Entering a Slipknot album promises anything but a tame and conventional experience. From their origins in Iowa, the band’s objective has always been to deliver something disturbingly brutal, both in their music and their theatrical stage presence, marked by horrifying masks. While much of their eerie performances stayed on the stage, one of the spookiest chapters unfolded during the recording of their third album, Vol III: The Subliminal Verses.
Smooth sailing behind the scenes has never been the norm for Slipknot projects. Reflecting on the rehearsals for their debut record, guitarist Jim Root recounted an incident where producer Ross Robinson dropkicked a custom guitar he had just received from a manufacturer. Robinson, known for his intense approach in the studio, even went so far as to burn the side of Clown’s face with candle wax before recording basic tracks for Iowa. Compounded by the band’s dependencies on vices, recording new albums became a torturous process, with vocalist Corey Taylor stripping naked while performing “Iowa.”
Seeking a change, the band decided to work with producer Rick Rubin for their next project and ventured into the infamous ‘Houdini Mansion.’ Living in the studio for months, they honed their skills, but the haunting atmosphere took its toll. Percussionist Chris Fehn recalled the eerie occurrences, with lights flickering and an overall sense of evil in Slipknot’s Audiobiography.
Among the band members claiming ghostly encounters, Corey Taylor’s experiences stood out. He vividly remembered seeing a figure in a tuxedo walking through the studio hallways before vanishing into thin air.
The supernatural interference extended to the recording process, notably affecting the song ‘Before I Forget.’ As they layered different tracks to achieve the perfect take, a ghostly presence seemed to possess the recording machine. The outro of the track played a disturbing tone at the finale, a result of the machine being influenced by an evil spirit.
Taylor attributed the eerie effect to ghostly forces, explaining, “Another ghost got into the machine in the control room one night as we were making a rough mix of ‘Vermilion’ – it started looping a section of a verse, so we hit ‘record’ and began making a remix of that loop. You can actually hear it on the album: it is in between ‘Before I Forget’ and ‘Vermilion Pt. 2’.”
Despite lacking control over the eerie loop’s outcome, it provided a fitting contrast to the intensity of the track. In the midst of Slipknot’s fear of ghosts, the band found themselves in a unique scenario where the supernatural presence contributed to enhancing their album.
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