WHY THE HATE?: Slipknot

WHY THE HATE?: Slipknot
Photo courtesy of Roadrunner Records

Heavy metal act Slipknot have been one of the most popular and successful bands of the last twenty years. With their iconic jumpsuits, live sets, and different masks for each album and tour cycle. Along with songs that fused the origins of heavy metal, mixed with the popularity of nu-metal and other genres like death metal and thrash. This nine member hydra from Iowa has become an instantly recognizable band, along with multi-platinum album sales and sold out shows across the world. Even starting there own festival Knotfest.

But why is their hate towards Slipknot? What has the band done wrong in the metal community? The band lives and breathes heavy metal in its attitude, stage show, lyrical content and overall sound. Well, today I am gonna do a deep dive into the band and figure out why has the metal community turned on the band? Today we ask, Why The Hate?: Slipknot.


Slipknot began its formation in the mid 1990's. With a lot of its members stemming from other popular metal bands in the state of Iowa. The band was officially called Slipknot in 1995. With the original lineup being drummer Joey Jordison, Paul Gray on bass/backing vocals, Shawn "Clown" Crahan on percussion/backing vocals, Donnie Steele on lead guitar, drummer Josh "Gnar" Brainard and lead vocalist Anders Colsefni. The band would record and release their independent debut "demo" album Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. in 1996. The album was a more experimental release musically compared to the band we know now. Featuring moments of jazz, funk, nu metal and death metal, it was the band figuring out their sound and experimenting with the direction the band wanted to go. Following the release, the band would go through lineup changes, gaining new members and changing roles in the band.

The band would grow with new lead vocalist Corey Taylor, guitarist Mick Thomson, sampler Craig Jones, guitarist Jim Root, percussionist Chris Fehn and turntablist Sid Wilson. The departure of Colsefni, Brainard and Steele would now cement this lineup as the band would sign to Roadrunner Records and release the band's self-titled, major label debut in 1999. The band's chaotic live show, along with costumes and masks, would usher in a new, more aggressive sound at the end of the 90's. Taking the anger and angst of nu-metal and amping the aggression ten-fold, distinguishing the band from its contemporaries. With the breakout single "Wait and Bleed", the band would rise to stardom, along with opening slots on Ozzfest and receiving critical acclaim from critics as a new breath of fresh-air for heavy metal.

The band's follow-up, 2001's Iowa, would go even darker and heavier than their debut. With Clown stating in interviews that the band hated each other and the world, at the time of making the album. The album not only showed the band's heavier sound, but producer Ross Robinson pushed the band musically and showcased the band's proficiency in their instruments and sound. A record of pure, unhinged and unmitigated violence in sonic form. The record was pure nihilistic, had a pure "Fuck It All" attitude for the full hour runtime. Iowa would feature two songs nominated for Grammys, "Left Behind" and "My Plague".

Following that record, the band's sound would go into a more melodic and experimental sound with the band's third album Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses. With producer Rick Rubin on the album, the band tried to heal from their hostility towards each other that was prevalent during the Iowa recording sessions. Songs had elements of Slayer, Radiohead, acoustic folk, nu metal and alternative in its sound and influence. The band would win their first ever Grammy for Best Metal Performance for the song "Before I Forget". Though selling well, the album received mixed reviews from fans. Citing the band as straying too far from their heavy roots and focusing more on a melodic, radio friendly sound. Even utterance of the word "sell-out" began to rise.  

2008's All Hope is Gone would show the band steer back to the heavier elements from their previous records, while also incorporating some of the lessons learned from Vol. 3. With more aggression and the success of the lead single "Psychosocial", along with the band's take on a "power-ballad" with "Snuff", showed off the band's range, the band's evolution and a good integration from both eras. Following the release and tour cycle, the band would begin to suffer some devastating losses to their lineup. Bassist Paul Gray would die from a drug overdose in May 2010. Joey Jordison would be fired from the band in 2013. Sadly, Jordison would pass away in 2021 and never play with the band again. With two of the band's founding members gone, the band would hire Alessandro Venturella on bass and Jay Weinberg on drums.

