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Every Corey Taylor Slipknot Mask, Ranked By Pure, Visceral Terror

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Vote up the most nightmarish masks you're having trouble unseeing.

Even if you don't know anything about Slipknot or their members, you know they perform while wearing genuinely terrifying masks. As the band's frontman, Corey Taylor's masks are often the most viscerally unsettling. Each of the group's new eras comes with a new mask that parallels that album's themes - and it still manages to be pure nightmare fuel.

Like Slipknot's music, Taylor's masks are always a surprise. Sometimes they're simple and elegant. Other times, they look like a corpse's face chewed up by a dog. All of them are horrifying, but which ones inspire the most terror?

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  • 1
    144 VOTES

    The 'Kid-Scaring' Mask - 2021

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    A post shared by Slipknot (@slipknot)

    At Rocklahoma in 2021, Taylor debuted his new mask, and whoo boy, is it ever a doozy. The full head covering is closer to a monster mask than anything Taylor has worn in recent years - so much so that fans have noted that it looks like Decker's mask from Clive Barker's Nightbreed.

    The mask itself resembles pieces of Taylor's previous masks, but not in a nostalgic way. It's solid white, which is how many of his masks begin their lives, and its mouth and jaw area have stitching that resembles the two-piece mask of The Gray Chapter. And where to begin with the eyes? They look cool, but are not something you'll want to stare at directly. In an appearance on the Steve-O’s Wild Ride! podcast in May 2021, Taylor said this mask is basically made to scare children:

    My new mask is gonna f*cking scare kids. It’s so gnarly, dude. It’s really uncomfortable; it freaked my wife out. She won’t look at it - and she loves crazy sh*t like that. She’s just like, ​"That's really bothering me, you need to put that picture away!"

  • 2
    136 VOTES

    No Hair, No Face, No Soul - 'All Hope Is Gone,' 2008

    No Hair, No Face, No Soul - 'All Hope Is Gone,' 2008
    Photo: Brian Leli / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Taylor's mask from the All Hope Is Gone era is one of his most upsetting. In some ways, it's a complete 180 from the Subliminal Verses era, even though it leans into the high-concept design of its predecessor. This mask is totally devoid of detail save for a back circle around the eye and a distended mouth.

    This mask looks like a grimier version of the mask worn in Mike Flanagan's breaking-and-entering masterpiece Hush, but the outsized features make it much more terrifying. Taylor later said that this was his favorite mask:

    Honestly, the All Hope Is Gone mask was my favorite. It was so easy for me to tap into that character, tap into that weirdness. Because you couldn’t see my eyes, it really took all the humanity out of it.

  • 3
    139 VOTES

    The Very First Mask - 'Slipknot,' 1999

    Taylor's first mask is his most DIY, and in many ways, it's his most horrifying. Made from a crash test dummy mask that was flipped inside out before Taylor's old dreadlocks were glued to the head, it looks like something that would have given Edward Paisnel pause.

    According to Taylor, he worked with Shawn Crahan and his wife to figure out the perfect mask to parallel how he was feeling at the time of the band's 1999 debut. He told Dean Delray:

    I didn’t really know where to go at first. So Clown and his wife actually helped me find... They found an old crash test dummy’s mask, and we flipped it inside out. At the time, I had dreads, and I was pulling the dreads out through these holes, and when I shaved my head, we took all that hair and we stuck it in the masks to kind of keep that look.

  • 4
    122 VOTES

    The Darker Take On The Original - 'Iowa,' 2001

    Taylor's mask from Slipknot's Iowa era was essentially the same as the mask he wore during the band's first album cycle, but like the band's follow-up effort, this new mask was much darker. The mask was inspired by the band's lifestyle at the time, which was marred by heavy drinking and intense drug addiction. Taylor said of the band's excess at the time:

    When we went in to do Iowa, we had no real idea of what it was going to be, we just wanted to make it the sickest, bleakest, angriest, saddest album ever and f*ck did we do it. We thought making the record was hard, but it was nothing compared to touring it. We almost died. That was when a lot of the drinking and drugs started happening. I was drinking like a f*cking fish. It was bad, it was a scary f*cking time to be in Slipknot because we did not give a f*ck, and not in a good way.

    The earliest incarnation of the Iowa mask was bone white with black paint around the eyes and mouth. Synthetic dreads hung from the top of the skull like snakes from Medusa's head. It was unsettling to say the least. Over time, the mask became dirtier and darker as grime and sweat infiltrated every inch of it. As freaky as this mask looks, Taylor says it was tricky to keep on during live performances:

    I had that happen at Ozzfest 2001 in Kansas City, right in the middle of playing "People = Sh*t." Mid-slam I feel a lot of air on my head, my eyes are closed, and there I am with my weird f*ckin' blue-blonde hair on show. I had to slowly bend down and put the mask back on. That's when I realized I had to belt that sh*t on until it's uncomfortable. We have to make our masks as durable as possible because these things will fly off in a heartbeat.

  • 5
    114 VOTES

    Colorful-Haired Variation Of The Original - 'Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses),' 2004

    Colorful-Haired Variation Of The Original - 'Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses),' 2004
    Photo: Gene Smirnov / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    This is really where Taylor's masks started to change. Gone was the inside-out crash test dummy mask, and in its place was something that looked like it breathed easier, even if it wasn't comfortable. The design is pure terror. What was once a blank canvas now looks like rotting skin stitched together into a pained grimace the color of decaying compost.

    The dreads were replaced with Taylor's actual hair, which he had dyed red and blue. Taylor has said that he was drunk during most of the making of Vol. 3, as well as the subsequent tour, which could explain why the mask was so deformed - perhaps this was how he saw himself when he looked in the mirror. Taylor said:

    I was pretty much drunk from the beginning of the Iowa recordings until about three months into the recording of Volume 3. I was pretty much drunk the whole time, except for a three-month period when my son was born. It was bad, man. It hurt my voice, it ruined my health, I gained a sh*t load of weight, I looked like hell and my wife stayed with me and told me I had a problem. I missed a whole year of my son’s life from being drunk. It was tough.

  • 6
    94 VOTES

    A Brief Variation On The 'All Hope Is Gone' Mask

    A Brief Variation On The 'All Hope Is Gone' Mask
    Photo: José Goulão / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    During the All Hope Is Gone tour, Taylor made a few small changes to his blank face mask. There's the normal wear and tear that comes with hundreds of performances, but at some point, Taylor added black thread around the perimeter of the crown.

    The addition of the thread made it look like Tayor was wearing a crown of thorns during each performance. It's not clear what his intention behind this addition was, but it doesn't really matter. The thread makes it look like Taylor's whole persona is falling apart while giving him a messianic profile.