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Michael Shawn Crahan
en: Iowa (album) [info]
Paul Gambaccini, a man often referred to as 'The Professor of Pop', recently opined that the rock age, like the jazz age, had passed. This wasn't to say that the genre is incapable of throwing up interesting fresh offerings every now and again, but that essentially there was no longer anything new under the sun. This notion is one that has some credence, but which fails to consider things that come crawling out of music's lunatic fringes, displaying such power that they drag the mainstream towards them rather than the other way around.
That metal acts never quite get the credit they deserve is a given, but even so the impact made by Slipknot over the course of the band's first two albums was remarkable. At a time when people were beginning to believe that they'd seen everything, no one had seen anything quite like this. The group had nine members, none of whom had names and all of whom wore overalls; they sported the kind of masks that small-town psychopaths might fashion in their work-sheds; they spoke of destruction and nihilism in a way more reminiscent of punk's first wave than the cartoon tomfoolery normally associated with metal. At their first Kerrang! Awards in 2000 they littered the floor with smashed watermelons, on which Britt Ekland slipped, fell, and broke her ankle. And all of this was as nothing compared to the racket they made onstage.
A decade after its original release, this repackaged version of Iowa - named after the group's home state, and featuring a bonus live disc and DVD - offers proof, if any was needed, that this startling and abrasive album has lost none of its sharp edges since its original release. Songs such as People = Shit (the clue is in the name) and Disasterpiece gnash and foam with a fury that does so much more than simply rehash the hitherto unmatchable ferocity previously attained by Slayer. The remarkable thing about this remarkable album is that its creators somehow found extra space in a genre known for excess, and then filled these spaces with terrifying sounds. Even more than this, though, is the truth that with no discernible eye for compromise or collusion, with Iowa Slipknot staked a claim for themselves at the high table of metal's mainstream.