We Rank The Top 10 SLIPKNOT Music Videos of All Time
In a world that’s filling to the brim with self-indulgent rap stars and annoying pop groups, it takes a dynamic rock act to break into the mainstream. When nine masked musicians from Iowa hit the scene in 1999, the world was forced to stop and stare at the daring metal act that would redefine the music industry. Almost twenty years later, Slipknot still holds a commanding presence in the world of music… and is showing no sign of stopping.
With a slew of albums under their belt, Slipknot has released well over a dozen videos for their songs. Every album cycle brings a new series of masks and a new set of singles. From their ferocious self-titled debut to the grueling, grief-stricken .5: The Gray Chapter, this band from Des Moines have scared, scarred, and set the world ablaze with extreme illustrations of their award winning music. Death and disfigurement, carnage and Clown, Slipknot never fails to deliver sensational music videos. Let’s take a look at ten of the best the nine have given us.
Honorable Mention: Wait and Bleed (animated version)
Don’t get me wrong, the original video for Slipknot's debut single is heavy. If you only have three minutes to sum up Slipknot, showing the group performing during their maiden Ozzfest soundly showcases their energy, intensity, and style. It's a great video, but the animated version takes it to a level that is much more sinister.
This evil twin of "Wait and Bleed" is dark. Instead of live action band members, they are replaced by animated dolls trying to escape their captor's workshop. Jars of eyeballs, brains, and other sickening specimens decorate the mad scientist's layer. The grainy film reel is made to look like a gritty, old school horror movie. Gross close ups of various flies and maggots are spliced between the frames, giving the viewer a skin crawling discomfort as they watch the dolls avoid capture. A jar of insects is shattered, causing a swarm to bite and sting the villain. The distraction gives the band the upper hand, who bring the man down and stare over him mercilessly. They douse him in fuel and set him on fire.
No matter how extreme the first video is, the "Wait and Bleed" animated version takes the cake. Slipknot's infamous on-stage antics are hazardous at least, hospitalizing at most, but this video explicitly shows the band flat out murdering someone! Although some of their other videos involve death, suicide, and homicide, the fact that this is one of the first depictions of the band the world was treated to entitles it to an honorable mention. It may not crack the top ten, but this version of the video is a must see for any Slipknot fan.
Let’s kick the list off with the high octane track off the band’s fourth album All Hope Is Gone. The video for "Psychosocial" debuts the group’s new masks after showing the burning of their pre-album purgatory guises representing the band’s ego.
The video uniquely uses not only cameras shooting at 1000fps but also contrasting shots filmed on hand cranked 35mm equipment. Slipknot performs against the backdrop of a rural Iowa farm, rocking out in their new masks and uniforms. With bright flames scorching the dark night sky and intercut clips of roadkill, broken glass, and the phrase 'all hope is gone', the video is ironically tame compared to other efforts from the band.
The simplicity of the video is perfect for the song. The band chugs away with its hammering beat and awesome guitar solos leading into a great breakdown. All nine members get plenty of individual time to shine and the ensemble shots show that they rock an empty field just as hard as they do a sold out arena. The "Psychosocial" video is predictably Slipknot in the best possible way. With gut punching music, commanding lyrics, and eye-catching cinematography, this is a solid entry in any Slipknot ranking.
And if you liked this video, check out the fan made Slipknot/Justin Bieber mashup “Psychosocial Baby” and have a good laugh.
#9: Left Behind
After school, a young boy stops at the butcher shop before heading home for dinner. Doesn’t sound like the premise of a Slipknot music video, does it? Especially considering the director is Dave Meyers whose resume includes videos for extremely dissimilar artists like Hanson, Pink, and Master P. Thankfully, Meyer’s take on Slipknot’s single from Iowa paints a disturbingly raw portrait of the brutal track.
It begins following the boy stepping off his school bus and venturing into a meat market. As he dons butcher’s garb and curiously wades into a freezer full of carcasses, uneasy glances from the shop owner make it clear that the kid something of an outcast. The boy gazes wondrously at the butcher’s knife in his hand and violently chops at his chosen hunk of meat. Next, we’re taken to the boy’s dilapidated home and are given perhaps the most unsettling visual. Not only does he go to fill his cereal bowl with water, but he casually swallows the murky brown liquid coming out of the faucet. Throughout the clip, the boy’s exploits are intercut with the band performing in a dead forest.
