Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)

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Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)
Studio album by Slipknot
Released May 25, 2004
Recorded 2003 at The Mansion in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, California; Akademie Mathematique of Philosophical Sound Research and Sound City in Los Angeles, California1
Genre Alternative metal, heavy metal
Length 60:09
Label Roadrunner
Producer Rick Rubin
Slipknot chronology
Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)
9.0: Live
Singles from Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)
  1. "Duality"
    Released: May 4, 2004
  2. "Vermilion"
    Released: October 16, 2004
  3. "Vermilion Pt. 2"
    Released: October 16, 2004
  4. "Before I Forget"
    Released: June 13, 2005
  5. "The Nameless"
    Released: November 1, 2005
  6. "The Blister Exists"
    Released: February 6, 2007
Alternative cover
Special edition cover

Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) is the third studio album by American metal band Slipknot. The album was released on May 25, 2004, through Roadrunner Records, and a special edition, containing a bonus disc, was released on April 12, 2005. It is the band’s only album produced by Rick Rubin and also the only one not to feature harsh profanity. Following the band’s tour to promote its second album in 2002, speculation regarding the future began. Some band members had already been involved in side projects including Murderdolls, To My Surprise, and the reformation of Stone Sour. However, in 2003, Slipknot moved into The Mansion to work on the album. Initially, the band was unproductive; lead vocalist Corey Taylor was drinking heavily. Nevertheless, they wrote more than enough material for a new album—the band’s first to incorporate more traditional, melodic song structures, guitar solos and acoustic guitars.

The album received generally positive reviews. Slipknot was praised by Allmusic for its "dedication to making it a Slipknot album",2 while Q added that the album was "a triumph".3 The album peaked within the top ten in album sales across eleven countries, and went Platinum in the United States. The band also received the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song "Before I Forget". At the end of 2009, "Before I Forget" was listed as "AOL’s Top Metal Song of the Decade".4 Roadrunner Records have listed the music video for "Duality" as the best video in Roadrunner history.5


Slipknot recorded Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) with producer Rick Rubin at The Mansion in Los Angeles, California in 2003.6 Earlier there had been speculation regarding the possibility of a third album and the band's future, as some members worked on other musical projects.7 After the album was completed, the band said that these side projects "saved the band" and "helped [them] break out of the box [they] were in".8 However, coming back together and working out their differences hindered the writing process initially. During an interview in 2008, drummer Joey Jordison said "we didn't talk to each other for three months, we just sat there wasting money in the fucking Houdini mansion."9 Speaking retrospectively percussionist Shawn Crahan states; "eventually we got sick of waiting for shit to happen. We got together, had a few beers and wrote a really artsy, fucked up song called 'Happy Ending'."10

In a 2003 interview, Jordison explained that despite the initial problems more than enough material was written for the album and added that "it's better to have stuff to pick from than to settle for shit", in contrast to how Slipknot settled too soon with fewer songs on previous albums.11 Band members were divided over their experience of working with producer Rubin, some of which doubted his commitment to Slipknot as he split his time between many artists at once.10 Lead vocalist Corey Taylor admitted in an interview that he drank heavily throughout their time in the mansion, saying "I would drink from the moment I got up until the moment I passed out."12 He explained that; "everything I did while I was drinking sounded like shit", while expressing how unhappy he was with the choice of vocal takes which ended up on the album.10 During this time, percussionist Crahan worked on Voliminal: Inside the Nine, a video documenting the creation process of the album and the touring which would follow.13

In a 2008 interview, Corey Taylor said that he only met Rubin four times during the entire recording process of Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) and that Rubin barely ever even showed up to the studio: "...we were being charged horrendous amounts of money. And for me, if you're going to produce something, you're fucking there. I don't care who you are."14 He also added: "He is overrated, he is overpaid, and I will never work with him again." Conversely, Slipknot's guitarist Jim Root had said in that same interview that "A lot of the guys in the band say Rick was unavailable. And yeah, he takes on a lot of projects at one time, but he also does things that are beneficial. He would listen to what we'd done, then have us retrack things that needed work. He's kind of like Big Brother up on the hill. Even though he wasn't there physically every day, he was. That's my favorite record we've done."15