.5: The Gray Chapter would be released in 2014. Six years after the release of All Hope is Gone. Receiving positive reviews from fans and critics, the album attempted to "return to their roots", while also pushing the exploration of melody in their sound like their last two albums. While on tour, the band would honor the passing of Gray by hanging his jumpsuit in the rafters of the stage, similar to when a sports team honors a player. The band would lose another member with the departure of Chris Fehn following a lawsuit regarding unpaid royalties in 2019. He would play on the band's next album's lead single "All Out Life", but would be replaced by new percussionist Michael Pfaff going forward.

With 2019's We Are Not Your Kind, the band would receive critical acclaim from critics and the fans with this release. With many fans calling it a "better version" or a "follow-up" to Vol 3. With lead singles "All Out Life" and "Unsainted", the songs were a hit on metal radio stations like Sirius' Liquid Metal and appear on countless best of 2019 lists that year, including noted sites like Kerrang!, Revolver and Rolling Stone.

The band's most recent record, 2022's The End, So Far, became the band's most divisive record in the band's entire catalogue since Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. Though the album would feature heavy songs like "The Chapeltown Rag" and "The Dying Song (Time To Sing)", the album would dive further into experimental, ambient and electronic with the opening track "Adderall" and the unique "Hive Mind". Two years later, it is still a record that divides the fanbase on whether the fans truly like the record or if its something that needs to grow on the fanbase. Is this "too experimental" for these angry Iowans? Is this the new direction for Slipknot and are we ok with this?

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images

Musically, does Slipknot deserve the hate? Absolutely not, not at all. The band has taken its origins in nu metal and heavy metal and pushed themselves outside of the box. With extra drumming, record scratching and sampling, it has become a unique and identifiable sound. You can almost instantly recognize a Slipknot song just by these elements alone, as well as Taylor's memorable vocal harmonies and fry screams. I can see where some of the hate towards the band comes from their most recent record, but only time will tell if the sound from The End, So Far is Slipknot's final form or is this just a different path that will lead to a heavier, angrier version of the band.  

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Weiner


The band has had a consistent lineup since the band's major label debut. Most, if all, the creative direction of the band is spearheaded by Clown and Taylor. The two main members of the band who consistently speak to the press regarding the band's overall status. A lot of the hate towards the band partially stems towards Corey Taylor and overall "overexposure" from news outlets like Blabbermouth constantly asking his thoughts and opinions on things not relating to Slipknot or mundane topics. Hence the meme of "What Does Corey Taylor Think?" began to rise in the last couple years.

I couldn't help myself, Meme made by myself.

Which I can see fans getting tired of seeing or hearing from Taylor about every, little, meniscal thing that happens in the news. Although, he wasn't the first. When drummer Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater in 2010, news sites like Blabbermouth were doing the same thing they did to Taylor. So he isn't the first musician to get this overexposure annoyance that some people see, I think he only gets the flack because he keeps responding to their inquiries.

Photo credit: Paul Harries

One of the gripes I have seen aimed at Taylor is the audacity towards acts that came before Slipknot and/or inspired the band. Taylor slammed legendary shock rockers GWAR stating:

"I will never let Slipknot hang out after we have lost our relevance… I got one fucking word for you: GWAR,"

Many fans of both bands were shocked by the remarks Taylor made towards a band that many people, who pointed out to Taylor, that GWAR walked so bands like Slipknot could run. In a weird variation of biting the hand that feeds, the fans didn't agree with Taylor's remarks and some feeling of egotism began to grow from that towards Taylor, hurting his image. GWAR front man Dave Brockie (aka Oderus Urungus) responded in Jan 2003 with the following statement:

