When Slipknot dropped their self-titled debut album in 1999, it sent shock waves through the rock and metal world. It was so ferocious and yet so catchy, so maniacal and yet so meticulous — from the industrial menace of "742617000027" all the way through to the raw, spasmodic grind of "hidden" track "Eeyore." Then there was the band themselves: the masks, the jumpsuits, the "fuck you all" attitude of their interviews, the "fuck you all even harder" attitude of their live shows. Below, on the eve of the album's 20th anniversary, Deafheaven frontman George Clarke looks back on the first time Slipknot blew his mind and the impact the album has had on him ever since.
TALK ABOUT THE FIRST TIME YOU HEARD SLIPKNOT'S SELF-TITLED ALBUM, AND HOW YOU DISCOVERED IT.
GEORGE CLARKE: It was the summer following sixth grade and I had been spending most of it at my friend Jared's house. We were in his bedroom listening to Life Is Peachy and I was singing along to the CD into a pillow, trying to convince him that we should start a band. His older brother came into the room laughing at us. He asked if we wanted to hear "some real shit," then played us "Wait and Bleed."
WHAT DOES SLIPKNOT MEAN TO YOU?
Slipknot was an album that was very formative for me that also became a gateway to more extreme, more underground metal. I remember reading Hit Parader or Circus, seeing titles like [Slayer's] Reign in Blood or [Cannibal Corpse's] "Hammer Smashed Face," then going from there.
HOW, IF AT ALL, DID THE BAND'S FIRST ALBUM INFLUENCE YOUR OWN CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT, OR THE WAY YOU THOUGHT ABOUT WRITING MUSIC?
What excited me then that has gone on to impress me further as I get older, is how immersive their approach is. Every detail is constructed with so much intent. They're masterful at developing and maintaining their own world.
DID YOU HAVE A FAVORITE MASK OR MEMBER OF THE BAND AT THE TIME? HAS THAT CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?
WAS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU THAT THE BAND WORE MASKS AND JUMPSUITS LIKE THEY DID?
For a young fan who had never seen that before, I loved it. I remember reading theories about who the members were and going online to find photos of them backstage at Ozzfest or Tattoo the Earth, but they were always good about covering their faces with their hands. I'm not sure my intrigue would have been the same had the mystery not been there.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SLIPKNOT TRACK, AND WHY?
I always loved "Tattered & Torn," maybe the most demented track on the album. "Surfacing" was the anthem, though.
IS SLIPKNOT SOMETHING YOU REGULARLY GO BACK AND LISTEN TO? OR DOES IT REPRESENT A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME IN YOUR HISTORY?
They're an important band for my early years of music discovery, and while I don't listen to the album as regularly as I once did, seeing those songs live still gives me that spark.
Below, watch Deafheaven play their brutal standalone single "Black Brick" live: