Why I love... Slipknot (by Slipknot).

Love them or hate them, you can't deny what Slipknot has done for metal

It's 1999, I'm 17 years old, I'm spending vast amounts of time with my friends being shit at skateboarding and desperately trying to further my knowledge of the use of my genitals. The soundtrack to this oh-so common period of teenage existence was primarily skate punk outfits like Ten Foot Pole, Lagwagon and of course, NOFX.

Then Slipknot arrived. I'd spent my formative years asserting myself as a punk thanks primarily to my brother handing me a copy of Leatherface's seminal Mush album on my tenth birthday. Metal had always been on the periphery of my listenining and although bands like Cradle of Filth and Type O Negative were on my radar I wasn't too fussed about the heavier side of music. It was that fateful night in 1999 that I happened to be watching a late night music channel, no doubt hoping for a glimpse of nipple, that Slipknot's Wait and Bleed came on and completely mesmerised me. After a bit of Interwebbing the next day I ran to Woolworths to buy their debut album. Unsurprisingly for a small market town in Norfolk (for those overseas, the UK's easternmost hotbed of racial bigotry and sibling intercourse) the album was nowhere to be found. A short bus journey to and from the big city later I sat in my room, put the disc in and pressed play.

742617000027 opens the album and sets the scene and as (sic) kicked in, it felt like music hadn't felt before. It was a revelation. Joey Jordison's thunderous double kick, Corey Taylor's angst-ridden vocals - I was ready to tear up the world. To this day I can't listen to Spit It Out without the overwhelming urge to break things. From start to finish, Slipknot had me by the balls and refused to let go. I had a fantastic childhood and relatively uneventful teenage years but the pure ire that fuels this album spoke to me, and still does. I'm not naive enough to think the "fuck you world" content isn't a bit cheesy nowadays but the same can be said of numerous metal bands. What Slipknot did was take the buoyant nu metal genre populated by the likes of Limp Bizkit and Korn, chewed it up, spat it out (no pun intended) and added blastbeats. They took a genre that was laughed at by the metal world and made it matter. Slipknot could have easily lightened the mood with the release of follow-up album Iowa - they were one of metal's biggest bands and as is the case with any quick rise to fame, had obtained a healthy audience of detractors - but they chose to go the other way.

Back then, Disasterpiece, my favourite Slipknot song of all time, was the most brutal thing I'd heard. Lyrically it was grotesque - 'I want to slit your throat and fuck the wound' - and musically it raised the bar to an all-new level. I'd been playing drums for about five years when Iowa was released and I've never felt less competent than after listening to Disasterpiece. Slipknot had decided that regardless of their commercial success, they were going to go harder and if we didn't like it, we could fuck off. Living in the arse end of the countryside I never had a chance to see Slipknot in the early days and my first experience of seeing them live was on a frankly exquisite tour with Machine Head and Children of Bodom a full nine years after I bought their first album. If I wasn't an overweight skinhead who tries to look hard I would have shed a little tear. As they blasted through songs from all four of their platinum-selling albums it was everything I'd hoped for and more. But the real crowning moment in my Slipknot history came during their headline set at Download 2009. I'd been with this band since (give or take the odd EP) day one and here they were headlining the biggest rock and metal festival in the world. People still hate Slipknot, and that's fine. Yes, the masks seems a bit contrived nowadays but it's part of their image. Imagine if Gorgoroth took the stage without corpse paint - it's just not cricket. And to categorise Slipknot as a common-or-garden nu metal band isn't just foolish, it's simply wrong.

Of course they don't appeal to you long-haired denim wearers who've been thrashing to Saxon since Wheels of Steel but no offense; this music isn't meant for you. This is ours. And even as I approach 30 and my waist approaches 38-inches I wear my Slipknot merchandise with pride because without this album, the chances are I wouldn't have immersed myself in the world of metal. I wouldn't have tattoos, I wouldn't have chipped teeth from mosh pits and I wouldn't have spent thousands of pounds on gigs over the years, all of which make me the well-rounded man I am today. Slipknot, I salute you.