Slipknot’s lighting guy deserves a raise. His chaotic visual display so accurately complements the band’s turbulent music that even with the sound turned off, Slipknot’s punishing assault would come across loud and clear.
At Monday’s stop of the JÃ¤germeister Music Tour, which began March 30 in Orlando, Florida, whirring red emergency lights translated the dizzying guitar lines of Jim Root and Mick Thompson. Blinding white strobes pulsed in time with Joey Jordison’s unrelenting bass drums. The sickly green hues that backlit the nine masked bandmembers manifested the music’s creepy, menacing tones, while reality-distorting black lighting frequently bathed the stage, suggesting a horrific nightmare.
Hundreds of maggots (read: Slipknot fans) packed the Roseland Ballroom to reacquaint themselves with a band that for two years has left a void in their heavy-loving hearts by working on side projects (Stone Sour, Murderdolls, To My Surprise) and a third full-length album, Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses), due May 25.
The fans got a nostalgic blast from old songs like “Wait and Bleed” from 1999’s self-titled LP, and “Disasterpiece” and “The Heretic Anthem” from 2001’s Iowa. The four new songs Slipknot performed, including the single “Duality,” marked the roads that pave the band’s future.
The combination of the crowd’s audible excitement and the band’s sheer gut-rumbling volume made it difficult to pick up the new songs’ subtleties – but simply the fact that there were subtleties offers some indication of the band’s new material. As unbelievable as it seems, individual guitar lines distinctively pierced the songs’ otherwise muddy surfaces, and melodies even provided backbone to otherwise unwieldy clashes of sound.
“The Blister Exists” could be the soundtrack to war. A marching beat in the bridge threatened with impending doom while Jordison’s drums mimicked the sound of Uzi fire and programmer Craig Jones dropped rib-rattling bombs from his 808. In “Three Nil,” the call-and-response interplay between singer Corey Taylor and percussionist Clown provided the backdrop for one shirtless fan to toe the ledge of Roseland’s mezzanine-level VIP area and bang his head wildly for the few seconds before security evicted him.
Alongside “Duality,” which surfaced at New York radio on Friday (and was already the most requested tune by Monday), the fans equally reveled in the new song “The Pulse of the Maggots,” a ferocious show of gratitude many were already familiar with after hearing it stream on Slipknot’s Web site. To show their appreciation for “their song,” the entire floor transformed into a throbbing mass of bodies.
The enthusiasm of the band, which has retired its coveralls for matching black separates, was just as obvious. When he wasn’t pounding on his three-piece kit (two kettledrums and an empty beer keg), Clown climbed atop the spidery, scrap-metal construction that housed it like he was about to launch himself into the pit. The two guitarists and bassist Paul Grey roamed freely about the stage, their pace increasing with the music’s tempo. And when he wasn’t manipulating his turntable decks, DJ Sid Wilson thrashed his head and raised his fist to rally the crowd.
Fear Factory drew from throughout their 14-year career for their set, playing “Martyr” from their debut, Soul of a New Machine, and “Slave Labor” off the forthcoming Archetype, due April 20. The double-bass-drum assault of Raymond Herrera provided a punishing backdrop for a set that sounded slightly muddled but painfully loud. Singer Burton C. Bell agonizingly emoted his lyrics, half the time doubled over in mock pain, as guitarist Christian Olde Wolbers spewed forth an endless barrage of riffs.
Openers Chimaira controlled of the crowd with both their blistering, short set and the specific instructions of frontman Mark Hunter. Showing how he earned the nickname Metal Moses, Hunter co-opted an old hardcore trick that involves parting the audience in half, then crashing them together upon his command to create a pile of bodies. When not choreographing the crowd, Hunter led his band in unified headbanging. The image of five long-haired guys swinging their locks like a Vegas showgirl’s tassles, then stopping to rock their guitar necks back and forth, momentarily presented the image of a death-metal version of ‘NSYNC.
The night’s festivities, which also included local hardcore quintet Sworn Enemy, were hosted by the Jim Rose Circus’ Lizard Man, who stuck power drills and condoms up his nose and served as a human dartboard between sets. The JÃ¤germeister Music Tour continues through May 14.