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The Agenda Reacts to Slipknot's Adderall EP

Slipknot just released a new 6 track EP, Adderall, and it's definitely something different. Rather than having just one of our writers give their take on the new EP, we decided to gather an assortment of opinions from the NMA staff. Without further ado, here are our thoughts on Slipknot’s divisive latest release.

Holiday Kirk: Slipknot is entering their… Radiohead era?? The new Adderall - EP’s first two tracks, “Death March” and “Adderall (No Intro)” luxuriate in reemy atmospheres and mournful pianos like something outta Hail to the Thief, the latter song even closing with some “Paranoid Android” finale digital decay. Slipknot must be feeling the pressure to change and, nearly a decade after their last definitive album, I’m actually here for it. During my first listen through of their 2022 studio album only the opening track “Adderall” left much of an impression on me as it was the one time the band sounded comfortable, relieved of the pressure of having to live up to the ferocity of their younger years writing something slower, more melodic, even Beatle-esque (peep Vman’s loping bassline on the instrumental) for a change. Expanding on that song for an entire EP means they must have felt similarly. Not sure how well this stands up on its own but if this is a sign of things to come, count me intrigued.

Jae Panic: This is a serviceable, if unnecessary, collection of tracks one can only assume is Slipknot's attempt to paint over the cracks of their crumbling house. As an EP it’s a functional modern Slipknot release and not a wholly exciting listen, but as a distraction from the whirlwind of misfortune the band has faced over the past week it's painfully inadequate. I've never been one to lament the loss of "old Slipknot" as I believe every band has to evolve in order to last as long as they have, but I can't say that anyone who has struggled to connect with their recent output will get much out of this one either.

Joshua Cummings: I’ll admit, I tend to have a mixed relationship with Slipknot. When it comes to Corey Taylor’s two main projects (no not CMFT), I’ve always preferred Stone Sour, especially their first two albums. Taylor has a knack for writing slow, moody music and his voice fits it very well (See Slipknot’s “Snuff” and “Vermillion Pt. 2”). I find them more interesting and intriguing because they really showcase the range this group has. The opening track of The End, So Far, “Adderall” felt like an even bigger step in showcasing how much the band can and is willing to evolve. I’m not sure what the point of this expanded EP is, but whatever the reason, it’s a solid listen if you’re willing to let go of what you typically expect from Slipknot. “Adderall - Rough Demo” is the highlight for me here, delivering a more haunting version of the song. Is this a turning point for the band, or just a one-off thing? Could the band ever release something that mostly sounds like this? Maybe reimagine some of their older songs through a new perspective? With members stepping down and leaving, we may not know the answer for a while, but I’m curious nonetheless, and if this is a taste of what’s to come, I’m very intrigued.

Hemotype: As we go down the EPs tracklist, the song "Adderall - Rough Demo" and its accompanying track “Red or Redder” brings a redeeming addition to the release. Stripped down to its piano, synth, and vocal counterparts, it's a relaxing yet haunting rendition that, dare I say, might be my favorite version of the track; even over the original. Without the context of the music video – in which the demo is titled "Memories" – the EP makes you believe these are two separate songs. In reality, "Red or Redder" is meant to be the outro to the demo. Splitting these two into separate tracks creates confusion, just as "Death March" would if you'd never heard the track "Adderall" before. I'm not aware of many people who would listen to the 25-second outro by itself, but I suppose there's something for everyone.

Riviera: I'm left wanting both less and more from this EP. While "Adderall" is undeniably artistically competent, it's never been a track I particularly cared for, and three versions is a lot of the same for an already repetitive song. The choice to split off the intro into its own track, "Death March" is a strong one, but while the music video version extends into a full-length song mixing in distorted and reversed snippets of lyrics, none of that innovation appears on the album. By following the unchanged intro immediately with "Adderall - No Intro" and later an instrumental version that doesn't make any changes to the arrangement aside from cutting out the vocals, I'm left feeling like the band is just desperately squeezing every last drop out of repackaging their old work. That said, the final song, "Hard to be Here" is a pleasant surprise, that feels like all the elements introduced on the preceding tracks coalesce into something new and interesting. It may not sound like Slipknot as I think of them, but at least I can see some intention.

Terra Eyes: As someone whose mainstay playlists incorporate copious amounts of noise and cybergrind, and as one of the biggest defenders of Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses even after nearly twenty years of its existence, I should be the target audience for this EP. Its industrial atmosphere, haunting vocals, and crisp production all ring out to my time in an EBM band, and if it were a rising artist making synthy tunes in their bedroom, I’d be elated to hear where their career goes. From a band who's been doing this professionally for the better part of thirty years, however, it feels lazy, rushed, and like there’s a huge gap between what they envisioned and what they released.  It’s not the lack of screaming or distortion that bothers me- “Circle” is still one of my favorite post-Iowa tracks, and I bought the first two Stone Sour albums without hesitation.  However, while "Adderall" is a decent enough track, I don’t need to hear three different versions of it, and I don’t need to hear Slipknot make a heavily electronic record right after losing their original electronics guy- especially one that is at best serviceable, and at worst forgettable.