‘All Hope Is Gone’ is one of Slipknot’s most commercially successful records to date; hitting #1 here in Australia upon its initial release in 2008. Yet it’s an interesting record for many, both for fans and the band themselves. It’s an album that’s either loved, hated or completely forgotten about by longtime listeners and the actual members too. (Slipknot has spoken of how they’re not fond of it in retrospect, and you’ll notice a real lack of ‘All Hope Is Gone’ material from their live sets over the years too). Produced by Dave Fortman and the last record to feature bassist Paul Gray before he sadly passed away in 2010, ‘All Hope Is Gone’ was a thrashier, less nu-metal, and much more political work than the group’s previous three full-lengths. Of course, the biggest thing about ‘All Hope Is Gone’ is how divisive it can be. As such, instead of this article only featuring my thoughts, I got in touch with some friends to find what they all thought of The 8’s blackest sheep. Read what I and our peers had to share about ‘All Hope Is Gone’, both good and bad, below:
“For me, sitting behind 1999’s vehement self-titled LP and 2001’s demonic ‘Iowa’ is ‘All Hope is Gone’. It’s not Slipknot’s best record but it’s neither their worst release. In one underrated aspect, I feel, the record features the heaviest instrumental layering from the “side” members, such as percussionists Shawn “Clown” Crahan and Chris Fehn. Sure, tracks like ‘Vendetta’, ‘This Cold Black’, and ‘Wherein Lies Continue’ are quite forgettable; easily the weakest limbs of the record respectively. Yet there’s also plenty of positives to be found within ‘All Hope Is Gone’ too. Opener ‘Execute’ is a messy yet layered intro that sounds like it just clawed it’s way up from the depths of hell. Which I always thought was intentional, as you’re about to enter a dark and chaotic realm with the upcoming songs. ‘Gematria (The Killing Name)’ is a lengthy, chugging, rhythmic mouth-piece for Corey Taylor to off-load his criticisms of American politics, the Western world, and the unfunny joke that is humanity. ‘Butcher’s Hook’ is one deep cut; a solid mixture between the light, melodic, dark and heavy sides of Slipknot, with an ear-worming chorus to boot. ‘Gehenna’ is one of the weirder, more experimental moments of any Slipknot record (at the time and since), but it’s pulled off so well. Lead single ‘Psychosocial’ has no doubt become THE quintessential Slipknot song over the last decade; their bonafide banger. The acoustic-driven ballad of ‘Snuff’ is one of the most emotionally devasting songs of the group’s entire career, with its music video absolutely nailing the song’s story-telling and heartache. And then the death-metal-influenced title track is one of Slipknot’s most aggressive cuts from this era onwards; even show-casing one of Joey Jordison’s best drum performances before his departure in 2013. Look, even if you didn’ like this album at the time, I can almost guarantee you that it’s aged better than you think it has.”
- -Alex Sievers, KYS writer/editor/admin.
“10 years on, ‘All Hope Is Gone’ can be described with one word: solid. The band experimented and mixed elements from all of their albums into one here, with a few hits and misses along the way. It doesn’t sound like an album that they put an enormous amount of effort into, and many fans out there may have expected more from them at this stage in their career. It’s not as ‘old school’ and raw as the self-titled, it’s not as heavy and dark as ‘Iowa’, and it’s not as consistent as ‘Vol.3’ was. ‘All Hope…’ is kind of a mixed bag. Yet at the end of the day, all of the positives here still outweigh the negatives. Just as I suspected after quite a while between listens, ‘All Hope is Gone’ will only get better with age. Even today, I find it to be a totally underrated and satisfying musical experience.”
