21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century... So Far

#21: SLIPKNOT – VOL 3: THE SUBLIMINAL VERSES

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We recently polled a wide array of musicians, managers, publicists, label reps, and writers from within the world of metal to find out what they thought the 21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century So Far have been. Eligible albums were released between January 1, 2000 and  April 1, 2009. Each panelist turned in a ballot, with their #1 album worth 21 points, their #2 album worth 20 points, and so on and so forth. The ballots are now in and we’ll be counting down one album a day until we reach #1. We begin today with the #21 album, coming in with a total of 104 points…

Slipknot, Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses (Roadrunner, 2004)
Corey Taylor – Vocals
Mick Thomson – Guitars
Jim Root – Guitars
Paul Gray – Bass
Joey Jordison – Drums
Shawn Crahan – Percussions
Chris Fehn – Percussions
Sid Wilson – Turntables
Craig Jones – Samples, Media
Produced by Rick Rubin

It’s always good when you stir shit up right out of the gates, y’know?

I’m just another blank page
Push the button
Pull the rage

What the fuck is Corey Taylor talking about when he screams these words during “The Blister Exists,” the second track off of The Subliminal Verses? Is it pinball? It sounds kind of like he’s describing pinball, doesn’t it?

This is just one of many silly observations about this album that I have made while giving it many listens in the five years since its release. And the reason I’ve listened to this album so much can be summed up thusly: it rocks.

I seem to recall at least one member of Slipknot giving the old “We want this to be our Reign in Blood” song and dance during the promotion of The Subliminal Verses, and no doubt that very intent was at least one of the reasons producer Rick Rubin was hired, but let’s be real: it’s been a long time since Rick Rubin produced Reign in Blood, and this is more like Slipknot’s Black Album. It has singing and radio anthems and a pseudo-NIN track and multiple acoustic guitar ballads. It’s clearly not the same nine psychopaths who made Iowa, and it certainly ain’t the nu-metal knuckleheads who made Slipknot.

This fact has angered many of the bands fans (I guess this album is divisive amongst the divided?), but, uh, fuck that jazz. Slipknot’s evolution from barely controlled chaos to arena metal is a good thing (And it’s worth noting that they’ve been a lot more creative about it than many of their peers; I ain’t never heard a militaristic marching band drum solo in a Disturbed song.). The band’s theatricality lends itself to a bigger stage. Joey Jordison – still the band’s undeniable MVP on this album, where he plays exactly what’s needed but rarely what’s expected – NEEDS to be in a band where he can strap into a hydraulic drum platform and do a solo while spinning above the crowd for no good reason other than it’s what Tommy Lee did when Tommy Lee was still awesome. Put more simply: This generation needs its KISS, god-fucking-damn-it.

This is an album chock full of catchy fucking tunes that make me wanna headbang and, yes, hold up my cigarette lighter (and not a fucking cellphone, you no good filthy fucks). And if Slipknot act as a gateway drug for a few thousand future death metallers, well, all the better. Slipknot might be the biggest band in metal that no metalhead should actually feel ashamed for enjoying.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play some pinball.

-AR

Tomorrow: Massholes!!!

THE PANEL OF VOTERS

Chris Adler, Lamb of God
Dan And, Bison B.C.
Ben Apatoff, Apatoff for Destruction
/Metal Injection
Jason Bittner, Shadows Fall
Tim Brennan,
Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
Freddy Cai, Painkiller Magazine
Ian Christe, Bazillion Points
Reverend David J. Ciancio, Yeah! Management
Betsey Cichoracki, Relapse Records
Paul Conroy, Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
J. Costa, Thy Will Be Done
Dallas Coyle, ex-
God Forbid/Coyle Media
Doc Coyle, God Forbid
CT, Rwake
Anso DF, MetalSucks/Hipsters Out of Metal!
Vince Edwards, Metal Blade Records
Charles Elliott, Abysmal Dawn/Nuclear Blast Records
Brian Fair,
Shadows Fall
Leo  Ferrante, Warner Music Group
D.X. Ferris, author 33 1/3: Reign in Blood/Freelance Journalist
Mike Gitter, Roadrunner Records
Nick Green, Decibel
Matt Grenier, August Burns Red
Anthony Guzzardo, Earache Records
Kevin Hufnagel, Dysrhythmia
Mark Hunter, Chimaira
Steve Joh, Century Media
EJ Johantgen, Prosthetic Records
Kim Kelly,
Metal Injection
Josh “The J” Key, Psychostick
Jason Lekberg, Epic Records
Eyal Levi, Daath
Bob Lugowe, Relapse Records
Matt McChesney, The Autumn Offering
Jake McReynolds,
Psychostick
Marc Meltzer, The Syndicate
Josh Middleton, Sylosis
Matt Moore, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder
Vince Neilstein, MetalSucks
Sammy O’Hagar, MetalSucks
Anton OyVey, MetalSucks/Bacon Jew
Rob Pasbani,
Metal Injection
Alex Preiss, Psychostick
Carlos Ramirez, NoiseCreep/Ultimate-Guitar/Bullz-Eye
Brian Rocha, Fresno Media USA
Jeremy Rosen, Roadrunner Records
Axl Rosenberg, MetalSucks
Satan Rosenbloom, MetalSucks/Cerebral Metalhead
David Bee Roth, MetalSucks
Jason Rudolph,
Heavy Hitter, Inc.
Amy Sciarretto, Roadrunner Records/NoiseCreep
Carl Severson,
Ferret Music/Channel Zero Entertainment
Gary Suarez, MetalSucks/No Yoko No/Brainwashed
Geoff Summers, The End Records/Crustcake
Bram Teitelman, The Syndicate/Metal Insider
Alisha Turull, Heavy Hitter, Inc.
Christopher R. Weingarten, 1000TimesYes/Freelance Journalist

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