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Possibly one of the most contentious bands of the past 15 years, Slipknot have probably managed to silence many of the critics by simply still existing beyond the height of nu-metal. If you have even a passing interest in metal then you’ll be aware that it hasn’t been an easy two years for Slipknot following the death of Paul Gray (to whom this release has been dedicated through a touching eulogy in the accompanying booklet) and various uncertainties surrounding the band’s future so it does seem fitting to capture what will have been one of his final performances with the band, as well as it having been the year of the 10th anniversary of ‘Slipknot’ and their first headline slot at Download. You know when a book comes out and you have to wait for ages to actually buy it because you just don’t care about it enough to splash out on the hardback version? Seems like there’s something similar going on with Slipknot and Blu-rays. Just a year and a half after the release of the DVD version, those people who’ve splashed on a Blu-ray player can get ‘{sic}nesses: Live at Download’ in shiny, shiny high definition.

The set from the health and safety nightmare that is Slipknot is career spanning (well, eponymous album onwards at least but that’s all that counts, right?), which is no big surprise for a festival set. There’s nothing completely shocking on there but you wouldn’t really expect there to be. If you’ve seen Slipknot live before then you already know what to expect: a solid live band with lots of visuals just in case the music isn’t enough. If there’s one thing that they do well, it’s playing live and I can tell you they’ve managed to convert the most hardened of sceptics by doing just that but enough time’s probably passed so even the not-yet-converted don’t just see them as a gimmicky band but for the few who still think that, maybe give it a watch. They’re not a band for just standing there or necessarily sticking to their own instruments, partly because there’s three percussionists and only a limited amount of percussion; cue much running round, keg tossing and general fannying about from Shawn and Chris. They’re also one of the few bands that doesn’t see gravity as an object - why leave all that wasted space above the band when they can intermittently raise drums and drummers into it? We’ll have to wait for 3D TVs to take off in a big way to fully appreciate that though.

It’s all very nicely filmed and all band members do get some screen time without making you feel dizzy, although it does get dangerously close during ‘Psychosocial’. No mean feat when you’ve got nine members to cover. All in all, it’s a well presented piece of work that should keep long-standing fans happy on most fronts and is a fitting tribute not only to Paul Gray but the band’s career so far. With the band seemingly failing to agree on what their future will look like, it’s nice to have highlights like this captured. Plus they’re true gentlemen of metal because if there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the set it’s that if you get filmed flashing your tits at a Slipknot concert, sure, they’ll use the footage but they’ll have the common decency to blur your face out. Which is nice.

As if the show itself wasn’t a draw enough itself for the Slipknot devotee, this disc also has the inclusion of ‘Audible Visions’, a 45 minute behind the scenes documentary made by Shawn “Clown” Crahan during the band’s ‘All Hope Is Gone’ world tour and four music videos – ‘Psychosocial’; ‘Dead Memories’; ‘Sulfur’; ‘Snuff’ - plus a making-of the latter. Lovely stuff.
Eagle Rock Entertainment
Review by Siân Williams
159 mins
30th July 2012
1) 742617000027; 2) (sic); 3) Eyeless; 4) Wait and Bleed; 5) Get This; 6) Before I Forget; 7) Sulfur; 8) The Blister Exists; 9) Dead Memories; 10) Left Behind; 11) Disasterpiece; 12) Vermilion; 13) Everything Ends; 14) Psychosocial; 15) Duality; 16) People = Shit; 17) Surfacing; 18) Spit it Out

Bonus Features: Full-length film - Audible Visions; music videos for Psychosocial, Dead Memories, Sulfur, Snuff; making of Snuff
"...a fitting tribute not only to Paul Gray but the band’s career so far."