Live Review

Slipknot, Wembley Arena, London

23rd January 2015

There’s a more human element about Corey Taylor’s presence tonight.

Tonight was always going to be a spectacle. Having last performed in the UK two years ago, with their most recent full touring run dating all the way back to 2008, there’s no way that Slipknot’s show at The SSE Arena, Wembley would be anything less. That’s a promise they make good on.

With their entire tour sold out in just a couple of minutes, it feels like the thousands of people who fill tonight’s cavernous room are a lucky few, despite it taking place in one of the capital’s biggest venues. If anyone ever doubted the pulling power of nine men in bizarre-looking masks, even after almost twenty years as a band, tonight stands testament to their universal hugeness.

As expected, their stage set-up is massive: an ornate devilled figurehead sits at the top of their backdrop, which is strewn with ever-changing fairy lights. There's fire at every suitable opportunity, while both Chris Fehn and Shawn Crahan's drum risers stand proud on either side of the stage, constantly rising and falling, twisting and turning with each of their drumming blasts.

Centre stage, Corey Taylor commands all proceedings. Boasting a mask that looks closer to an extra from Lord of the Rings than his earlier frightful efforts, there's a more human element about his presence tonight. His chants and crowd addresses are still littered with expletives and passion, but there's no animalistic roar in his throat until he's singing. Elsewhere on stage, that feeling lingers: there's still a frenetic energy to the band, but the carnal fear the nine-piece once ignited seems to be missing. Gone is the band's more violent (and admittedly, playful) edge which once both captivated and horrified audiences. In its place is a more slick, more professional stage show by a band of well-experienced performers.

Needless to say, that's more than enough. Running through slices of their newest offering '.5: The Gray Chapter' while interjecting doses of older material, the crowd roars along with the band, raising their voices with every recognisable riff and breakdown. There's not a voice in the house that isn't hoarse by the end of their set – who could resist a full on shout-along to 'People = Shit'? - and that's what makes tonight a triumph. After weathering the storm that has been their past five years, Slipknot may not quite be the same men they once were, but their place in the higher echelons of metal just can't be denied.

Photos: Carolina Faruolo

Tags: Reviews, Live Reviews

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