The visual aesthetics of the video capture the remorseful lyrics that focus on vocalist Corey Taylor’s sorrow in leaving behind the support system he had while going through a period of homelessness. The isolation of the boy, who obviously dwells in a broken home, parallels the singer’s own experience living in a space outside of “normal” society. Finally, group’s blood red coveralls contrast the stale grays of their surroundings, beautifully culminating in Taylor screaming out his demons while rain pours down to drown the group.
This video is an Easter egg found on the DVD Voliminal: Inside the Nine, documenting a process that is simultaneously beautiful and chilling.
Shot in black and white and played out in reverse, the scene is either instantly recognizable or intriguingly confusing until the final few seconds. The lens follows a man as he performs a series of tasks that gradually become clearer as the video plays on. The inverted order of the steps show the man removing dust from a small box, the dust going into a pot, a tray of small bones being placed into the pot, the pot emptied of the bones, the bones shoveled from an oven, and finally, the casket being lead into the cremation chamber. The video is a deeply personal look into the cremation of the Clown, percussionist Shawn Crahan’s, father.
Message boards comment that the video is everything from disturbingly inappropriate to a laudable emotional tribute. Opinions aside, this artistic memorial is a touching offering to the fans. An event as intimate as this is typically not shared outside of an immediate family, let alone filmed and presented for the world to see. It is a grand show of respect for the relationship the Clown has with his fans and band, echoing the group’s claims that they all embody one family.
The video and song excellently intertwine, as the first line, “Give me the dust of my father”, and the last, “All of my endings were waiting to begin”, complete the strikingly powerful visual of life and death coming full circle.
#7: Vermillion (Part 1 & 2)
A case could be made for either of these separately, but it would be a discredit to divide what as a whole is a great story. Both tracks appearing on Volume 3: The Subliminal Verses, "Vermillion's" two part videos do justice to the differences in lyrics, passion, and overall message of the individual songs.
The video follows a woman who is moving substantially slower than the whirlwind world around her. Small steps take an eternity as she struggles to simply go about her day walking. As she makes her way down a crowded sidewalk, she fails to interact with those that are moving on what seems to be a separate plane of existence. In her home, she gazes at a cocoon in a jar, waiting in anticipation for the transformation to happen. Her own metamorphosis then occurs, as she dons the band's Maggot mask. Suddenly, the nine-piece appears, removing their own masks and replacing them with semi-translucent "death masks". They now move at both speeds, each of them slowing down to dance with the woman. Meanwhile, her butterfly has completed its rebirth.
She wanders down the crowded sidewalk once more, chasing the butterfly but failing to catch it before it flies away. It's almost as if she watches her last hope disappear from her reach. In silent screams, she pulls her hair out, pleading with the blurs around her for someone, anyone, to take pity and help her. The world spins as she suffers. Finally, the butterfly returns, falls, and dies at her feet. In its death, she's finally able to hold its beauty in the palm of her hand. Part two finds the woman apparently sleeping in a field. The wind lifts her body and gently sways it. It's then we're shown that she is not sleeping, but is dead. Her corpse animated with each gust, it seems that death has brought her peace.
The two videos masterfully capture the driving forces behind the songs. Part one lashes out in frustration. Part two somberly pours out guilt and remorse. The woman's distress and eventual death are choreographed depressingly, leaving you mixed with the sorrow of witnessing her pain and the contentment of knowing that her tormented mind, body, and soul are finally at rest.
The song alone is powerful enough alone to bring anyone to tears. An entry unlike their usual high tempo, no holds barred metal, this heart breaking ballad is an unapologetic onslaught. The video stars singer Corey Taylor alongside Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) and Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser).
This short film directed by P.R. Brown (his fourth video with the band) and Shawn Crahan tells the story of a love gone horribly wrong. Taylor’s voyeuristic character waits in the shadows for Laurence to arrive at her apartment. He follows her, tracing her footsteps from a distance. There’s simultaneously a pitiful innocence and wary caution to Taylor’s character, who throughout the video spikes curiosity as to what secret he holds. We learn that they were lovers and that Taylor is still desperately clinging to the remnants of the past. With a twist ending that shows the devastation of a heart betrayed, the lyric “love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage” is distressingly personified.
This interpretation of the song is a new artistic feat for the band, sonically as well as visually. The absence of pyrotechnics and spectacle flair doesn’t dilute the potent brutality that is inherent in every Slipknot video. The story is cinematic, dominating the screen while the song builds dramatically in the background. Every shot colors the song vibrantly, complementing the lyrics with an array of emotion. "Snuff", while in a way the most subdued metal track from the band, it is arguably one of the heaviest songs and videos the group has put out.
Which is the best Slipknot music video of all time? Find out on the next page…