Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) is the third studio album by American metal band Slipknot. It was released on May 25, 2004 by Roadrunner Records, and a special edition, containing a bonus disc, was released on April 12, 2005. It is the band's only album produced by Rick Rubin.
Following the band's tour to promote its second album in 2002, speculation regarding the future began. Some band members had already been involved in side projects including Murderdolls, To My Surprise, and the reformation of Stone Sour. However, in 2003, Slipknot moved into The Mansion to work on the album. Initially, the band was unproductive; lead vocalist Corey Taylor was drinking heavily. Nevertheless, they wrote more than enough material for a new album—the band's first to incorporate more traditional, melodic song structures and acoustic guitars.
The album received generally positive reviews. Slipknot was praised by Allmusic for its "dedication to making it a Slipknot album", while Q added that the album was "a triumph". The album peaked within the top ten in album sales across eleven countries, and went Platinum in the United States. The band also received the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the single "Before I Forget".
Production and promotion
Slipknot recorded Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)
with producer Rick Rubin
at The Mansion
in Los Angeles, California in 2003. Earlier there had been speculation regarding the possibility of a third album and the band's future, as some members worked on other musical projects. After the album was completed, the band said that these side projects "saved the band" and "helped [them] break out of the box [they] were in". Coming back together and working out their differences hindered the writing process. During an interview in 2008, drummer Joey Jordison
said "we didn't talk to each other for three months, we just sat there wasting money in the fucking Houdini mansion." Lead vocalist Corey Taylor
admitted in an interview that he drank heavily throughout their time in The Mansion, saying "I would drink from the moment I got up until the moment I passed out.
In a 2003 interview, Jordison explained that despite the initial problems more than enough material was written for the album and added that "it's better to have stuff to pick from than to settle for shit", in contrast to how Slipknot settled too soon with fewer songs on previous albums. To promote the album, the band toured on Ozzfest and the Jägermeister Music Tour, and made an appearance at the Download Festival. The album's record label, Roadrunner Records, posted an MP3 of "Pulse of the Maggots" in its entirety (excluding the fadeout transition from "Vermilion") on the now defunct SK Radio website for free download for only one day on March 30, 2004. Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) was finally released on May 25, 2004, and a special edition of the album, containing a bonus disc, was released on April 12, 2005. While working on Vol 3., Slipknot percussionist Shawn Crahan worked on Voliminal: Inside the Nine, a video documenting the creation process of the album and the following tour. It was released on December 5, 2006 by Roadrunner Records.
The cover of the album features the "Maggot mask" designed by Crahan, the title is a reference to the name given to fans by the band. The mask was made of stitched leather, with a zipper around the mouth area, and copies can be obtained as part of the band's merchandise. It features in the music video for the album's second single "Vermilion", in which the band appears whenever the protagonist wears the mask.
Musical and lyrical themes
Before the release of Vol. 3
, band members had promised a more experimental album; drummer Jordison said that "it's almost as if Slayer
was tapping on Radiohead
". For the first time in Slipknot's career, songs such as "Circle" and "Vermilion Pt. 2" were lead by an acoustic
rather than an electric guitar
. However, according to Todd Burns of Stylus
, songs such as "Pulse of the Maggots" and "Before I Forget" incorporate a "pounding metal" style. Allmusic wrote that tracks, such as "Blister Exists", "Three Nil", and "Opium of the People", combine the two extremes of their recognizable metal edge with melody, and the most apparent shifts being in Taylor's vocal style. Entertainment Weekly
wrote that the album "[bounced] between over-powering speed-metal and haunting acoustic rock".
Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) was Slipknot's first album that did not warrant a Parental Advisory label because it lacked profanity. In a 2008 interview, guitarist Mick Thomson explained that vocalist Taylor made a point of avoiding the use of profanity in response to claims that he relied on it. According to Allmusic, the lyrics of Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) include metaphors and touch on themes that include anger, disaffection, and psychosis. Taylor's diversity in his vocal delivery was praised; Burns considered tracks like "Vermilion Pt. 2" to have "stately vocal harmonies". Taylor's performance on the closing track "Danger – Keep Away" was specifically praised; Stylus called it the most "depressing and emotional" track on the album. Burns concluded that overall "the riffs have lost none of their impact, but it seems like finally the group also wants you to appreciate their vocal and lyrical impact."
Critical reception to Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)
was generally positive. It received a score of 70% on review aggregator Metacritic
based on 12 reviews. Johnny Loftus of Allmusic
called the album "not just another flashy alt-metal billboard", praising the band's "dedication to making it a Slipknot album". Todd Burns of Stylus
wrote that people who accuse the band of having "softened" are "mistaking softness for maturation". Burns went on to call the album "the best pop inflected metal album since System of a Down
". Sean Richardson of Entertainment Weekly
wrote that the album is a "deranged hippie update" of Slayer
's "masterpiece" Reign in Blood
; which was also produced by Rubin. Q
hailed Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)
as "a triumph". John Robb of PlayLouder
proclaimed complimented Slipknot's unexpected rise to become "one of the biggest groups in the world", dubbing "Before I Forget" a "classic [Slipknot] anthem". Robb added that this album is better than their previous album, Iowa, citing its "differing textures". Rolling Stone
gave the album a rating of 3 out of 5, stating the album presented "newer extremes" for the band, "which in Slipknot's case means tunefulness and traditional song structures".
Alternative Press criticized the album, writing that it "plays out like a tepid, second-rate version of Iowa, which pretty much makes it a third-rate anything else. Yahoo!'s Chris Heath also reviewed the album negatively, writing that "The Blister Exists" combines "the ludicrously vicious and ridiculously placid" and that by doing so makes the track feel "awkward". Heath added, "the themes are predictably absurd ... yet mildly comical given the inclusion of such disparate styles stationed side by side.
Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) peaked at the second position on the US Billboard 200, Internet, Australian Recording Industry Association, and Canadian sales charts. The album was certified Platinum in the United States on February 21, 2005. In 2006, the band won their first Grammy for Best Metal Performance with "Before I Forget".
All songs credited to Slipknot
- "Prelude 3.0" – 3:57
- "The Blister Exists" – 5:19
- "Three Nil" – 4:48
- "Duality" – 4:12
- "Opium of the People" – 3:12
- "Circle" – 4:22
- "Welcome" – 3:15
- "Vermilion" – 5:16
- "Pulse of the Maggots" – 4:19
- "Before I Forget" – 4:38
- "Vermilion Pt. 2" – 3:44
- "The Nameless" – 4:28
- "The Virus of Life" – 5:25
- "Danger – Keep Away" – 3:13
Special edition bonus disc
- "Don't Get Close" – 3:47
- "Scream" – 4:31
- "Vermilion" (Terry Date Single Mix) – 5:25
- "Danger – Keep Away" (Full-Length Version) – 7:55
- "The Blister Exists" (Live) – 5:21
- "Three Nil" (Live) – 4:57
- "Disasterpiece" (Live) – 5:25
- "People = Shit" (Live) – 3:54
Aside from their real names, members of the band are referred to by numbers zero through eight.
- Rick Rubin – producer
- Greg Fidelman – mixing
- Phillip Broussard – assistant engineer
- Miles Wilson – assistant engineer
- Dan Monti – assistant engineer
- Lindsay Chase – album production coordination
- Ted Jensen – mastering
- Monte Conner – A&R
- Cory Brennan – management
- Merck Mercuriadis – management
- Michael Arfen – US booking agent
- John Jackson – international booking agent
- Michael Boland – design
- Neil Zlozower – band photography