Live Offerings From The Masked Men

Slipknot are cunning, there's no doubt about it. From the start of '9.0: Live' it's clear that they're a band that have a god-like power over their followers- this is made quite clear from the audiences reaction to being told the band are unable to play. But what better way to fire up your crowd and stir them into a frenzy before a note has been played?

Kicking off with 'The Blister Exists' from their latest- and possibly greatest- album, 'Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses', Slipknot prove why they really are one of the highest ranking players in the metal world right now. This is brutal, relentless, passionate, fiery. This is a banner of resistance against those who rubbished them- for who, when faced with an album that has been polished to the kind of perfection that bands struggle when recording in a studio, would dare suggest that this band lack talent? Everything about this album is crisp and clear- and means it's a brilliant follow-up to their last studio album where they reached new levels of accessibility. 'Before I Forget' is every bit as catchy as its studio version, and you find yourself tapping your feet, nodding your head, inching the volume up a little louder.

Perhaps the vocals are a little too muffled to do Corey Taylor justice, but when placed against such brutal guitars and precise drumming, it barely detracts from the overall feel. To be honest, after ten years of shouting like that, it's a wonder he can even talk between songs to stir the audience into further mayhem. Having witnessed Slipknot live on two occasions, and been blown away by the way the band play like it's their only chance of survival, this live record brings back memories of fast, furious pits and dirty great bruises the next morning.

With classic Slipknot tracks like 'Left Behind', The Heretic Anthem', 'Spit It Out' and 'Wait and Bleed', not to mention the ferocious 'People= S#!t' this is an all to fast run through of their greatest tracks from their spiralling rise to fame.

Slipknot's speed, anger and apparently relentless energy mean it's a relief that 'Vermillion' is thrown in for good measure. Listening to Slipknot live without a crowd beating you into a pulp alongside everyone else is almost like feeling a rug being tugged from under your feet. There's the feeling that you're being dragged against your will on a rollercoaster that's far too swift for your own tastes. Then again, this speed is almost refreshing for there's no waiting around for the band to catch their breath or relate a long, uninteresting story whilst they rearrange their set or redress their vocalist. The band get on with what they do best. They understand that the crowd are there to hear their favourite songs live. They're even kind enough to throw in some gems for their devoted fans- 'Eeyore' is a great ending to the first CD, and the second CD boasts 'Skin Ticket'- never before played live until the recording gracing the album.

Overall, it's a live album that will appeal more to seasoned fans as would be expected, but with their recent album showing their newfound talent for melody as well as all-out metal, this live album could find them some new fans. Europe might be the powerhouse of melodic metal, but there's something so harsh, so roughly hewn about the metal originating from America that makes Slipknot so irresistible and tantalising when it comes to live shows.