Slipknot were already a massive band when they returned home to Iowa to make their fourth full-length, 2008's All Hope Is Gone, but the album would earn the Nine a new notch on their collection belt: Upon its release, it became the group's first record to debut at No. 1 on the Top 200 chart. The record, which features fan-favorite cuts such as "Psychosocial" and "Snuff," turned 10 in August, and Slipknot recently announced a special anniversary edition of the record, due in December. As the landmark LP reaches new landmarks, we look back at its making. Here are six things you likely didn't know about All Hope Is Gone.
1. Corey Taylor wrote lyrics to the album while on tour with Stone Sour, following a period of deep depression
In 2006 Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor was on the road with his other band Stone Sour as part of Korn's Family Values tour, and he was "miserable." "I was watching all these bands make $20 and having the time of their fucking lives," Taylor told us in 2011. "They're going on in the middle of the day and there's no one there, and they're just going for it. And here I am, third from the top of the bill, and I'm fucking miserable." He realized that the main problem was his marriage, which he ultimately ended, emerging "bigger and stronger" from the failed relationship. "I started writing lyrics for All Hope Is Gone in the middle of the Stone Sour tour cycle," the singer said. "I sat down and filled notebooks. I started to feel hungry again and I wanted to make another Slipknot album. I hadn't felt that way in years."
2. Taylor wanted to use at least 15 different types of voices on the album
When Slipknot's frontman fully dove into the writing and recording of All Hope Is Gone, his primary mission was to "push every boundary," both thematically, in his lyrics, and vocally. In fact, he told us, he went in wanting to use "at least 15 types of voices" on the album. You can be the judge of whether he hit that exact number or not, but Taylor certainly challenged his vocal range across the LP's expansive songs. The title of the album is even, in a part, a statement to listeners that they should give up all hope of pinning Slipknot down. "Any hope you had of trying to figure out where we were gonna go is completely gone because you'll never figure us out," Taylor explained. "If you just stop trying to figure us out and just embrace the fact that we are always going to try to twist the boundaries and surprise you every time, you'll enjoy it even more."
3. Clown pranked Taylor right after he recorded "Snuff," which was, for him, the most poignant song on the album
"Snuff" is one of two songs on All Hope Is Gone that Taylor wrote himself and brought to the sessions, and it's a "very personal song" for the singer. Which doesn't mean that his bandmate Shawn "Clown" Crahan — Slipknot's co-founding percussionist and conceptualist — was considerate about it. "Right when I finished that song, I was in a fucked-up headspace," Taylor recalled, "and all of a sudden Clown comes up behind me with his fuckin' camera. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, Jim is behind me with a gigantic wheel of firecrackers. Clown goes, 'No one is safe,' and suddenly Armageddon goes off behind me. I get up afterwards and I'm pissed, fucking livid. And in retrospect, it's fucking hilarious, but at the time I was furious."
4. Joey Jordison almost died after demoing All Hope Is Gone
"After I demoed the record with Paul [Gray, Slipknot's bassist at the time], I found out a bunch of stuff [about my ex-girlfriend]," the band's then-drummer Joey Jordison revealed to Revolver in 2011. "It was a really bad relationship and made me almost want to kill myself. All I could do is fuck myself up. I shut the lights off, didn't answer the phone, put powder up my nose, and got drunk for three weeks. I didn't eat. I was almost fuckin' dead. People were like, 'What the fuck is going on with him?' Then my dad broke down my fuckin' door and I'm scared shitless of my dad. Period. He's the hardest motherfucker, ever."
5. Clown and Jim Root put Taylor down in a well as a recording experiment
Slipknot never got together as a full band during the making of All Hope Is Gone, instead writing and recording in bits and pieces as fractured factions. Clown and guitarist Jim Root spearheaded some particularly "experimental" and "cerebral" sessions, which included making some literally underground music. "It was fun," said Root, "and Clown and I were able to do things like record frogs and then write a song around the way the frogs sound. We put Corey down in a well and had him sing and it sounds like he's in a cavern." That experiment didn't make the final album, however, and some band members weren't into the left-field direction at all. "It just didn't make sense as Slipknot," guitarist Mick Thompson commented. "But every musician has so much more shit in them. You can't put it all on the same record. It just doesn't work. It would be too eclectic. We all do all sorts of different things. But it doesn't necessarily fit within the context of us on a given record. How do you go from 'All Hope Is Gone' to that shit? It's way too radical a departure. It wouldn't work."
6. Slipknot wrote and recorded All Hope Is Gone quicker than any of their previous albums
Despite the fractured band and piecemeal recording sessions, All Hope Is Gone was completed over a relatively short period of time, especially for a group as meticulous and contentious as Slipknot. "We were on a farm in the middle of nowhere and there was nobody in our face," Gray said, commenting on the group's decision to make the album in their home state of Iowa, rather than in L.A., where they had laid down previous releases. "We wrote and recorded the record faster than any we've ever done. Me and Joey demoed songs in October. And we started preproduction in January. We were in the studio March 1st and we were out by the end of April." Yet, as hastily as All Hope Is Gone was made, even Clown — who would have liked to have seen more of his and Root's experimental work make the album — agreed that the results turned out great. "The record's phenomenal," he enthused, looking back.
Below, watch Stone Sour cover Black Sabbath with Slipknot's Clown and Chris Fehn in 2013: