In the now almost-two decades since the release of their self-titled debut album, Iowa nine-piece metal behemoth SLIPKNOT have grown to become one of the most beloved and dominant forces in modern heavy metal. In that time, they’ve cultivated a reputation for some of the most powerful live shows in the genre too, with some of the very best being captured in the likes of live DVDs Disasterpieces and (sic)nesses, with the latter’s headlining performance at the UK’s Download Festival being regarded by many as perhaps the band’s single greatest captured performance to date. The latest in this line of films however, is also something rather special. Day of the Gusano (titled in loving reference to the band’s ‘maggot’ fanbase) captures SLIPKNOT‘s first ever live show in Mexico, arguably the most notable territory the band had yet to visit until now, as they headline their own Knotfest Festival in December 2015.
Opening with gorgeous aerial camera shots of hundreds of the band’s baying ‘maggots’, before kicking straight into the set, Day of the Gusano illustrates perfectly the band’s live prowess, showcasing a typically-blistering live set from the nine men that pulls from across the entirety of their career, from the 1999 debut album all the way up to 2014’s .5: The Gray Chapter, hand-selecting a ferocious setlist of the band’s greatest hits plus a few rarely-played treats, in the form of picks like Metabolic and Me Inside. Song choice-wise, it’s mostly the huge world-conquering anthems the metal community have come to know and love, with classics like Wait And Bleed and Before I Forget mixed in with a few choice newer cuts like Custer and The Devil In I to staggering effect.
Of course, much of this talk of setlists and such would be meaningless if the performance itself were nothing special, but this is SLIPKNOT, so that’s barely a consideration, especially given the circumstances. The Mexican crowd seem at a constant fever pitch for the entirety of the show, bellowing back almost every line at quite frankly insane volumes from the very second that opener Sarcastrophe hits, and continuing on with seemingly increasing enthusiasm as time goes on. It’s telling just how much the performance means to the band as well, evident in the little touches like frontman Corey Taylor greeting and occasionally addressing the crowd in Spanish. The rest of the band are on ludicrously good form too, from the tight riffing of guitarists Mick Thomson and Jim Root.
From a sheer technical standpoint, Day of the Gusano deserves a massive amount of credit too. Capturing every moment of a nine-piece band can’t be an easy feat, but the filmmakers do so with apparent ease, making use of all sorts of techniques including instrument-mounted cameras and even handheld footage from DJ Sid Wilson’s many stage antics throughout the set, to achieve a final film that’s as frantic to watch as it is to listen to. The audio mixing is also phenomenal throughout the film, capturing every last nuance, from the crushing riffs of People = Shit, to the soaring chorus of Psychosocial and the relentlessly-paced drumming of Custer.
By the eventual time the final strains of set closer Surfacing fade, the pyro stops, and the credits begin to roll, you’re left to simply take in the spectacle of the last 80-odd minutes and think. Day of the Gusano might not quite stack up to the importance of (sic)nesses for some, but for others (including those present for the show), it’s fair to say it may well become one of the defining portraits of one of the greatest live metal bands of our time.
Day of the Gusano – Live in Mexico is out now via Eagle Rock Entertainment.
Like SLIPKNOT on Facebook.