KORN

"The Path of Totality" (Roadrunner Records; 2011)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This is Korn's tenth disc and if you cued up their debut disc "Korn" and then played this one directly after you would hear quite a different sound. The first Korn disc was raw, unfettered and a pioneering sound. It caused a wave of metal heads to turn their heads toward a new and unique sound. This disc, "The Path of Totality," is appropriately named: the path of Korn has reached totality. They have stepped out of the bounds of metal and nu-metal, and jumped with both feet into the sound of dubstep which is defined as electronic dance music.

I will admit that the music sounds really cool, but (yeah, you knew there was going to be a "but") it doesn't sound like Korn. It sounds more like Korn with dance music taking over and since dubstep originated from the underground clubs in London it's got a dark tone with bass lines and reverberating drums. At times it sounds like Orgy, "Mechanical Animals"-era Marilyn Manson and Gary Numan.

Skrillex helps out again with mixing the disc. Oh, one more thing about dubstep is that vocals are usually scarce because it's the music that is designed to speak to the listener. Jonathan Davis does sing on all the songs but, unlike a traditional Korn recording process, Davis was not "in studio" when the vocals were recorded so they sound distant and sometimes not even part of the song. If you look at each track listing it has the words "Featuring..." which means that Korn does not stand on their own with this disc. In fact they wanted to implore the help of different producers so they could have a completely different sound.

At times you'll be moving to the beat, at others you'll be listening and trying to figure out how long the song is because there is monotony when trying to digest dubstep. You will probably be exposed more to the "radio" hits than the other songs on this disc. Korn has been doing this for a long time so for them to change direction is no new feat, they changed the musical direction in 1994 with "Korn." and they'll probably do it again in the future.

For more information, check out http://www.korn.com.

"Untitled" (EMI; 2007)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This CD is the second effort by Korn without Brian “Head” Welch on guitar, and it shows. Jonathan Davis had commented on not giving the album a title saying, “Why not just let our fans call it whatever they wanna call it?” So if I’m not a fan… Look, I know that Korn has some better stuff earlier on in their career, but this mud pie was bound to be thrown out once it hardened.

Although Atticus Ross and The Matrix helped create a new sound on “See You On The Other Side,” Korn sought to employ them again and this CD is supposed to sound more progressive due to their talent for song crafting and structure. I must have missed the memo because the only highlight is when it ends. The Matrix left early on and many of the tracks had to be re-recorded. So that polished sound is missing and I’m not sure what they replaced it with.

The only thing that impressed me about this at all was drummer Terri Bozzio behind the kit, but after listening to his professionalism being looped and dubbed and twisted into a sample sound, I just hope he can rub this black spot off his record. He does help with song writing so it won’t be a total loss for him in the publishing arena.

If you listen to this disc and compare it to their previous efforts, you’ll see that they’ve gone all artsy and try to explore territories reserved for other bands. I’m all for musical growth but this disc doesn’t grow past the infantile stage. Basically, they fill up a Huggie with their new sound. They attempt an industrial/dance groove and it goes nowhere; somebody is going to take a loss on this one.

Each song has some blah, blah, blah attached to it and just because they didn’t name the silly disc doesn’t mean they have to tell me what each song is about, I’m qualified to interpret music, thanks anyway. They also swing back at Head for his autobiography titled, “Save Me From Myself.” I read it, and it may be a "he-said-they-said" deal, so I’m not privy enough to add my two cents as I’ve only heard one side explained.

I listened to this disc once and the only time I gave a hoot was on the track, “Killing.” It's got a dark metal sound for a minute, but then its gone ... just like I am from this “Untitled” hiccup.

Korn: Some band who used to create decent music.

For more information, check out http://www.korn.com or http://www.myspace.com/korn

"Live & Rare" (Epic; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Mostly live (11 of the 13 tracks are live ones), "Live & Rare" doesn't really live up to its name but it's still a fairly cool CD. As any Korn fan will tell you, most of the tracks on this CD were previously available on other DVDs or CDs so, while they may be gathered here for the first time, and they may be mostly live, they're not particularly rare. The only exceptions may be the two tracks from Woodstock ("Gift" and "ADDIDAS"), which appear here for the first time.

The balance of the CD consists of seven tracks from the band's CGBG show, a Pink Floyd cover from Seattle, a Metallica cover from the Metallica tribute, a Cheech and Chong cover that was originally a hidden track and "Proud," the International b-side from "Life is Peachy."

Still, rare or not, the tracks on "Live & Rare" are consistently good, strong, heavy tunes. The live material plays exceptionally well (thank goodness, since they make up 85% of the CD) and the cover tunes are either powerful (Metallica's "One") or just plain fun "Earache My Eye.").  

So, the bottom line is that, if you're a Korn fan and you've got most of their CDs and DVDs as well as a bootleg of the Woodstock show, you don't need to pick up this CD. If you're more of a casual Korn fan and/or this stuff is new to you, this is a great find. 

Anyway, check out www.korn.com

"See You on the Other Side" (Virgin; 2005)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

 

I must admit, I never liked Korn. Every guitar magazine boasted them as using the 7-string Ibanez and when I’d have conversations about Korn people would always note to me that they played a 7-string like Steve Vai, as if they could make some kind of connection between an incredible guitar player and a band that woke up pissed off. But, after time, I picked up a few Korn CDs and found myself liking the sound they made. It seemed that anyone who played a signature 7-string should at least have some solos, and it wasn’t a bit later until I heard about Brian Welch that I studied up so I could back up my opinion. 

