The Fear Archive: Operation Slipknot

In 2004 Slipknot released an album called Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses). It was absolutely amazing. It was also terrifying. Still is actually. As good as the band sounded, I could never quite get over how weird the people creating the music seemed. It turned me away, and at a young age, even gave me nightmares. Little did I know that as a senior in high school, I would sit in the locker room before games while Slipknot knocked pictures off the wall and watch our star defensive end chew holes in his mouthguard while everyone else struggled with basic communication. That kinda scared me too.

“What’s up with Trent?”

“I dunno man. He really likes this song.”

“Really? It looks like he hates it. and me. and you. and everyone else.”

The reasoning behind Trent’s anger is actually quite simple. It was confirmed at a much later date that Trent was abusing anabolic steroids. That and the fact that Slipknot’s music is…just plain angry. But how do we, as listeners, understand what they are trying to tell us? Can anyone actually decipher the words from any of Slipknots songs? Maybe. Probably. NO. There’s wayyy too much going on. There’s like 10 band members and they all wear different masks and carry different weapons and cast different spells. I would pay upwards of $100 to watch Slipknot vs Insane Clown Posse in an actual fight to the death.

It’s much easier to just watch a music video and assume the members of the band had some sort of creative pull when it came to deciding the video’s basic plot structure. I’m a visual learner. Don’t you love how everyone always says that when you’re just not quite getting something. Here let me show you this, it always helps me, I’m a big time visual learner. EVeryone is a visual learner. It’s easier to learn things when you can see them. Pretty basic shit right there. That’s why movies are so much more popular than books.

“Yeah I really liked the movie, just could nnnnot make it through the book”

Yeah that’s because you’re just a bit too dull to string together thoughts without having a constant stream of corresponding images streamed in front of your eyes on a 90 foot screen. Sounds pretty familiar to me. Maybe because I just wrote it and it came from my own thoughts. I digress.

Slipknot. Here’s the video to their 2004 smash-hit single, Duality. From trailer parks to locker rooms, this was that shit. We’re going to take a close look at the video, and see what we can deduce from it’s content rather than actually reading the lyrics. Because we’re visual learners.

0:01 we start with a close-up on a young boy. 16 I’m guessing. Why isn’t he wearing a shirt? He kinda looks like Rory McILroy

Picture 1

Why isn’t anyone wearing a shirt. More importantly, who are all these people. Not seeing a ton of diversity. Maybe that’s because we’re in Iowa. Right. All they do is shuck corn. Straight corn shuckin’. These people look like they were all just pulled out of the dry yellow strings of a corn husk. Children of the Corn.

0:14 It appears as if we are inside of a house, and this mob of shirtless aryans are coming to kill us. Listen, I know who I want at my house parties. I don’t want any of these guys. Literally none of them are welcome. But it doesn’t appear that anyone’s opinions are going to matter for the duration of this video. If you don’t like what they are doing, then that’s just too damn bad.

0:20 Things getting hectic. We get a visual on the band. Several members have appeared, all wearing leatherfaced looking masks and smashing different things with different instruments. People begin breaking through windows to gain access into this Iowa home.

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And then the techno viking throws the barbecue through the window. Everyone loves it. Great idea techno viking. this guy loves it so much that he keeps bashing an empty keg with a baseball bat.

Picture 4Why is he wearing a mask though? He must be in the band. THAT MUST BE HIS INSTRUMENT. He hits an empty keg with a baseball bat twice every verse. This guy now sucks. In the time it took me to get this picture, I had to watch the half second clip about ten times, and I’ll be honest, the guy doesn’t appear to be much of an athlete. Which makes wayyyyy too much sense. Somebody didn’t get picked in kickball. Guess its time to throw on a mask and start smashing things with a baseball bat while my more musically gifted friends play real instruments and talk about DEATH… EH?

0:45 back to the party. It’s absolutely raging. Aside from the fact that everyone looks like they just got out of prison, and there are essentially no women… it looks like a pretty legendary party. Just look at this kid.

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Just absolutely crushing it. Gettin suuuper loose. Up until this point everyone has been pretty plutonic toward one another. Raging, but respecting one another for the most part. No violence. I’m not sure if its the setting or the characters that make me think at any minute, people are going to start pulling machetes out of their cargo pants and this thing is going to really get out of hand.

1:50 things have now officially gotten out of control. People are falling through the floor and there’s sheetrock everywhere and it’s louder than ever and where the hell are the cops in this town? It seems like a town where the cops would show up with shotguns and just start dumping fools. Who owns the house? Does anyone know? I know no one cares, but does anyone know who actually owns the house. I’m guessing no. Because that guy is going to be unbelievably upset when he sees this shit.

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Oh shit it’s the cops. Is that a wedding ring? This is when the lead singer tells everyone to STFU so he can break the shit down. Thus far, we haven’t had to actually listen to any of the lyrics, and it’s very easy to understand what this song is about. It’s about working through frustrations by destroying things. Like 3 bedroom houses in suburban Iowa. Does anyone know where the neighbors are? Is anyone living in this town? Maybe this is the actual hometown of the band, and it’s part of the reason they turned out the way they did. ZERO ADULT SUPERVISION.

meanwhile, on the roof, this guy has a few questions.

Picture 10The first and most important being, what in GOD’s NAME am I doing here. He’s confused. Who can blame him? Look where he is! Look what’s going on around him! I’m not sure what’s going on at this point. It’s a complete dumpster fire. These people have come from the fields and they have destroyed this poor house as a demonic band called ‘Slipknot’ plays their hit single. I would actually believe it if someone told me this all actually happened and Slipknot just played in a random house and invited a couple hundred people over with instructions to ‘destroy all things innocent’. Good thing there aren’t any pets involved, because we all know they’d be disemboweled and hanging from the ceiling before the first breakdown.

The two things we can take from this video.

1. Slipknot as a whole, is a really really really weird group. I can’t empathize with them very well. I don’t know what fuels them. Things I probably don’t like/understand. They are aggressive and scary.

2. Slipknot as a whole, is really really really good. I’m not sure about the 6th 7th and 8th members, but at their core, they got game. That drummer is unreal. This song is awesome, and if it weren’t for Slipknot’s unusual image, they would probably be viewed much differently..I can’t figure out if the weird factor helps or hurts them. Prob a little of both. But they don’t care. Just steady rocking people. Stay the course ‘Knot. Stay the course.