After a couple years of relentless touring in support of their self-titled breakthrough album, Slipknot regrouped to record Iowa, an ode to their home state that consolidates and punctuates everything that had garnered the band its cultish following. The monstrous guitar crunch, the concrete-dense rhythmic foundation, the frenzied singing, and the overall madcap fashion of it all -- Slipknot's trademark sound is very much at the forefront of this dark, dark album and is presented in epic form on the extended, album-closing title track, which brings to mind Children of the Corn-type terrors. Though not quite as commercially viable as the more straightforward Slipknot album, Iowa is a more interesting listen, one that envelopes you in its American Gothic shadow and leaves you feeling unsettled afterward. It's really all you could ask for in a Slipknot album, and then some -- perhaps some more than you'd like, in fact, if you're not part of the cult.
by Jason Birchmeier