Slipknot, the band so many metal fans love to hate while others hate to love, created a schism among nearly all metal listeners upon the band’s inception in 1997. Troves of angst-ridden, mall-invading teens adopted Slipknot as their patron-saint back in 1999 (when the band’s self-titled debut came out), instantly earning the band a “mallcore” seal of disapproval by their critics. But for every teen fan that continues to support the band, there is a metal fan who continues to see Slipknot as “illegitimate,” for even the most trivial reason (check out the shoutbox for Slipknot’s Last.fm page). The most curious thing about the people who hate Slipknot is the extent to which they put forth effort to voice their hatred for the band, not to mention their efforts trolling the Internet to try and rile up the die-hard fans.
Here are a few arguments (taken from the Last.fm shoutbox) often used by the “haters” :
“Their new album Maybe Having All 9 People in Our Band Playing at the Same Damn Time Will Hide the Fact that Nobody Has Real Talent will come out in 2012. Can’t wait for it dang.”
“Slipknot ain’t metal [username], it’s Cancer. Learn your facts.”
“slipknot sucks. It is a stupid mainstream nu metal band, they call it metal but it hasn’t got anything to do with metal and many listeners are stupid emo teenagers trying to be “hard”(i know a few of them)”
“they look like retards in those stupid masks”
Here’s what fans say (also on Last.fm shoutbox):
“there will never be anything more metal than this band”
“concerts are some crazy [beep] for this band”
“Vol. 3 is a lot more creative than most people would like to admit. Even some of the hard-to-please (like AMG) critics admit it’s a masterpiece.”
“No doubting that there a great band, talk about being unique.”
On the Internet it is difficult to find many detailed points about the reason why people dislike Slipknot’s music or why they feel is it is unworthy of listeners. Looking at the album ratings by people at MetalStorm.ee, a global online metal community, each of Slipknot’s albums receive an aggregate rating of at least 7/10. Reputable sources such as allmusic have nothing but good things to say about Slipknot, giving each effort at least a 3/5 rating. On Sputnikmusic, every Slipknot album has averaged at least a 3/5 rating as well. Being that Slipknot are the fan-appointed leaders of nu-metal/mallcore/etc., it’s no stretch of the imagination to think that the hatred towards the band is born out of stigma or a general hatred toward the entire style of music, the same view that coined the term “mallcore”. Bands such as Korn, Godsmack and others share similar attitudes toward their music by being branded with the “nu metal” tag, the black-sheep of heavy music.
The reality is that both the fans and haters are right most of the time. Few arguments between the two touch on the same areas of Slipknot’s music. Most of Slipknot’s music is technically simple, and rarely involves guitar solos —things that many metalheads deem necessary to be part of the metal community. Many of the lyrics in Slipknot songs are simple as well, and fed off the angst and hatred that many adolescents feel (making it instantly connectable). As David Fricke of Rolling Stone Magazine says, “Iowa is not just the first great record of the nu-metal era—it’s better than that. In fact, Slipknot’s second album may be the only platter of its day and subgenre that, in five or ten years, we call ‘classic,’ with the same awed breath we reserve for Black Sabbath‘s early monsters, Metallica‘s Master of Puppets and Rage Against the Machine.” Slipknot were, are, and always will be the kings of Nu Metal. If you don’t like Nu Metal, chances are you won’t like Slipknot. People who dislike the entire Nu Metal genre and claim “Slipknot sucks” are, in truth, saying more about their ignorance then the actual legitimacy of the band.
Whether it is the masks, the jumpsuits, the fans or the subject matter, Slipknot have remained true to their unique sound and that is something that should be respected. Hate them or love them, there is a reason that Slipknot became famous and adored by many. In the same way that people who grow up in small country towns can’t always relate to hip hop songs about ghetto life, the music of Slipknot surely misses the mark for much of the older metal community. And similar to the way that famous metal acts were protest against by the PMRC in the great censorship war of the 80s, Slipknot is being targeted by those who feel that Slipknot is ruining something beloved to them— metal. Those who feel the need to diss Slipknot really need to understand that Slipknot won’t destroy all that is good and great about metal; Slipknot promotes the greater good of metal bolstering the numbers of those who enjoy heavy music. Now who can hate on that?