"Well, Corey, if I may retort, I feel you would be better served keeping your whining trap shut. Every time I read anything you say it is some piss-assed sulky BULLSHIT about how somebody had a fake laminate or how hot your overalls are or how you almost went blind over your band, didn't talk to each other for years or whatever. WAAAAAHHH! Grow up you big baby! We don't care about your rock 'n' roll soap opera, and your self-indulgent hissy-fits dilute and distract from the alleged potency of 'the 'KNOT'. Take a page from DEVO or GWAR and stick with the characters and the image they create. They are much more interesting than you are (which isn't saying much). But how could I doubt someone who has created 'two of the best albums of all time'. I guess you are also the guy who decides who makes the best cheesesteaks or serves the 'greatest slice in town'. My point is that self-anointed praise is bullshit! You are always going on about how great you are — cut it out! Do you think you're Muhammed Ali or what? I can just imagine your embarrassed bandmates eyes rolling behind their masks, as you launch into yet another long-winded and ultimately asinine tirade, the delivery of which has unfortunately become your trademark. No wonder they don't talk to you. And please stop saying 'the KNOT', it sounds stupid, like 'the Nuge', or 'the MAIDEN'. And as far as relevance is concerned, I have one word for you — GWAR. The mere fact that you would link relevance with a word that means nothing underscores your moronic observations as actually being retarded. If you don't believe me, look up GWAR in the dictionary. Cultural events have relevance far longer than their actual occurrence, which means that even your crummy band will have relevance long after you break up, which will hopefully be soon. And GWAR will still be there, leading the insulting reverie, a festering stool on the doorstep of the music industry, unmarred and eternally stinky. It delights me no end that you think GWAR sucks. Maybe you can whine about it some more and we can get some free publicity. You are just too funny. A ninny placed on a podium is a ninny nonetheless. It's too bad that your band is 'eating itself'. You should eat a bowl of dick, maybe that would help. Long after 'the KNOT' has been reduced to a series of protracted legal battles, GWAR will remain an indelible blot on the fabric of our lives, and I will remain a dedicated, obscure, and in my own manner, relevant artist. People will eternally remember you as the scary clowns who had the lead-singer that whined like a little bitch every time he got in print. Maybe you'll think GWAR is relevant when Oderus rams his scaly cock up your ass, that is if you can stop orgasming for five seconds."

Many of the statements Brockie made I did find some "loose" examples of what he was talking about with some of Taylor's remarks. Which I can see why his vent towards Taylor also did seem to speak to some justification towards a lot of the backlash aimed at Taylor. I do have to point out, that article/feud was also twenty years ago. We don't know if Taylor ever made peace with GWAR and Brockie or if he regrets what he said, so that is between Taylor and GWAR. And with Brockie's passing in 2014, we may never know what the final outcome of it was.

Many also claim that Taylor's other band, his original band (now turned side project) Stone Sour, began to influence Slipknot's sound "a little too much" die-hard fans would say. Turning Slipknot into a "heavier" version of Stone Sour, which some began to cite Vol. 3 as the origin of this claim. I disagree with this, because Slipknot wanted to evolve and change their sound and direction after those first two brutal records. I think the coincidence is just odd timing.

The other leader of the band is Clown. The most artistic and creative member of the band. With Clown directing a lot of the band's music videos, as well as determining the band's artwork and direction in the member's masks and visual concepts in their stage show. Some of the gripes towards Clown have been that he is "trying too-hard" to be artsy and mysterious, and coming off a little egotistical and "I AM Slipknot". I don't see that with Clown at all. He is an artist who has a particular sound or look or vision in his mind for whatever he is working on with Slipknot. I don't see a fault in that, and from the interviews i've seen him do, both written and video, he doesn't come off that way and is open, willing to explain his art and motif. Not presenting a nose-up, snootiness or pretentiousness that I have seen.


Recently, the band has come under fire for how the band handled certain band member's departures. It first started with the departure of Jordison from the band. Jordison revealed in an interview with NME in 2016 that he was fired from the band through email because the band "thought he was on drugs". Jordison revealed in the interview that he was suffering from a neurological condition called Transverse Myelitis that affected his playing with the band. He claims that his firing during a pivotal time in his life and health was very hard for him and the band that he helped found, almost literally turned his back on him. Which, if this is true, it is a cold move for the band to do that to not only a band member (an original one I might add), but a person in general. He wouldn't return to the band following his departure and would go on to make music with Murderdolls, Scar The Martyr and Sinsaenum until his untimely passing.

Next was Chris Fehn, the other percussionist alongside Clown. He was fired from the band in 2019 due to issues with unpaid royalties. He claimed that he hadn't been properly compensated for his time of touring and recording with the group. The case was later dropped by Fehn "with prejudice", meaning Fehn cannot refile the lawsuit on the same claim. Though he did drop the case, a lot of suspicion online thinks that maybe he was paid off/settled to keep the band's inner-workings private. He has made guest appearances on albums from bands like Will Haven and Phil Campbell.