Although this CD doesn’t have Brian at the “Head” of the guitar (he left the band for “religious reasons”) this CD does show ten years of musical growth for Korn. I plugged it in and waited for the awkward rapping of Davis and I was pleasantly surprised when it blasted off with a refined sound via “The Matrix” team. I immediately thought of Marilyn Manson and his “Mechanical Animals” disc because it was such a departure from their original sound.  

It feels like Korn have matured and the expected “therapy with amplification” was getting old anyway, why not jack the music up and let radio listeners request something that might get played before midnight? Plus rap-metal can always use one more gold tooth to help it shine a little brighter -- just not too bright so we don’t get blinded. Of course, the band doesn't get all huggy and kissey and they record tracks like “Politics” and “Hypocrites” which deal with both subjects in their own right. 

Korn sounds tight here and their once raw approach has been polished so they are forced to look back at themselves. I think they see that it's time to move on to a more developed sound. They even lean toward a NIN groove on a few songs.

I may not be shaking my hips to their new sound but I’ll give them thumbs up for this release.  

Korn: Jonathan Davis, James “Munky” Shaffer, Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, and David Silveria.

 For more information visit http://www.korn.com/. 

"Untouchables" (Epic/Immortal; 2002)

Reviewed by Rose Grech

Korn expands their horizons with their fifth album "Untouchables." At first it seems like it's a slower, mellower sound compared to their first-born. They generally keep their same style, but get a little weaker since the addition of the unusual, high pitched/girlish screams to their old school rough/tough vocals, which dates back to their third album "Issues."

A few songs have some similarities with a kinda circular lyrical rhyme scheme and the different vocals ranges. There is a blend and balance between the old kick ass vocals and the newer light screams within one song. There's also a few catchy choruses that you will find yourself easily singing along to.

However, by song #10, "Embrace," everything blows up like a bomb; they bash your hearing with brutal, fast, kick ass beats and pure harsh vocals. You can't help but get into it. It's intoxicating; you just want more and more. It continues until "Wake Up Hate" when it gets a bit soft again.

But you don't have to wait to "Embrace" to get aggressive sounds. Track #3, "Blame" has great drumbeat solos and the vocals scream out anger that you can feel. And all you want to do is blast it loud so the whole world can hear ... or at least your neighbors.

You don't get just songs with this CD - also included is a remix and a director's cut video of "Here to Stay," which is creative as always. There's also a free subscription to Korn Camp, which is exclusive content you can only get with "Untouchables."

Overall, I still believe Korn are not as harsh as they once were, but change is fine; can't expect them to stay the same forever. But I sorta miss Jonathan Davis's ranting, raving, rare, gargly noises and seeing them in small venues. Just can't get the same vibe in a huge arena. They have probably attracted a wider audience including people who never liked them before. Unfortunately that's the way it goes in this industry.

Anyway, check out www.korn.com

"Issues" (Epic/Immortal; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

"Issues" finds Korn dropping rap and aiming for a more straight-forward sound; in doing so, Korn echoes their solid debut without repeating it. However, even though "Issues" hits hard, it doesn't have the same knock-out punch that the debut had. It is still interesting to me that with the fickle audiences of today's youth that Korn has had staying power for this long.

Korn, for the most part, have been obsessed with death. With "Issues" Korn are now obsessed with the trappings of fame; too bad it's something we've heard from a hundred other bands that got popular and famous too quickly.

I don't listen to mainstream rock radio much these days, but "Make Me Bad" sounds like it could be a sure-fire hit. I know "Falling Away From Me" was on heavy rotation at MTV and it's not hard to see why - the song contains enough rage to keep the true fans happy, but enough melody to keep the masses interested. "Let's Get This Party Started" is high-tempo ferocity call to arms for the down-trodden. "Hey Daddy" has a bouncing riff that bubbles with anticipation before it's twisted like metal through a grinder for the choruses.

But, I'll be honest with you - there are few tracks that fall flat. "Wake Up," "Dirty," and "Trash" lack the spark that soaked their debut.

The bottom line is that "Issues" is still a good set of songs even with the segue filler that makes the disc sound like one long emotional breakdown.

"Issues" was produced and mixed by Brendan O'Brien.

Korn is Jonathan Davis on vocals, Munky and Head on guitars, Fieldy on bass, and David Silveria on drums. 

For more information visit http://www.korn.com/. 

"Follow the Leader" (Sony; 1998)korn.jpg (17826 bytes)

Reviewed by Pud

I got the newest release by KORN after reading a couple of reviews written by female reviewers who obviously just got back from the Lilith Fair tour. All  the reviews said that "Follow the Leader" wasn't a good album because it was mostly "frat boy" music with grunting and growling, and more specifically wasn't a very "sensitive" type of music ... NO SHIT! Really? 

Bottom line here folks, if you feel like crap and you want to feel even worse, throw this bad boy in the CD player. While this effort isn't as strong an effort as "Life is Peachy," it is still a good album. If only certain people could accept that some of us express ourselves by  SCREAMING!!! Best songs are "Got the Life," "All in the Family," and a hidden Cheech and Chong song at the end of the CD.

Korn: Jonathan Davis (vocals, bagpipes); Munky, Head (guitar); Fieldy (bass); David (drums).

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 04 Sep 2017 13:05:03 -0400 .