Slipknot; modern metal’s most masochistic machine. Driven by eight masked maniacs and fuelled by a million-maggot fan base.
But is it possible to like a band and loathe its frontman? An improbability made entirely probable by one of Autobiography’s most unlikeable narrators, Corey ‘Blowhard’ Taylor, whose tell-all tales are well… who gives a shit? He sure as hell doesn’t.
Taylor sings a recognisable song; badass ‘rock star’ scarred by a crappy childhood, turned less badass after abandoning a hedonistic lifestyle and coming to terms with the past. Pretty much. (It’s easy to be facetious about a life when it is so pretentiously presented). In an effort to turn a cliché into something less familiar, Taylor writes his story through the philosophical filter of the seven deadly sins. His grand point is that the ‘seven deadly’ are not in fact sins at all, and the singer uses the tools of Life Experience and Bombastic Philosophising to prove it.
Sadly, Taylor’s misguided rants expose a pompous verbosity that alienates both fan and foe alike. The guy lays claim to the fact that he has wanted to write a book all his life – something really great and different (chapter 1), and while his writing in itself is good, he seems to have very little understanding of the author-audience relationship. Disaffect your reader and he’ll be reader no longer. And as much as Taylor’d like the world to think that he doesn’t care whether his book is read or not, the mere fact that his writing exists as a book and not a personal diary ferreted away in an old box under the bed, refutes such an attitude.
The Slipknot hero attacks (organised) religion and hypocrisy with an almighty fervour; an ironic matter of fact considering the preaching that goes on in the book. Seven Deadly Sins is no mere rant; it’s a dictator’s manifesto. The singer claims to not give a fuck about what we think about both him and his ideas but he tries ferociously hard to impress personality and philosophy upon his reader. For someone who is enraged by the intolerance of the über-religious (and anyone who likes God – even a little), Taylor presents himself as a man equally dogmatic – but hopes to get away with it under the banner of ‘being right’. Sound familiar? Taylor says “I watch the world without presumption” and in almost the same breath “you are all sad, starving, exhausting, sorry lumps of aberrant cell reproduction”; so Taylor observes the world without agenda (impossible) and then forms and opinion that is not presumptive (likely!?). The contradiction impedes the validity of Taylor’s point, all 253 pages of it.
Metal is by nature intrinsically abrasive, and as one of the fraternity’s most iconic ambassadors the world’s readership expects a book wielding words of violence and vitriol. And Seven Deadly Sins complies with robust enthusiasm… but with an added arrogance and hedonism that is utterly repellent. As long as Corey Taylor is having fun – fucking, singing and… nope, that’s it – then life is peachy.
The equivalent of an intellectual bully, Seven Deadly Sins is boastful, blustering and consequently boring. Fail! EPIC fail.