The cover of the album features the "maggot mask" designed by Shawn Crahan.16 The name of the mask is a reference to the name given to fans by the band.17 The mask was made of stitched leather, with a zipper around the mouth area,16 and copies can be obtained as part of the band's merchandise.18 It is featured in the music video for the album's second single "Vermilion", in which the band appears whenever the protagonist wears the mask.19


Slipknot performing in 2005 as part of The Subliminal Verses World Tour.

Prior to the release of the album, the band released "Pulse of the Maggots" in its entirety as a free downloadable track on the now defunct SK Radio website, it was available for one day only on March 30, 2004.20 This also marked the beginning of Slipknot's touring cycle, The Subliminal Verses World Tour, starting with their appearance on the Jägermeister Music Tour.21 On May 4, 2004, "Duality" was released as their first official single.22 Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) was finally released on May 25, 2004,23 to coincide with the release of the album "Duality" was released on a special edition 7-inch red vinyl.24 Alongside the normal edition of the album Roadrunner Records also released a limited edition CD that could connect to the Slipknot web site and obtain new songs and other promotional material, but as of 2009 the link on the CD has stopped working.25 Other singles from the album included "Vermilion", "Before I Forget" and "The Blister Exists".262728 On April 12, 2005, a special edition version of the album, containing a bonus disc, was released.29

Musical and lyrical themes

Before the release of Vol. 3, band members had promised a more experimental album; drummer Jordison said that "it's almost as if Slayer was tapping on Radiohead".11 For the first time in Slipknot's career, songs such as "Circle" and "Vermilion Pt. 2" were led by an acoustic rather than an electric guitar. However, according to Todd Burns of Stylus, songs such as "Pulse of the Maggots" and "Before I Forget" incorporate a "pounding metal" style.30 Allmusic wrote that tracks, such as "The Blister Exists", "Three Nil", and "Opium of the People", combine the two extremes of their recognizable metal edge with melody, and the most apparent shifts being in Taylor's vocal style, with relatively few songs relying solely on screamed vocals in comparison to their earlier work.2 Entertainment Weekly wrote that the album "[bounced] between over-powering speed-metal and haunting acoustic rock".31

"Vermilion" makes use of guitar solos and melodic song structures which were absent from the band's previous albums.2

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Vol. 3 (The Subliminal Verses) is Slipknot's first album that does not warrant a Parental Advisory label, mainly because the lyrics of Vol. 3, compared to other Slipknot albums, are much less explicit in terms of profanity and obscure dark themes. However, the special edition does warrant a Parent Advisory label. In a 2008 interview, guitarist Mick Thomson explained that vocalist Corey Taylor made a point of avoiding the use of profanity in response to claims that he relied on use of it.32 Only two instances of profanity occur; the use of the word "bitched" in Duality and "bastards" which appears in the monologue leading into "Pulse of the Maggots". According to Allmusic, the lyrics of Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) include metaphors and touch on themes that include anger, disaffection, and psychosis.2 Taylor's diversity in his vocal delivery was praised; Burns considered tracks like "Vermilion Pt. 2" to have "stately vocal harmonies". Taylor's performance on the closing track "Danger — Keep Away" was specifically praised; Stylus called it the most "depressing and emotional" track on the album. Burns concluded that overall "the riffs have lost none of their impact, but it seems like finally the group also wants you to appreciate their vocal and lyrical impact."30


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 70/100 33
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars2
Blender 3/5 stars34
The Boston Globe favorable35
The Detroit News favorable36
NME 8/1037
Playlouder 4/5 stars38
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars39
Stylus B30
The Washington Post favorable40
Yahoo! Music 6/10 stars41