- –Steve Jenkins, Insert Review Here writer/editor/founder.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been ten whole years since ‘All Hope Is Gone’ was released. I was in year 9 (around 15-years-old) at the time and I remember being so hyped on all the ominous teasers, like the giant heads that were burnt in the ‘Psychosocial’ music video. The members of Slipknot have since expressed how much they disliked the process of making this record, and that it felt too easy to write and record. Personally, I’ve always felt a strong affinity towards it because it’s the first Slipknot album that was released after I started listening to them around 2006. Despite the fact it’s probably the patchiest of all their releases, it also contains some of their best tracks to date too. The aforementioned ‘Psychosocial’ is as heavy as it is hook-laden; ‘Dead Memories’ is the band at their melodic best; and ‘Snuff’ is one of the most personal and haunting tracks in their entire catalogue. My personal favourite of the bunch has gotta be ‘Sulfur’, though.”
- -Nick Dominko, KYS Contributor.
“‘All Hope Is Gone’ sounds like a bunch of good ideas from amazing songwriters that aren’t fleshed out properly or working cooperatively. The song structures are typically pretty disjointed and some sections are a bit bland. You could probably find some quotes from them about the studio experience at the time and probably speculate that they tried to force parts to work; parts that just don’t work. I think all of that is a product of most of Slipknot having different visions for the album.”
- -Matt Stylianos Stevens, guitarist for The Gloom In The Corner.
“As everyone knows (including Slipknot), this is certainly not their best or most memorable album. ‘All Hope Is Gone’ is evidence of a disjointed band and a producer who could not get the band all together at one place at one time to properly work on and jam the songs. It sounds like a collection of good ideas from amazing songwriters that aren’t fleshed out properly or working cooperatively. Nothing on the album gets me going like the absolute fire of the previous three and I feel that no one goes out of their way to listen to it. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love and adore Slipknot, but ‘All Hope Is Gone’ just lacks that no-holds-barred aggression, beautiful melody and sonic filth that I got off to on the first three albums. Let’s hope Slipknot stay true to their word and the new album is as heavy as ‘Iowa’. For my own sanity’s sake.”
- -Jeremy Pickett, guitarist for 生 Conform 死.
“Slipknot is one of the leading acts in heavy music. Since I first heard them at a younger age, I was captivated. The energy & pure insanity in their art really helped me decide what I wanted to do in life: create music similar & try to capture the same energy on recordings & in a live performance. I remember hearing ‘Psychosocial’ for the first time & losing my mind, immediately asking my mother if we could go buy the album. From the moment I put it on, the opening track ‘.Execute.’ leading right into ‘Gematria (The Killing Name)’, it had me completely captivated. Through & through, ‘All Hope Is Gone’ has been one of my favorite Slipknot albums & I remember waiting so long for it. It nailed the aggression found on ‘Iowa’ but took it in a far more brooding direction, with just the right amount of riffs that kept you wanting more. Not to mention the outstanding drumming from Joey as always! Even down to seeing the artwork the first time, I was hooked. Many years later, I still get the choruses & riffs of songs such as ‘Dead Memories’ & ‘Butchers Hook’ stuck in my head whilst doing day to day tasks. If you can incite that kind of thing in someone later on in their life, you’ve done something very right! Even now I still find the production on that album as hard-hitting as ever. Breaking it down even to the title of the album, ‘All Hope Is Gone’ stands alone as a massive step for the band & really made a statement. Happy ten years AHIG – I’ll be listening to that record until the day I die”.
“It’s been a while since I’d last given it a proper listen and it’s taken me straight back to the release day in my final years of high school, sitting at the back of the class with the sneaky earbud in! For me personally, it’s not the standout in their discography especially following on from the rawness of ‘Iowa’ and ‘The Subliminal Verses’ but that being said, front to back it’s a dope album with a lot of their signature sound whilst also expanding into new territories. It hasn’t been in my regular listening for a while but after coming back to it, ‘Sulfur’ is a sick track that has definitely got a slot back in the regular playlist”.
- -Sam Yates, guitarist for Dregg.
Positive or negative, what’s your take on ‘All Hope Is Gone’ a decade on from release?