Rumors and whisperings about the future have been echoing around the internet for a few weeks following drummer Joey Jordison's departure, his insistence that he didn't quit, and no one in the band's camp being willing to explain why he wasn't in the band any longer. The most dire rumor is that the band was slowly falling apart: It hasn't released an album since 2008's All Hope Is Gone, bassist Paul Gray died during 2010, and Jordison is considered one of the integral parts of the nine-member outfit.
Guitarist Jim Root, the other member most responsible for Slipknot's creative direction, posted a photo on Instagram of himself holding a Fender Telecaster in front of a studio soundboard. The hashtag "#Slipknot2014" indicates that he wasn't working on a project for Stone Sour or another side band.
Jordison reportedly did not sit in on any songwriting sessions for the next Slipknot album, and has been confirmed as not involved with the project. Which of course leads to the inevitable question: Who's going to man the drum kit for the album and the inevitable headlining tour that will follow? Jordison has been a great go-to touring drummer during his time away from Slipknot (playing for Rob Zombie among others), but obviously he can't replace himself. Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater fame did a great job filling for Avenged Sevenfold's The Rev after his passing, and has since left his original band. The problem is someone as well-established as Portnoy probably won't take well to be asked to wear a mask onstage. Dave Lombardo, the godfather of metal drumming, got kicked out of Slayer during 2013 but it's tough imagining him adjusting his style to accommodate Slipknot.
Portnoy's a healthy choice as a potential studio drummer, but Slipknot's going to have a tough time replacing Jordison regardless.