SLIPKNOT singer Corey Taylor says that the six-year recording break that followed the release of 2008's "All Hope Is Gone" was crucial in allowing the band enough time to deal with the passing of SLIPKNOT bassist Paul Gray while also providing them with the inspiration to make a worthy follow-up effort.
"I think [the break] was important on two levels," Corey told DIY magazine. "One, we needed the time to grieve, and to kinda make peace with the fact that this had happened, and it is what it is. We were all dealing with our own internal battles, basically. A lot of that is on the album. In one way, we just needed time to heal, and on the other hand, we've never done anything that we didn't want to do. Outside forces might've felt like, 'You need to go in and do something', but we've never felt like that. We've always written our own destiny and steered our own ship in a lot of ways. We knew that we weren't gonna be pushed — positively or negatively — into doing something that we didn't feel was time to do. At the same point, we didn't know what story we wanted to tell. By taking that time and allowing ourselves to naturally get to the point where we wanted to go in and make this music was really important, not just for the health of the music, but for the health of the band."
Due on October 21, ".5: The Gray Chapter" has been described as SLIPKNOT's "most focused album yet" and, because of everything the band has been through, their heaviest — both musically and emotionally.
"As you get older, the intensity with which you approach music changes, obviously," Corey told DIY. "But with this album, it wasn't really a challenge because we've never held anything back. We've always tried to go above and beyond, so for us, it was just about making sure that the subject matter of the song — whatever song we were working with — conveyed that emotion."
He continued: "Without the album being a concept album per se, the album really is the story of the last four years for us. Whether it's a song like 'Goodbye', which is really all about the day we were sitting in my house, the day we lost Paul and the deep, deep sadness that comes into it, or there are songs about Paul on there, which are a celebration of his spirit. There are songs about the anger that we all felt, not only towards Paul for losing him — which is a very human thing to feel — but also towards ourselves; about that almost-guilt, the angry guilt of ‘Was there something else I could've done?' You'll keep yourself awake nights thinking about stuff like that. Each song was a piece of the puzzle and a story to tell, and it was all about making sure that we channelled that, didn't filter anything and made sure it was exactly the kind of emotional beat that we wanted to feel."