Slipknot is the major label debut studio album by American heavy metal band Slipknot. It was released on 29 June 1999 through Roadrunner Records, following a demo containing a few of the songs which had been released in 1998, and was reissued in December 1999 with a slightly altered track listing and mastering as the result of a lawsuit. It was the first release by the band to be produced by Ross Robinson, who sought to refine Slipknot's sound rather than alter the group's musical direction.
The album spans several genres, but is generally noted for its extensive percussion and overall heavy sound. It was well received by fans and critics alike and was responsible for bringing Slipknot a large increase in popularity. The album peaked at number 51 on the Billboard 200, and has gone on to become certified double platinum in the United States, making it the band's best selling album. It was voted the best debut album of the last 25 years by readers of Metal Hammer magazine.
In 1997, following the band's first release Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat., the members of Slipknot continued to write new material and work in SR Audio, a local studio, with new vocalist Corey Taylor. The band had started work on a follow-up but never got further than pre-production. Songs written and recorded in this period include "Slipknot", "Gently", "Do Nothing", "Tattered and Torn", "Heartache and a Pair of Scissors", "Me Inside", "Coleslaw", "Carve", "Windows" and "May 17th". In 1998, Slipknot was receiving growing attention from record labels including Epic and Hollywood Records.
On September 29, 1998, Slipknot left Des Moines, Iowa for Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, California, anxious to record an album after a long wait to be signed. They released this demo to prospective labels and producers; the track "Spit It Out" was the main focus of the demo and, with help from their manager Sophia John, they were able to get a copy of the eponymous demo to Ross Robinson. The band wanted him to work with them on their debut album and after meeting with the band Robinson signed them to his own label, I Am, but later helped sign them to Roadrunner Records.
The album's recording process was "very aggressive and chaotic", as producer Robinson strove to capture the intensity that the band created when performing live. Within three days all the drums were recorded, which contributed to the raw, live sound on the album that the band considers integral to its musical direction. By November 11, 1998, the recording of the album seemed complete and the band returned to Des Moines. During the Christmas period, guitarist Josh Brainard, who recorded on all the tracks to that point, decided to leave the band. The reasons for his departure are unclear; it was widely thought to have been because of family constraints, however, Brainard dispels these rumours, explaining that "some decisions were made that I wasn't particularly happy with." His replacement was Jim Root, with whom the band returned to the studio in February 1999. Slipknot finished recording during this period, with two extra songs: a re-recording of "Me Inside", and a new track called "Purity". The mixing stages were very challenging, as drummer Joey Jordison and producer Robinson mastered the entire album with analog equipment, instead of the then more common method of using digital formats. "Wait and Bleed" and "Spit It Out", which had appeared on the demo prior to the album, were released on the album, also; the demo songs "Interloper" and "Despise" are available on the digipak version of the same album. "Snap" was featured on the soundtrack for the film Freddy vs. Jason and "Eyeless" appeared on an episode of The Sopranos.
The musical style of Slipknot is a constantly contested issue and the genres that the band are categorized in vary depending on the source, however, this album is generally regarded as nu metal, while showing influences of many different genres. The influence of death metal on the album is clear, and on the subject Jordison stated; "the roots are death metal, thrash, speed metal, and I could go on and on about all those bands." The album also shows influences from alternative metal and even rap metal. Critics have also noted an industrial influence. Due to the band's large line-up consisting of additional percussionists and electronics, the album has a very dense, layered sound. Alternative Press stated that the album used "inventive sampling, creative guitar work and an absolute percussive overload", while Q magazine described the album as "a terrifying racket".Slipknot also includes melody, most notably in the single "Wait and Bleed".
"742617000027" is the intro track to the album. It contains some guitar scratches and abstract sound samples from the sampler Craig Jones. Some of the dialogue was reportedly taken from a Charles Manson documentary. The dialogue is "The whole thing, I think it's sick." In an interview shortly after the album was released, Joey Jordison claimed the voice is Corey Taylor's, sped up. 742617000027 was the barcode number on their 1996 self-released album Mate. Feed. Kill. Repeat. All of the band members wear that number on their jumpsuits.
