.5: The Gray Chapter is the fifth studio album by Slipknot, released in October 17, 2014. Released after an indefinite hiatus, where the fate the band was put into question due to internal conflicts between various members, as well as the death of bassist Paul Gray and departure of drummer Joey Jordison. Eventually, everything came together, and the fifth album was created. The bass and drums were filled in either by the members of Slipknot, or by Alessandro Venturella and Jay Weinberg respectively, both of which became official members of the band later. The album's title is a Due to the Dead to Gray himself, and several songs on the album pay tribute.
Compositionally, the album is essentially a fusion of Iowa and Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses). In other words, it features the chaotic sounds such as more prominent scratching, electronic sounds, and occasionally borderline rapped vocals of the former, with the more melodic and traditional song structures, grooves, and guitar solos of the latter. As a result, the album received a lot of praise for being both a return to the roots of Slipknot, as well as being the most technical album to date. Or rather, a direct evolution for the band.
It debuted at #1 in their native United States, as well as Japan, Canada, Australia, Russia, and Switzerland. It also made the Top 5 of United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Austria, New Zealand, Mexico, Denmark and Finland.
- "XIX" (3:10)
- "Sarcastrophe" (5:06)
- "AOV" (5:32)
- "The Devil In I" (5:42)
- "Killpop" (3:45)
- "Skeptic" (4:46)
- "Lech" (4:50)
- "Goodbye" (4:35)
- "Nomadic" (4:18)
- "The One That Kills the Least" (4:11)
- "Custer" (4:14)
- "Be Prepared for Hell" (1:57)
- "The Negative One" (5:25)
- "If Rain Is What You Want" (6:20)
- "Override" (5:37)
- "The Burden" (5:23)
- "-Silent-" (2:00)
- "-Talk-" (6:20)
- "-Funny-" (1:30)
- (#0) Sid "DJ Starscream" Wilson - turntables
- (#3) Chris Fehn - custom percussion, backing vocals
- (#4) Jim Root - guitars
- (#5) Craig "133" Jones - sampling, keyboards
- (#6) Shawn "Clown" Crahan - custom percussion
- (#7) Mick Thomson - guitars
- (#8) Corey Taylor - lead vocals
- Donnie Steele - bass
- Alessandro Venturella - bass
- Jay Weinberg - drums
The Tropes Chapter:
- Call-Back: "The Burden" brings back the klaxon you hear previously in "The Negative One".
- Cluster F-Bomb: While most songs favor either Precision F-Strike or no swearing at all, "Custer" features this in the chorus.
- Country Matters: "AOV" features the word in its lyrics, the opener no less.
- Due to the Dead: Several songs pay tribute to the last bassist Paul Gray, such as "XIX", "Skeptic", "Goodbye", and "If Rain Is What You Want". The title of the album itself is a reference to him.
- Drugs Are Bad: "Killpop" is about a girl who resorts to using drugs, likely as a result of a bad relationship.
- "Skeptic" follows suit with Corey talking about the promises to 'keep our systems clean' in the bridge.
- Epic Rocking: Five songs on the album are over five minutes, and the majority of songs fall just short of that.
- Everything Is an Instrument: As usual, beer kegs and baseball bats are among the instruments for this album. Also, turntable scratches are featured almost as prominently as the lead guitar, and sometimes Sid gets a "DJ solo" of his own in the place of a guitar solo.
- Miniscule Rocking: In contrast to the other songs, "Be Prepared for Hell" lasts just under two minutes.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally an 8 or a 9. "The Devil In I" is mostly a 7, while the heavier tracks such as "Skeptic" and "Sarcastrophe" are a hard 9.
- New Sound Album: An interesting variation in that's basically the fusion of two old sounds: The Nu Metal Iowa and the more traditional Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses), creating something that's refreshing as a result.
- Sampling: Several songs feature sampling, such as "Nomadic" and "If Rain Is What You Want".
- Samus Is a Girl: That person on the picture up there? That's a woman.
- Sanity Slippage Song: "The Devil In I", which is about facing one's own inner demons.
- Say My Name: Not a dramatic one, but in the Vanilla Edition of this album the last thing you hear is a distorted "Paul".
- Soprano and Gravel: Corey does a one-man variation in most songs, going from singing melodically to screaming harshly at a moment's notice.
- Step Up to the Microphone: "Be Prepared for Hell" has Clown doing the vocals rather than Corey.
- Take That!: Initially people believed "The Negative One" to be this to Joey Jordison, but "Lech" is a clearer example. Averted when you consider that Joey left the band because of health issues more than anything else.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Some songs, such as "The Negative One" and "Nomadic" have some rather vague lyrics.