Corey Taylor at Manchester Academy, 11/11/23

Tonight Corey Taylor headlines Manchester Academy in front of a sold out crowd with support from Oxymorrons. Known for his work with Slipknot and Stone Sour, Corey has now released two solo albums, the most recent of which being CFM2.

Oxymorrons, the supporting act for tonight’s show, recently concluded their support stint for Corey during the US leg of this tour. Hailing from New York, the band is often categorized as rap rock metal by many, but they’ve expressed their aversion to being confined to a single genre. They prefer the label of Melanin Punk, a term that smoothly leads to the title of their new debut album. As a relatively fresh addition to the UK live gig circuit, Oxymorrons did an exceptional job of energizing the crowd. ‘Enemy’ stood out as a highlight track from their set, showcasing their talent and leaving an impression on the audience. It’s clear that this band is poised for bigger and better things on these shores.

A serene, lullaby-like ambiance descends upon the crowd as they are gently encouraged to “sit back and enjoy the show,” the introduction accompanied by ‘The Box’ playing over the PA. The anticipation builds, reaching a crescendo of cheers, as the drum kit lights up, signaling the entry of Dustin Robert onto the stage. With an explosive start, the drummer launches into the early drum solo of ‘Post Traumatic Blues,’ as the guitarists Zach Throne and Christian Martucci along with Eliot Lorango on bass join him on stage. As the music intensifies, Corey appears headbanging in perfect sync with the beat and flashing strobe lights.

Corey announces a trip back to 2003, diving into Stone Sour’s ‘Tumult,’ marking the first of four songs from Stone Sour’s back catalogue featured in the setlist. Following this nostalgic throwback, the performance swiftly transitions into ‘Black Eyes Blue’ from the 2020 album CMFT. This leads into the first track of the night from the new CMF2 album, ‘We Are The Rest.’

It’s true, for some, Corey’s personality might not always shine through when he’s behind the mask with Slipknot. However, when he’s unmasked and taking the stage as a soloist, that charisma and personality return in abundance, accompanied by his trademark, colorful language.

The cover of the Nickelodeon hit, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’, by a metal artist is undeniably noteworthy and whilst surprising, for those in the know it’s not completely unexpected. It’s a curious juxtaposition—a metal artist taking on a song from a children’s show. There’s something utterly absurd and almost otherworldly about witnessing a room full of adults, with barely a child in sight, enthusiastically engaging in the call and response of “Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” “SpongeBob SquarePants!”.

Slipknot’s ‘Snuff’ is a poignant display of Corey’s vulnerability, with its lyrics delving into his personal experiences following a marriage breakdown. This emotional track resonates deeply, often considered one of the most profound metal ballads in the genre due to its raw and authentic portrayal of intense personal struggles.

Wrapping up the set with another Stone Sour gem, ‘Through Glass,’ the band exits the stage, leaving the crowd chanting and clamoring for an encore.

Amidst the chants of ‘Corey’ from the crowd, the band reemerges on stage. After rallying the audience to “scream your tits and balls off,” Corey reveals a treat for the crowd: two additional songs, beginning with ‘Duality’. As one of Slipknot’s monumental hits, it’s no shock that the fans passionately sing along, at times even overpowering Corey with their fervent rendition of every word.

Corey then addresses the crowd before the final track of the night. “For the final song of the evening, we took it upon ourselves to learn a song by one of the greatest bands of all time, from this beautiful country, the band of Black fucking Sabbath. It’s not gonna sound like Sabbath, but it’s gonna come pretty fucking close”. Ending the show on another artists track is ballsy to say the least, but it’s also an inspired choice, adding a unique touch to conclude the night as the set is closed with ‘Fairies Wear Boots’.

Taking it back full circle to the opening intro lyrics of ‘The Box’. Enjoy the show? Absolutely. Sit back? Never. A Corey Taylor show is all encompassing from vocals and musicianship to stage presence taking you on a journey you never want to end!


Izzy Clayton

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