The album features Corey Taylor as lead vocalist; he had previously appeared on their second demo, which, in turn, resulted in them signing to Roadrunner Records. Rick Anderson of AllMusic noted that on "Scissors", Taylor "actually sounds like he's about to burst into tears. Taylor's aggressive, expletive-filled lyrics were noted by AllMusic; "[the] lyrics that are discernible are not generally quotable on a family website; suffice it to say that the members of Slipknot are not impressed with their fathers, their hometown or most anything else." "Eeyore", a hidden track placed at the end of "Scissors", begins after dialogue shared among the band members that was recorded while they were viewing a scene in a pornographic film that involved coprophilia, is heard. It has been played live many times and appears on both the DVD Disasterpieces and the live album 9.0: Live.
Slipknot was well received by critics and fans; following its release the band gained popularity beyond their own expectations. Reviewing for AllMusic, Rick Anderson awarded the album four out of five stars, calling it "an auspicious debut" and proclaimed, "You thought Limp Bizkit was hard? They're The Osmonds. These guys are something else entirely. And it's pretty impressive." The album's aggression and heavy sound was widely praised; Rolling Stone stated Slipknot is "metal with a capital m",Kerrang! added "raw and wholly uncompromising, each track delivered a powerful blow to the senses", and in 2001, Q magazine included the album in their list "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time".CMJ ranked the album as the twelfth highest "Editorial Pick" for 1999. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery.
A single from the album, "Wait and Bleed", was nominated for Best Metal Performance at the 2001 Grammy Awards, but lost to Deftones' "Elite". The song was also named the 36th greatest metal song of all time by VH1. The release of the album and the touring which followed greatly increased the band's popularity. The album became the "biggest selling extreme metal album at the time." It was ranked by American Soundscan as the fastest-selling metal debut in Soundscan's history. On May 2, 2000, the album was certified platinum in the United States, a first for any album released by Roadrunner Records. On February 5, 2005, the RIAA certified it Double Platinum. In Canada, the Canadian Recording Industry Association certified the album as Platinum on October 10, 2000. The British Phonographic Industry certified the album as Platinum on October 17, 2008 in the UK.
After the release of the album, the band was accused of copyright infringement regarding the concept of the song "Purity". Corey Taylor, during a Q&A, claimed that the song's lyrics had been written five years prior to the song's release and that only the song's name had been inspired by the Purity Knight story, which was claimed by the authoring website as being fictional. Taylor, to his defense, said the song's inspiration came from films such as Boxing Helena and The Collector, and not the story itself. The short track, "Frail Limb Nursery", which serves as a prelude to "Purity", contains audio samples of the imprisoned Purity Knight as recorded by a young boy, posted as evidence on the authoring website. Slipknot, in an effort to prevent the entire album from being pulled, removed "Purity" and "Frail Limb Nursery" from the album until the case could be settled. As a result, the band released slightly remastered standard and digipak versions of the album in December 1999, replacing both tracks with "Me Inside". The band later won their case, and was subsequently able to still play the song during live performances. It is included in the band's second DVD Disasterpieces (the studio version appears here as well) as well as the live album 9.0: Live and Antennas to Hell, and the 10th anniversary edition of the self-titled album.
On September 9, 2009, Slipknot released a Special Edition version of the album to commemorate the tenth anniversary of its release. It was released in two forms, a digipak and a box set. The release date (09/09/09) is a reference to the fact that the band had nine band members and have sustained the same lineup since the original release of the album. The Special Edition box set includes: a CD and DVD set featuring all new digipak packaging, with a total of 25 songs, including the original album plus several previously unreleased cuts, demo tracks and "Purity". The DVD, which was directed by percussionist Shawn Crahan, features footage of the band in 1999 and 2000, titled Of the Sic: Your Nightmares, Our Dreams. The DVD also features all three music videos released in support of the album, an entire live concert recorded at the Dynamo Open Air, 2000 and "other surprises". A "super deluxe" box set version of the re-release contains a T-shirt, patch, collectible cards, key chain, beanie and a note from vocalist Corey Taylor, and comes in packaging that resembles a safety deposit box.