When perennial metal gods Slipknot came to Scranton in 2012, they were a part of that years’ Mayhem Festival and put together a tight set full of songs their fans – affectionately known as “maggots” – had grown used to for several years. Three years, one drummer change, and a new album later, the nine-piece outfit returned to The Pavilion at Montage Mountain this past Wednesday as part of their Prepare for Hell Tour.
Since the last appearance, Slipknot has turned out a Grammy nominated new album, .5: The Gray Chapter, which finds the outfit paying tribute to its late bassist, Paul Gray. For this stop, the band delivered a healthy seven tracks from its latest offering beginning with the opening segues of “XIX” into the pounding “Sarcastrophe.”
Wasting little time in turning the general admission pit into a sea of crowd surfing and moshing, the band went back to 2001’s “Iowa” record for an intense run through the call-and-answer crowd favorite, “The Heretic Anthem.” While watching eight other men with horror masks thrash their way through the fiery metal is a show by itself, vocalist Corey Taylor should never be overlooked. Taylor’s stage presence could easily have people asking how one man can have so much energy for every show of a tour, but he makes it look simple. Aside from his stage antics, Taylor possesses the rare ability to have both a metal growl/scream where needed, but is also capable of singing hard rock, as was evident in the melodic “Psychosocial” from 2008’s “All Hope is Gone.”
Going back to its latest effort, Taylor’s voice was flawless on the slower – in Slipknot terms – single “The Devil in I,” and also a trashing take on “AOV.” After the departure of drummer Joey Jordison in 2013, it might have seemed like a daunting task to find someone capable of the insanely fast timing of Slipknot, but the band found Jay Weinberg (son of Max Weinberg) who meticulously delivered on speed cuts, like 2001’s “Disasterpiece,” and the later era’s “Sulfur.” Aside from the standard drum kit, a Slipknot show is never complete without Shawn Crahan and Chris Fehn who have their own custom kits – complete with empty beer kegs and metal baseball bats – on opposite sides of the stage to add to the percussion.
Again going back to the “Iowa” album, the band ran through the darker “Gently” before getting into “Killpop” from its newest album. While most Slipknot songs can fall into the death metal category, “Killpop” is a drastic departure. Sure, there was growling from Taylor and thumping drums from Weinberg for the last thirty seconds, but the first four minutes sounded like the closest the band will ever get to a pop record.
Finally getting to 2004’s “Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)” album, the band delivered a two-shot beginning with the melodic “Before I Forget,” followed by an energetic “Duality.” Arguably the most aggressive track from the new album, “The Negative One,” led into one of the band’s biggest hits, the late-90’s anthem, “Spit It Out.” For the latter, keyboardist/sampler Craig Jones and turntable spinner Sid Wilson were featured prominently in the mix, along with a mid-song breakdown which served as the perfect catalyst for a wild ending. Ending the main set, the band tore through the driving “Custer” from its latest effort before taking a short break.
Coming back for an encore beginning with “(sic)” from their self-titled debut, the band paid homage to their early arena touring days by delivering a wild “People = Shit” from the “Iowa” album, and an
aggressive “Surfacing.” It was an ironic ending as the three songs would typically be in the beginning of the band’s sets in the early 2000’s.
Earlier in the night, twenty year veteran metal-core outfit Hatebreed delivered a 45 minute action packed set including fan favorites like “Destroy Everything” and a pounding “I Will Be Heard.” Between Hatebreed and Slipknot, the night proved to be everything the intimate crowd (there was no lawn section) was ready for, and proved to be a great kickoff to the 2015 concert season at Montage.