April 22, 2019 / 3:00 PM

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A Music Video History of Slipknot: From 'Surfacing' to 'Duality' to 'Psychosocial'


Slipknot released its first music video in more than five years, and admittedly it feels like it's been a while. Music Times staffer Joe "Leatherface" McGroot described the clip for "The Negative One" as fairly standard nu-metal material. Dark rooms, filth, horrified women. That sounds awfully familiar to us, so we decided to look at the history of music videos from the Iowan masked crusaders, based on the best Slipknot songs as determined by Loudwire.com, our go-to metal source.

Let's see what we can gather from the footage.

06) "Left Behind" from Iowa (2001)

This track was the only totally original piece handled by Dave Meyers, a director noted for his work within the nu-metal scene. Although he cut his teeth with Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock, Meyers probably got a taste of, you know, ACTUAL metal when he shot this with Slipknot. The "plot" doesn't necessarily make sense, but it sure incorporates some metal tropes: A filthy kid works at a butcher shop chopping meat. He gets bullied. He lives alone in a rotting hulk of a house and eats his cereal with filthy water for some reason. Eventually those bullies throw a rock through the window of his rotting home and it rains (rocks and rotting homes are a theme to remember as you read on). The best scenes, however, feature the sequences of the band performing in a clearing. But the group isn't the star; it's the same goat who appeared on the Iowa album cover, just doing his goat thing.

05) "Psychosocial" from All Hope Is Gone (2008)

First of all, "Psychosocial" is far from quality material, so shame on you Loudwire. That being said, this is definitely one of the best videos in the Slipknot catalogue. Director P.R. Brown is definitely a dude with a taste for nu-metal decorations, based on his album cover work for Marilyn Manson and Korn, and it shows in "Psychosocial." Slipknot makes giant, papier-mâché heads popular way before Arcade Fire got there, only in this case the band impales them and lights them up. We're suckers for fire so we can't really fault the constant flaming shots going on here, plus an overhead reveals the blaze to be shaped like Slipknot's nine-pointed sun icon. Then out of nowhere...a window gets broken by a rock!

04) "People = S--t" from Iowa (2001)

This song didn't get a music video and, based on the title, we suppose we're glad.

03) "Wait And Bleed" from Slipknot (1999)

The most interesting thing about "Wait and Bleed" is that it got two music videos. The least interesting thing about "Wait and Bleed" is the first music video, which is just a live performance of the track (we'll get to better Slipknot live videos later, we promise). Another interesting thing is the director's credit of "Atticus," and we have no idea who that is. No former members of the band even use the nickname Atticus, nor does the internet seem to have any idea whom he is. By all means, let us know. Either way, his second attempt at "Wait and Bleed" is the most artistic of Slipknot's videos to date, namely because it features a claymation version of the band instead of the real thing. The plot revolves around bizarre action figure Slipknot lighting their creator on fire, with cuts to shots of maggots of course.

02) "Duality" from Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses)

Tony Petrussian's first music video project was with Slipknot for "Duality," probably the most popular song from the Slipknot discography and certainly the catchiest. And for his first time on the job, he did a heck of a job. Once again the theme of rotten houses and breaking glass come through, as seemingly hundreds of Slipknot fans descend on an abandoned property to hear the band perform in the living room. This was almost certainly staged but it sure doesn't look like it, as fans smash the windows with a grill and plow through drywall, finally rocking out inches from the band. The best scene is band member Sid Wilson getting crowd-surfed under a ceiling that's much too low for such things. An interesting but false note on Petrussian's career with Slipknot: Wikipedia claims his video for "Before I Forget" won them the Grammy for Best Metal Performance, basically removing any responsibility from the band for its music. Ha.

01) "Surfacing" from Slipknot (1999)

This live set, also from the mysterious Atticus, catches the spirit of the Slipknot show better than the "Wait and Bleed" video did. Slipknot is like Skrillex in that the actual studio recordings are hit or miss, but the live performances are totally off the wall and excellent. This clip captures that essence: Band members jump into the crowd, generally ram into each other, and Corey Taylor adds a dozen eff-bombs to a track already overburdened with them. The only editing done with this clip was speeding up and slowing down portions as to have a psychedelic/nauseating effect. Our only complaint is that the band was still wearing its first generation masks, while we greatly prefer the newest models.

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