LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Nearly four years have passed since the release of Slipknot's "Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)." But members of the masked metal act have little doubt that its as-yet-untitled fourth studio effort will appease its loyal fans, known as the Maggots.
"It's going to rip your face off," Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor told Billboard.com with confidence. "I don't think the world will be ready for this album."
Declining to provide an album title or song names, Taylor described Slipknot's forthcoming set -- which is being recorded in the band's home state of Iowa and is tentatively due August 12 via Roadrunner Records -- as a "very dark" cross between "Vol. 3" and 2001's "Iowa."
"It has so much power in it and yet there are so many great spots for melody," he explained. "It's a controlled chaos that hits you right out of the gate."
As to the focus of his lyrics, "instead of bitching about what went wrong in my life, I'm bitching about what's wrong in life, period," Taylor said, noting that his vocals are much more melodic than before. "I got to the point where I was tired of pretending that I couldn't sing every time I made a Slipknot album, so this time I'm going all out."
After finishing its 2005 tour in support of "Vol. 3," some of Slipknot's nine members took a break from the band to focus on other musical projects. Taylor, who also fronts rock act Stone Sour, spent the next two-and-a-half years promoting the band's 2006 sophomore release, "Come What(ever) May."
"But the whole time we were doing the Stone Sour album, I was writing and figuring stuff out for the Slipknot album," Taylor said. "So when it came time to work this, I already had notebooks full of stuff and my own musical ideas."
Meanwhile, Slipknot's time apart has given the act a new sense of musical confidence and maturity, Taylor observed. "I think we're all in way better places now," he said. "We're not afraid to speak up and say what we like and don't like. With that kind of confidence and maturity, you really get to explore different stuff."
Along with its new album, Slipknot will appear in "evolved" masks and uniforms, which Taylor described as "not just a costume -- it's a way of life." The vocalist declined to give specifics, but said the freshened outfits are "very dark and will fit in everything image-wise that we're making with this album."
Slipknot will co-headline this summer's 30-date Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem tour, which begins July 9 at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, Washington.
As for recording future Slipknot material, "We really want to do this album and then play it by ear," Taylor said. "It's a band that deserves every little bit of intensity that you have. If it gets to the point where you're not feeling it anymore, then you're just not feeling it anymore."