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10 Saddest Slipknot Songs That Will Make You Cry, Ranked

Slipknot made shockwaves when they first erupted onto the developing nu-metal scene in 1996. Their abrasive, bold, and simply chaotic instrumentals became a cathartic release for many worldwide and helped form a new wave of metal. 

While their earlier material, especially their self-titled debut, has an eclectic madness, the American outfit is hardly afraid to dive deep into their emotions and produce some rather sad songs.

In this article, I’ve collected 10 of their saddest songs to expose a vulnerable and occasionally introspective side of Slipknot.

1. Snuff

Album: All Hope Is Gone
Released: 2008

To someone who has only previously heard Slipknot’s nu-metal aggression, “Snuff” could be quite a shock. Within this track, however, is Corey Taylor in one of his most exposed and vulnerable moments and an overall very sad song. 

This song is about feeling lost within yourself, potentially after a painful life experience. Instead of growing and learning, the protagonist (Taylor) becomes hollow inside, warning people to stay away from him because his soul has become too dark.

It’s a very melancholic, brooding track that quickly became one of my personal favorites from the American outfit. 

2. Circle

Album: Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses
Released: 2004

While “Snuff” has a very present sadness to it, I feel that Vol 3’s powerful ballad “Circle” takes a more subtle approach. On the surface, it seems to explore someone trying to find themselves again after a negative life experience or loss, but struggling to find the answers to their questions.

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Despite this, the line “all of my endings are waiting to begin” suggests a distinct hopelessness that I can’t ignore as being incredibly sad. While there can be a message of hope to take from “Circle”, some of the lyrics within are among Slipknot’s most thought-provoking.

3. Dead Memories

Album: All Hope Is Gone
Released: 2008

The subtleties fly out the window in All Hope Is Gone’s powerfully melodic “Dead Memories”. Here, Taylor is lamenting over lost loves who caused great pain to them.

What once were happy memories are now corrupted, causing pain in his heart and distrust toward future people entering his life. It seems to distrust and betrayal are consistent themes throughout Slipknot’s discography, and “Dead Memories” is perhaps one of their most direct approaches to these themes.

4. Danger – Keep Away

Album: Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses
Released: 2004

Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses was written during a trying time for Slipknot. Most tracks present on the album are rather depressing and introspective, with “Danger – Keep Away” taking the prize for its hardest-hitting offering.

The solemn electronic passages and harmonic vocals make for a slightly haunting listen as Corey Taylor sings about aspects of his past. Losing relationships, burning bridges with those who were trying to help him, and exploring the loneliness that comes with said struggle.

5. Vermillion Pt. 2

Album: Vol 3: The Subliminal Verses
Released: 2004

“Vermillion” and “Vermillion Pt. 2”, when placed together, add up to become one of Slipknot’s strongest offerings throughout their discography. “Vermillion Pt. 2”, however, is the sadder variant of the two as it explores an unrequited love that turns into self-destructive obsession.

Up until “Snuff”’s release, this track was quite possibly Slipknot’s most powerful ballad at this point. Even today, the words and musical structure are enough to send shivers.

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6. If Rain Is What You Want

Album: .5: The Gray Chapter
Released: 2014

2014’s The Gray Chapter was aptly named in tribute to their lost bassist Paul Gray, who died of an accidental drug overdose in 2010. “If Rain Is What You Want” was written in response to how fans and communities believed Slipknot should mourn Gray’s death, which I think is a very sad and problematic problem to have to traverse.

Any death is sad, and all people approach the concept and reality of death in different ways. Grief comes in all forms, and all who knew Paul Gray would deal with it in their way.

In some ways, this song should never have had to be written.

7. Iowa

Album: Iowa
Released: 2001

2001’s Iowa was a pivotal moment in Slipknot’s career. They evolved from the purely in-your-face brutality of their self-titled record and brought atmosphere and complex musical sections in abundance alongside their signature style.

Iowa’s title track feels like a unity of all these elements in one chaotic, maddening performance. The song’s screams, hypnotic and repetitive basslines, and many breakdowns seem to mimic someone at their lowest.

Hopeless, blind to remedy, and simply breaking down psychologically with no end in sight, it’s a depressive cacophony that is also one of their heaviest songs.

8. Gently

Album: Iowa
Released: 2001

“Gently”, no matter which way you look at it, is criminally underrated. Perhaps overshadowed by other excellent tracks on Iowa, it’s a trance-inducing rager that is nothing like the song’s title suggests. Corey Taylor’s off-putting whispers of other realms and escaping the problems of the present have a pervasive sadness to them that is masked in the track’s sheer force.

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If you’re looking for an introduction to Slipknot outside of their earlier hits, I’d highly recommend “Gently”.

9. XIX

Album: .5: The Gray Chapter
Released: 2014

While “If Rain Is What You Want” dealt with demonstrating the grief of Paul Gray’s passing in their way, “XIX” directly addresses the struggle of losing him. There is sadness in Corey Taylor’s voice, but also anger as he wasn’t able to save or even help his friend, who never opened up about his problems. 

I think “XIX” is hands-down Slipknot’s saddest song, as it’s based on such a powerful moment of grief within these people’s lives.  

10. Not Long For This World

Album: We Are Not Your Kind
Released: 2019

There have been some incredibly depressing songs in this list, so I’m going to finish it off with a slightly more hopeful offering from Slipknot. While “Not Long For This World” does address feelings of hopelessness and suicide, Corey Taylor also sings of realizing that despite these struggles, living is worthwhile and it’s always possible to rebuild and continue onwards for your benefit. 

The song also touches on people not caring about you or your progress through life and responds by emphasizing the power within ourselves to make a change in our lives.