Slipknot - XIX Music Video Review (NSFW)

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In 2010, heavy metal band Slipknot experienced a tragedy; founding member Paul Gray was found dead in his apartment from a drug overdose. Gray had been Slipknot’s bassist, one of its founding members, and its primary songwriter. His death left the remaining members of Slipknot in a state of emotional turmoil. They had lost a dear friend, and the man who some called the soul of the band. After Gray’s death, the band was left in limbo for several years. Could Slipknot even go on without Paul Gray? The answer to that question is, thankfully, yes, they can. In October of 2014, Slipknot released their fifth studio album, their first new album since 2008. It is entitled .5: The Gray Chapter. The band felt it appropriate to dedicate the record to Gray, as many of the songs off it are about him. One such song is the opening track, “XIX”. A couple of weeks ago Slipknot released the music video for the track, which gives fans a new insight into what the song is about.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tSsRRSgj6U[/embedyt]

Long story short: the song is about Gray. Bet you didn’t see that coming. More specifically, the song is about lead-singer Corey Taylor’s depression after his friend’s death. The video opens with a view of a casket, and the listener can hear Shawn “Clown” Crahan (percussion) say the opening lines of the song: “This song is not for the living, this song is for the dead.” Immediately we know the intended audience of this song is not really us, but Paul Gray himself. A funeral car pulls up to where the casket lies by a lifeless tree as the haunting sampling work fills the listener’s ears. The camera pans to reveal two women emerge from the car. They are dressed only in veils and robe-like cloaks. As they walk toward the casket Taylor starts to sing. For a good portion of the video, the women just claw at the casket and dance around it. They also open and close it. A little after the two-minute mark the setting changes to a creek at night. The women are pushing the casket through the water. The video ends with an image of the casket set on fire, still in the water. The two women are posing around it in reverence.

Needless to say, this is a weird music video. But then again, this is Slipknot we’re talking about. One of the most important details about the video is something that it is lacking: Slipknot. Not a single band member appears in the video at all. This is to make sure that the viewer’s attention is solely on the casket: on Gray. If the band had appeared in the video the viewer might have been too focused on them. But there are only three characters in this video: the women and Gray. The video is pretty straightforward as well, with just two basic scenes: the women and the coffin near the tree during the day, and the women and the coffin in the creek at night. The first scene represents Taylor’s depression. The lyrics during this part of the video talk about how hard it was for Taylor to get over his friend’s death. The women are scratching at the casket, longing for the deceased to return. They go crazy.

At the end of the song Taylor begins repeating the line “walk with me”. Right as he starts singing this, the scene changes. The scene at the creek represents Taylor’s acceptance. He realizes that he must go on, so he only asks that Gray stay with him. During this scene the casket is set ablaze; Gray is being cremated. His burning body is sent down the creek. The women are sending him to whatever comes next.

This song and video show how hard it is to lose someone close. Taylor was destroyed by his friend’s death, and a way to express this for him is through music. We, as listeners, can share in his grief. We can experience at least a little of what Taylor felt, and that is an amazing thing about music.

Image via Wordpress.