I am not a heavy metal fan — the harsh, unrelenting bass and drums do not appeal to me melodically — but that doesn’t mean I’m not a fan of Slipknot, for I am, and here’s why:


Slipknot are frightening to watch in live performance.  They are innately dangerous with their melodic style, handheld musical weapons and their frightening Commedia dell’Arte masks — but the entire band know how to show a proper story in performance.



Slipknot respect and adhere to the mandate of Aristotle’s Poetics for dramatic structure.  Like them or not, Slipknot know precisely what they are doing and I admire that dedication and insight.

Here are Slipknot singing “Snuff” live on the Jimmy Kimmel show.  I picked this as an example of their art because they are all clearly lighted, you can plainly see the dell-Arte masks and they are all generally quiet and in place during this quiet song.  The internet is filled with raucous Slipknot performances you can enjoy.  I like this one because of its quiet, horrifying, intensity:

Slipknot are successful because they precisely and willingly and knowingly tap into the righteousness of human suffering and yearning by following the footpath Aristotle placed in bedrock so carefully for us 2,500 year ago — and that foundation is just as frightening and cathartic today as it was then.

5 Comments

  1. It’s strange — masks mean so many things. The guitarist “Buckethead” plays with a bucket on his head because he wants people to focus on his guitar playing, not on who he really is. (Come to think of it, most masked bands are like that.) I am intrigued by the idea of masks — even the painted on ones that Kiss wore for so many years.

  2. Here’s the new Buckethead guitar from Gibson:
    http://www2.gibson.com/Products/Electric-Guitars/Les-Paul/Gibson-USA/Buckethead-Signature-Les-Paul.aspx
    I thought Buckethead started his fad because he was protesting against KFC and that’s why he wore their bucket ‘o chicken on his head?
    I agree that masks are much more scary and foreboding than face paint. A mask hides the skin and all you can see for visual clues above the torso — for danger and emotion — are maybe the eyes and the throat.

  3. I was pretty scared and intrigued by the group at the same time, but when I tried listening the song I got a weird message:
    “This video contains content from Jimmy Kimmel Live, who has decided to block it in your country.”
    ???
    I managed to listen the song somehow, the lyrics are absolutely genius.