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The day is finally upon us, the day that some have been waiting over 6 years for. This hype train has been rolling for a very long time, and now it’s time to witness it’s conclusion. Today is the the day of the official release of the new Slipknot album: .5: The Gray Chapter, and it will be the first release by the band since All Hope is Gone back in 2008. Not only that, but it’s the first release without drummer Joey Jordison and the late bassist Paul Gray, who were both founding members. Six long years, tragedy, lineup changes, they’ve been through everything, and they’re still very much alive and thrashing.

So, what are they bringing to the table this time around? Well, they’re bringing two new members to begin with, who are all but confirmed to be: bassist Alessandro ‘V-man’ Venturella, and son of Max Weinberg, Jay Weinberg.

Not only are the new members going to be doing their thing, but they’re also bringing some new emotional complexity in remembrance of Paul Gray. Corey Taylor recently told DIY magazine about the emotional direction of the album, saying

”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 channeled that, didn't filter anything and made sure it was exactly the kind of emotional beat that we wanted to feel.”

So, by this, it seems that Slipknot has put a lot of passion into this album, and it seems to have worked very well for them.

On top of all the changes to the band, a new direction, and everything, the album has also been very well received by critics. Metal Sucks gave it 4/5 horns, Metal Injection gave it a great track-by-track review, it’s got an 8.7 User score on metacritic, and a 74 with critics. Although reviews don't matter as much in music, it's more reason to give this thing a listen

The reviews are in, there's no more looking forward to do. It's finally out! There’s no more speculation that can be made about how it will sound, no more fear that it won’t turn out okay without Joey Jordison, no more anything! Check it out, if not to hear the new stuff or direction, but to just hear that good old Slipknot again.

You can listen to the album, front to back, here