For one night only, heavy metal giants Slipknot brought their new live concert feature Day of The Gusano to cinemas and we were there to witness the heavy hitting power of “The Nine”.
The film itself details the very first time Slipknot have every played in Mexico, hosting their very own festival Knotfest in Mexico City (and the seventh edition of the festival). Despite twenty years approx. in activity and playing shows all over the world, they never once hit Mexico. The reasons for this probably range from logistical to political but in the true Slipknot manner, when they got to make it happen they did it the Slipknot way.
Day of the Gusano can be dissected into two unique but intersecting parts. The live footage from the gig itself and behind the scenes footage following both the band & a select group of Slipknot superfans attending the gig and their stories – both of which show entirely different sides to the band. Music first, eh?
If Black Sabbath created heavy metal and Metallica reformed and refined it, then Slipknot are the illegitimate bastard son that ripped up the rule book and changed the game despite all the odds being against them.
For many outside the world of metal music, Slipknot are a hard concept to grasp. Despite their super aggressive and super accessible sound, their image is usually the defining factor. You have nine people on stage, dressed in masks usually relatively matching variety of boiler suits bringing hell fire and brimstone to crowds of sometimes over 100k+ people. One vocalist, three guitar players, a bass player, a DJ and THREE drummers can be hard for people to fathom how it all comes together but what Day of Gusano does extremely well through the live footage of the Knotfest x Mexico performance is give you an up close and more personal look at how all of these moving parts work.
The portion of the set we see is made up of new songs like The Devil In I, Custer, old reliable hits like Duality, Before I Forget, The Heretic Anthem and some other rarer tracks like Me Inside & Prosthetics. The extremely well shot concert footage and super sound mixing allows you to decompartment the absolute madness that is happening on stage all at once. While Corey’s powerful vocals & Jay Weinberg’s unbelievable drumming are pretty much at the forefront at all times, we get a closer look and listen at some of the other band members functions. When Shawn “Clown” Crahan (percussion/baseball bat to beer keg duties) or Sid (DJ) are in action for example, their individual sound is emphasized. erhaps the perfect example of this is in the unique riff in Eeyore which gets amplified in a major way compared to the album version of the track. The ever energetic Sid Wilson running around the stage with a GoPro mixing it up with other members like Clown also makes for some seriously trippy and terrifying close up shots of the masks that are akin to something you’d get in a VR horror game, but all suitably tying in to Slipknot’s dark aesthetic.
One of the best moments as always comes in the shape of the performance of Spit It Out from Slipknot’s debut self titled album. Corey Taylor asking every fan in the arena to crouch down and only get back up when he tells them to jump makes for a spectacular audience shot no matter where they perform and especially in outdoor venues. The intense wave of people jumping up and down together is just one of the amazing shots taken from a crowd who clearly did not stop moving, moshing, singing and dancing all night. A Slipknot crowd is often on a completely different level to that of other gigs and the surreal over head drone/helicopter shots of the crowd show the constant movement.
Intersecting the live footage sections is interviews with the band members about their desire to go to Mexico for a show, their dynamic together, some footage of them sight-seeing and other bits and pieces – but it is footage following a select group of hardcore Slipknot fans that is the most endearing and heartwarming.
We learn about the lengths that these people went to see their favourite band in action in their country for the very first time. We’re also given a sense about what Slipknot means to these people; and by extension we also learn what the metal genre means to those who love metal in perhaps the best way that any music film/documentary has. This is not just music to these fans. It is a way of life, it is therapy, it is a friend, a coping mechanism when things are shit in life. When you’re angry, sad, happy, whatever – there is a Slipknot/*insert band here* song for every emotion, for every occasion. Even the most stone hearted of people will need to have a tissue on hand.
Whether you’re a fan of Slipknot since the beginning or just after discovering the band, Day of the Gusano is a firm must add to your heavy metal library.