I’ll get right to the point: I have rarely enjoyed a live album as much as this one since Pantera’s “Official Live: 101 Proof” was released in 1997. I had seen Slipknot on tour prior to hearing “9.0 Live”, and I was very impressed with their live show, but I had no idea this album would be just as good as being in the stadium with the band. But it is! Live albums sometimes have trouble capturing the great energy and sound quality of the band’s live show, but that sure isn’t a problem here. In fact, “9.0 Live” almost indisputably sounds fuller, heavier, darker, tighter, and louder than most of Slipknot’s live albums (especially compared to their latest studio offering, 2004’s “Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses”). These two discs are literally jam packed with superb, ferocious excitement. This album’s building energy is so present, its almost tangible.
Furthermore, if you’ve ever had your doubts about Slipknot being good musicians and/or songwriters, you can now (and forever) lay those doubts to rest. The guitarists, Mick Thompson and James Root, thrash away at their instruments, playing riff after blazing riff, and drummer Joey Jordinson, who might be the most talented one in the group, plays very talented, almost punk-ish drum beats which drive the songs. Plus, one might think that having all nine band members playing at the same time would drown out somebody’s playing, but it almost never does. Even the second drummer, Chris Fehn, gets his moment in the spotlight (as in “The Blister Exists” and “Before I Forget”).
The only foreseeable downside to “9.0 Live” is that some fans may not be able to sit through the whole thing (it is two discs and darn close to being two hours long). But, to be fair, there is a fair share of banter between frontman Corey Taylor and the crowd. Plus, drummer Joey Jordinson does get one whole track to himself (track eleven on the first disc, “Drum Solo” is an interlude of sorts.)
Every single song on here is executed and performed absolutely perfectly. Some of the songs are even arguably better than the studio version. The first disc begins with a joking, British-sounding voice telling the audience (much to their dismay) “Slipknot will not be performing this evening.” Guitarist Mick, however, then launches into a grinding main riff and the first song, “The Blister Exists”, has begun. This is one of many inspiring songs here which is pulsating with intensity and exhilaration (other songs like this include “(sic)”, “Disasterpiece”, and “Eeyore.”) The catchy songs (“Before I Forget”, which features both guitarists pounding out churning, headbanging riffs, and the careening “Pulse Of The Maggots”) remain catchy, and maybe even have slightly better hooks than the originals. Some other places on the first disc, like during track six (when Corey bellows “It’s time for everyone to jump, come on!”), I could barely control myself from staying in my seat. That song also establishes a good dynamic, because Slipknot played a neck snapper like “Liberate”, but then take things down a notch for a more restrained number, “Vermillion.” Later on, “Purity” (which is actually a rarity which evolved from a Slipknot demo), allows the DJ (Sid Wilson) to shine, because it begins with some good, catchy scratches. “Eyeless” shows off the whole band’s stellar musicianship and willingness to work as a whole. This song is very musically complex, as it begins with some more DJ scratching and boasts a terrific give-and-take between the double bass drumming and scorching riffs.
Next, for track eleven, Joey turns out a lengthy, multi-speed, polyrhythmic, everything-but-the kitchen-sink drum solo which is pretty darn amazing.
“The Heretic Anthem”–which begins with a chilling spoken word intro (of the song’s chorus) before turning to heavy, churning riffs and swift, buzzsaw drumming–and an especially vicious rendition of “People=Sh – t” are the two main highlights on the second disc. But they aren’t the only standouts: “Three Nil”, “Everything Ends”, and “Duality” are a couple of the other blistering tracks. Plus, “The Nameless”, which has a great friction between the hard hitting guitars and two acoustic breakdowns, and the punching guitars and emotional, throat-straining yells on “Skin Ticket” (which is actually pulled off, here, quite well for a song Slipknot had never played in concert before), are notable, as well. And the very last song is “the international f – ckin’ anthem” (which is what Corey calls “Surfacing”).
One might think that, over the course of these twenty-four tracks, the novelty might wear off. But that isn’t true, either! Simply put, “9.0 Live” is a fantastic live album from an absolutely great live band (and great band in general). Definitely buy this album if you’re a Slipknot fan, pop it in your changer, and (as Corey says early on) be “ready to have a f – ckin’ good time”!