Critical reception to Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) was generally positive. It received a score of 70% on review aggregator Metacritic based on 12 reviews.33 Johnny Loftus of Allmusic called the album "not just another flashy alt-metal billboard", praising the band's "dedication to making it a Slipknot album".2 Todd Burns of Stylus wrote that people who accuse the band of having "softened" are "mistaking softness for maturation". Burns went on to call the album "the best pop inflected metal album since System of a Down's Toxicity".30 Sean Richardson of Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A− and wrote that it is a "deranged hippie update" of Slayer's "masterpiece" Reign in Blood, which was also produced by Rubin.31 Q hailed Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) as "a triumph".3 John Robb of PlayLouder complimented Slipknot's unexpected rise to become "one of the biggest groups in the world", dubbing "Before I Forget" a "classic [Slipknot] anthem". Robb added that the album is better than Iowa, citing its "differing textures".38 Rolling Stone gave the album a rating of 3 out of 5, stating the album presented "newer extremes" for the band, "which in Slipknot's case means tunefulness and traditional song structures".39

A review from the BBC praised the album, declaring that there "is no finer metal band on the planet". It cited the group's integration of "hyperactive bass drums, complex, compelling riffs and ridiculously fast fretwork" with more melodic styles and described Vermilion as "the key track... an emotional, melodramatic, utterly convincing rollercoaster ride".42

Some writers were more negative towards the album. Alternative Press criticized the album, writing that it "plays out like a tepid, second-rate version of Iowa, which pretty much makes it a third-rate anything else."43 Yahoo!'s Chris Heath also reviewed the album negatively, writing that "The Nameless" combines "the ludicrously vicious and ridiculously placid" and that by doing so makes the track feel "awkward". Heath added, "the themes are predictably absurd [...] yet mildly comical given the inclusion of such disparate styles stationed side by side."41

Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses) peaked at position number two on the US Billboard 200, online, Australian Recording Industry Association, and Canadian sales charts.4445 The album was certified Platinum in the United States on February 21, 2005.46 In 2006, the band won their first Grammy for Best Metal Performance with "Before I Forget".47 In 2009, Metal Hammer called it one of the "Albums of the Decade".48 It was also rated 31st in UK magazine Kerrang!'s "The 50 Best Albums of the 21st Century" reader poll.49 In 2005, the album was ranked number 396 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.50

Track listing

All songs written by Shawn Crahan, Chris Fehn, Paul Gray, Nathan Jordison, Corey Taylor, Mick Thomson and Sid Wilson.51

No. Title Length
1. "Prelude 3.0"   3:57
2. "The Blister Exists"   5:19
3. "Three Nil"   4:48
4. "Duality"   4:12
5. "Opium of the People"   3:12
6. "Circle"   4:23
7. "Welcome"   3:15
8. "Vermilion"   5:16
9. "Pulse of the Maggots"   4:19
10. "Before I Forget"   4:38
11. "Vermilion Pt. 2"   3:44
12. "The Nameless"   4:28
13. "The Virus of Life"   5:25
14. "Danger — Keep Away"   3:13
Total length:

Chart positions

Chart (2004) Peak
Australian Albums Chart45 2
Austria Albums Chart52 5
Belgium Albums Chart (Flanders)53 6
Belgium Albums Chart (Wallonia)54 12
Canadian Albums Chart44 2
Danish Albums Chart55 7
Dutch Albums Chart56 14
Finnish Albums Chart57 2
French Albums Chart58 6
German Albums Chart59 2
Irish Albums Chart60 5
Italian Albums Chart61 14
New Zealand Albums Chart62 3
Norwegian Albums Chart63 15
Polish Albums Chart64 24
Portuguese Albums Chart65 13
Swedish Albums Chart66 2
Swiss Albums Chart67 8
UK Albums Chart68 5
US Billboard 20044 2


Country Certification
Australia Platinum69
Canada Platinum70
Germany Gold71
Japan Gold72
New Zealand Gold73
United Kingdom Platinum74
United States Platinum46


Aside from their real names, members of the band are referred to by numbers zero through eight.20


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External links

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