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Slipknot’s .5 Will Be #1

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slipknot number one record celebrationLooks like the massive promotional push was worth it for Slipknot. From Billboard:

“Rock band Slipknot is on course for its second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart. Industry forecasters say the act’s new album, .5: The Gray Chapter, which was released on Oct. 21 through Roadrunner Records, could sell a little over 100,000 copies in the week ending Oct. 26. It’s the group’s first studio release since 2008’s All Hope Is Gone, which debuted atop the list.”

The band’s big comeback record will beat out releases from “a bevy of acts that are set for handsome debuts on next week’s chart,” including Neil Diamond and Annie Lennox. So, once again, metal trumps your mom.

It’s interesting to note that these figures actually represents the band’s ongoing downward slope of first-week of sales. According to a 2008 MTV article…

“With just under 240,000 sold, it ranks third in first-week sales behind the band’s 2001 effort, Iowa, which opened at #3 with 255,000 sold, and 2004′s Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), which entered at #2 with 243,000 scans.”

So there’s been a drop in first-week sales with every ‘Knot release, with this one being by far the steepest to date.

I doubt anyone on Team Slipknot is worried, though. Although some will argue that the album’s failure to outsell any other Slipknot release save for their debut is due to the band’s line-up changes, that’s very likely not the case. Almost every band is enjoying or suffering from (depending on your point of view) this same paradox these days: record sales are in the shitter, so your album charts higher than your previous releases even though it doesn’t sell as well. Seriously, we get press releases every week that are “Miscellaneous Metal Band Enjoys Highest-Charting Debut Ever!”, but that’s just a way of accentuating the positive. “Miscellaneous Metal Band’s New Album Sells Half as Many Copies as Their Last One!” just isn’t as sexy of a headline.

Something else to consider: the release gap between Hope and Gray is the longest in Slipknot’s discography. If they’d put out a new record or records sooner, the decline of those sales figures may have looked more steady.

In any case, I think this is good news. First of all, I legitimately like Slipknot and think Gray is a good album (read my review). Second of all, even if you don’t like Slipknot, the fact that they’re so very popular suggests that the band continues to act as a gateway for many metal fans. Right now, there’s some kid who was six when Hope came out, but now he’s twelve, discovering music on his own, and rocking out to The Gray Chapter. Fingers crossed, in a couple of years he’ll have discovered more universally-beloved shit.

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