Iowa is the second studio album released via Roadrunner Records on August 28, 2001, it was the second album to be produced by Ross Robinson.
The title derives from the band's home state, Iowa, which members have stated is one of their biggest sources of inspiration. With much anticipation for the band's second album following on the success of their 1999 self-titled debut, pressures on the band were high. Their relationships with each other suffered and was later described as the darkest time of their career.
It was also the first time that guitarist Jim Root had been significantly involved in a Slipknot album due to his joining very late in recording of their debut album, as Jim Root was only featured on two songs from that release.
Despite troubles within the band and with Iowa's development, Slipknot promoted it for almost a year.
Slipknot Iowa was a major success, premiering in the top ten album sales charts in nine countries. Generally positively received, it includes some of their notable songs, such as "Disasterpiece", "The Heretic Anthem", "People = Shit" and the two Grammy-nominated songs "Left Behind" and the remix of "My Plague".
Critic John Mulvey proclaimed the album as the "absolute triumph of nu metal". While more technical than their debut album, Iowa is considered to be the band's heaviest and darkest. It has been certified platinum in the United States and Canada.
(#0) Sid Wilson - turntables, vocals on "(515)"
(#1) Joey Jordison - drums, mixing
(#2) Paul Gray - bass guitar
(#3) Chris Fehn - custom percussion, backing vocals
(#4) Jim Root - guitars
(#5) Craig Jones - samples, media
(#6) Shawn Crahan - custom percussion, backing vocals, editing
(#7) Mick Thomson - guitars
(#8) Corey Taylor - vocals
Monte Conner - A&R
Steve Ross - Assistant manager
Danny Nozell - Tour chief
Dave Kirby & Neil Warnock - Worldwide agents for The Agency Group
No Name Management - Worldwide management
Ross Robinson - Producer
Mike Fraser - Engineering
Andy Wallace - Mixing
Steve Sisco - Assistant engineering
George Marino - Mastering
Steve Richards - Executive producer
Shawn Crahan - Creative direction, photography
t42design - Art direction, design
Joey Jordison - Slipknot logo & Tribal-S logo design
Stefan Seskis - Photography
Neil Zlozower - Band photography
Iowa was recorded and produced at Sound City and Sound Image studios in Los Angeles, California. Drummer Joey Jordison and bassist Paul Gray began working on new music together in October 2000 and together they wrote material for most of the tracks on the album.
During this time other band members wanted a break following the extensive touring which followed their self-titled debut album.
However, on January 17, 2001, Slipknot entered the studio to begin recording Iowa. This period in the band's career has become known as one of their worst for several reasons. Joey Jordison stated retrospectively, "that's where we got into a war" citing the lack of a break for himself and Paul Gray. While other factors, including: vocalist Corey Taylor's alcohol addiction, several other members' drug addictions, management issues and more, affected relations in the band.
Prior to its release, drummer Joey Jordison proclaimed: "Wait till you hear our fuckin' next record. It smokes our first album. The shit's twice as technical, three times as heavy." The College Music Journal reviewed it as "brutal, unrelenting, scorching..." Many reviews noted its heavy themes, the Alternative Press stated, "[it is] like having a plastic bag taped over your head for an hour while Satan uses your scrotum as a speedbag....[It] is over the top...you're going to be left in stitches." NME said that it is "Exhilarating, brutal and good." Rolling Stone credited the album for its originality, stating that "nearly everything else in modern doom rock sounds banal."
Producer Robinson was also praised for his work on the album; Uncut noted, "The barely relenting, tumbling noise attack marshalled by nu metal uber-producer Ross Robinson is expert." Reviewing for Yahoo, John Mulvey said, "They're an evolutionary dead end, the final, absolute triumph of nu metal."
The album's first single, "Left Behind", was nominated for the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance at the 44th Grammy Awards. The second single, "My Plague", was nominated in 2003 for the same award at the 45th Grammy Awards. The single "Left Behind" peaked in the top thirty for single sales the United States and the UK. In addition, "My Plague" reached the 43rd position on the UK charts.
Iowa was ranked sixth in the "50 Albums of the year" by NME in 2001. The album peaked at the top position on the UK Albums Chart, in addition to the second spot on the ARIA Charts in Australia. The album reached the third spot on the Billboard 200 and Finnish Charts. On October 10, 2001, the album was certified platinum in the United States. In Canada, the Canadian Recording Industry Association certified the album as Platinum, on September 5, 2001. The British Phonographic Industry has certified the album as gold in the UK. In 2009, Iowa was rated 3rd in UK magazine Kerrang!'s "The 50 Best Albums of the 21st Century" reader poll.
A special edition of Iowa was reissued on November 1, 2011 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the record. The package featured brand-new artwork, including photography by percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan. It was accompanied by a full live audio of the hit DVD Disasterpieces and a film entitled Goat directed by Shawn Crahan with the four music videos, never-seen-before interviews and footage from the Iowa period.
Disc one: Iowa
“People = Shit”
“The Heretic Anthem”
“I Am Hated”
“My Plague” (New Abuse Mix)
Disc two: Disasterpieces-Live In London 2002
“People = Shit”
“The Heretic Anthem”
“Spit It Out”
“Wait And Bleed”
Disc three: Goat
Hour long film capturing the insanity of Iowa-directed by M. Shawn Crahan.
“The Heretic Anthem” (Live)
“People = Shit” (Live)