Since their 2008 All Hope is Gone album, Slipknot had experienced the kind of setbacks that would destroy a weaker band. The death of bassist and founding member Paul Gray in 2010, and then the departure of drummer Joey Jordison last year, became the grist for .5: The Gray Chapter. As Slipknot’s first studio release in six years, the band took the pain and made it their ally.

Opening with a dirge-like intro, “XIX,” complete with a musical backdrop of eerie bagpipes, vocalist Corey Taylor waxes melancholic while singing a missive to the living and to the dead. Four beats later, The Gray Chapter kicks into gear with “Sarcastrophe,” and immediately Slipknot sounds like they’ve returned from a stint in bleeding-heart exile: spring-loaded, pissed, and renewed.

There are so many elements that make this a great album; each track serves as a seduction to hear the next. “Be Prepared for Hell” is characteristically Slipknot in its brutality; the Jim Root/Mick Thompson guitar harmonies ring out vigorously as Taylor fires the ominous message with impressive cadence.

The grand ending, “If Rain is What You Want,” is the arc, showing the band’s deepening conviction to make great music, despite their losses. Evidently, there’s much more fuel in the Knot tank!

‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ Track Listing:

01. XIX
02. Sarcastrophe
03. AOV
04. The Devil In I
05. Killpop
06. Skeptic
07. Lech
08. Goodbye
09. Nomadic
10. The One That Kills The Least
11. Custer
12. Be Prepared For Hell
13. The Negative One
14. If Rain Is What You Want
15. Override (Bonus Track)
16. The Burden (Bonus Track)

Run Time: 63:51
Release Date: October 17, 2014

Check out the song “The Devil In I”