SLIPKNOT's long-awaited fifth studio album, ".5: The Gray Chapter", sold around 132,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 1 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD arrived in stores on October 21 via Roadrunner.This is the second No. 1 album for SLIPKNOT, whose fourth full-length effort, 2008's "All Hope Is Gone", topped the Billboard chart after an extraordinary SoundScan recount. The album was initially announced as a No. 2 debut, a mere 13 units behind THE GAME's No. 1 debut, marking the closest margin in SoundScan history. The chart positions resulted from a reported 238,272 copies of "All Hope Is Gone" its first week in stores, while THE GAME's "LAX" reported 238,285. With such an unprecedented margin, Roadrunner Records and WEA requested an historic recount. SoundScan obliged and chart positions were reversed, with SLIPKNOT claiming No. 1 and a new margin of 1,134 albums. Final recount numbers are 239,516 for "All Hope Is Gone" and 238,382 for "LAX" sold during first week of release. ".5: The Gray Chapter" caps a very turbulent period for the masked rockers in which they dealt with the death of Paul Gray and the firing of drummer Joey Jordison, both longtime members and songwriters. Despite it all, singer Corey Taylor told The Pulse Of Radio he's proud of what the band has accomplished this time out. "The fact that we were able to kind of pull ourselves back up and not only go in and make a really good album, but make an exceptional album, in my opinion, I think it's a testament to just how talented this band is," he said. "It's a testament to how much passion we have for it. It's a testament to how much we're willing to fight to accomplish everything that we want to accomplish. I'm excited for people to hear this, because to me I think it's one of the best albums we've ever made."
Gray died in 2010 from a drug overdose, while Jordison was let go last December, just before SLIPKNOT began recording the new album. Although the identities of their replacements have not been officially revealed, they are believed to be drummer Jay Weinberg and bassist Alessandro "Vman" Venturella. Meanwhile, Taylor defended himself in a new interview with Britain's XFM Radio from accusations that he orchestrated both Jordison's dismissal from SLIPKNOT and the firing of the band's guitarist, Jim Root, from the band that Taylor and Root founded together, STONE SOUR. Taylor, calling himself "one of the most hated dudes right now," explained, "That's the burden of being the frontman. [But] I'm not the boss. Trust me. I'm not the boss in either band. It's very much a committee. I help make decisions, but I don't make decisions. But that's the perception.” SLIPKNOT celebrated the arrival of the new disc this past weekend with two headlining performances on Saturday (October 25) and Sunday (October 26) at its own Knotfest in San Bernardino, California, along with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, VOLBEAT, HELLYEAH, NOTHING MORE, ATREYU, IN THIS MOMENT, OF MICE & MEN and many more. SLIPKNOT will head out on a headlining North American tour with special guests KORN beginning tonight (Wednesday, October 29) in El Paso, Texas.