More recently, the band has had two more members fired/leave the band. The most mysterious and still unsolved was the departure of sampler Craig Jones. It was announced in the summer of last year through the band's social media that Jones had left the band. Then, all of a sudden, the post was deleted within that same hour. On the same day of the "announcement", a new member replaced Jones on stage during the band's performance with a new mask. There has been speculation that Jones is still in the band but under a new mask. From the research I have done, I could not find a definitive answer on what is Jones' status from the band and/or who is the newest member replacing Jones if he has left the band. He also hasn't spoken to any press about the incident that I could find to confirm his status with the band. The mystery and the lack of clarification as to what is going on in the Slipknot camp has frustrated fans and become an annoyance. With fans just asking the band to be honest and say what is truly going on without the smoke and mirrors.

The most recent band member to be fired from the band was drummer Jay Weinberg. In November of last year, Slipknot posted on their Instagram account that they had "parted ways" with Weinberg as part of a "creative decision". This was a HUGE shock to the fans, as well as Weinberg himself, who said that he was completely blindsided by the news. Fans were upset with the announcement, trying to find out in detail why Weinberg was let go from the band. And the idea of "creative decision" leads to sometimes internal issues or musical direction with a particular band member, but I couldn't find any examples of the band having issues with Weinberg. And like Jones, after the post was announced and comments were disabled, it was taken down. Continually frustrating the fanbase of Slipknot and the lack of trust and honesty with their fans. I myself, as not only a fan of the band, but a journalist and contributor to This Day in Metal, makes its aggravating and frustrating to constantly cover a band that can't stick to a statement nor follow-up with it after time passes.

At the time of this writing, Slipknot did a small secret show to under 1,000 fans. The band not only debuted a retro call back to the band's original jumpsuits and masks from their major label debut-era, it also marked the debut of Weinberg's replacement. Though not confirmed who the new drummer is by the band, but through constant online opinions, pictures, as well as a recent photo file name, alludes that the new drummer is former Sepultura drummer Eloy Casagrande. But, the band has yet to confirm or announce who is officially replacing Weinberg. This seems to be the same scenario when percussionist Michael "Tortilla Man" Pfaff replaced Fehn. The internet solved or confirmed who it was through social media and pics with other band members unmasked. But again, the band dragged its feet and stalled on officially announcing the new member, to the point of annoyance and frustration. Which shows that the band was not fooling anyone and just needed to accept that the cat was out of the bag and just announce it.

Does the band itself deserve the backlash they are receiving? Yes, there are moments that many fans and critics of the band can point to some egotism and inflated heads. I don't think there is enough to justify the backlash towards the band. The frustration that the fanbase is facing, and I would agree with this, is the band's secrecy and illusion to what is truly going on in the band and the direction it is going. To fire a band member, let alone a longtime member, and then to go radio dark, seems REALLY fishy and/or something is truly up or the band can't disclose either for legal reasons, or just don't want to say. Which they can do, but you also have to face the repercussions of staying quiet. And the random firing of Weinberg, especially for him to find out through social media and not through the band itself, is also pretty cold-hearted and crappy in my opinon. Again, we don't know the full story towards any of these band member's true reasons for letting them go, but with the way Slipknot handled the departures, the lack of honesty to your fanbase, and the frustration of the fans figuring things out and the band not admitting or accepting the truth, does deserve some of the hatred. And no, I don't care what Corey Taylor thinks about that.

LAST TOPIC: The Legacy

Slipknot may have done some "questionable" things regarding the band's lineup and how they handled it, but the band doesn't deserve the hate that it is getting. Musically, those first two albums are pure, unadulterated aggression and truly made an impact at the time, and were some of the best metal records of the late 90's-early 2000's. Though musically, the band has evolved with some hit and misses throughout the band's discography, they have been a constant force in heavy metal. With impressive live shows, pummeling music, along with creative and creepy masks cementing their image and legacy. The band will go down as one of the most popular and successful bands of the 2000's. We don't know what the future of the band is musically, or what band members will go along in the journey. As a fan of the band, I am curious where they will go, what they will sound like, look like and what impact they will leave in their wake.

Does Slipknot deserve the hate that it gets? Let us know if you agree/disagree by commenting on our social media. You can also let us know what other bands/artists or genres you want us to tackle in this series. I'm Justin, Your Friendly Neighborhood Metalhead, and this has been another edition of Why The Hate?.

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