I kicks off a pyrotechnic firestorm, illuminating twisted masks and a stage-set that owes as much to Alice Cooper as it does, as Clown recently told us, the feverish, nightmare-inspired paintings of Hieronymus Bosch. Despite such apocalyptic visions the mood is nothing less than joyous. It looks like napalm. It smells like victory.

“Jesus Christ, you are on fire tonight, Melbourne!” he bellows before the swaying melancholy of Vermilion gives way to the timeless wrath of Duality. “How would you like to come back to 1999 with us?”

And, as Wait And Bleed exorcises demons and conjures fists as far as the eye can see it’s apparent that this band, who’ve for so long fought to stand in the court of rock and metal royalty are truly worthy of that status. Tonight, they deserve the throne.

Alexander Milas

Alexander Milas is an erstwhile archaeologist, broadcaster, music journalist and award-winning decade-long ex-editor-in-chief of Metal Hammer magazine. In 2017 he founded Twin V, a creative solutions and production company.  In 2019 he launched the World Metal Congress, a celebration of heavy metal’s global impact and an exploration of the issues affecting its community. His other projects include Space Rocks, a festival space exploration in partnership with the European Space Agency and the Heavy Metal Truants, a charity cycle ride which has raised over a million pounds for four children's charities which he co-founded with Iron Maiden manager Rod Smallwood. He is Eddietor of the official Iron Maiden Fan Club, head of the Heavy Metal Cycling Club, and works closely with Earth Percent, a climate action group. He has a cat named Angus.