Korn Album Review

Korn album cover   Band Name: Korn
Album Name: __________________
Rating: 4 / 5       User Rating: 0 / 5
Label: Virgin Records
Buy Album: Amazon.com
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1. Intro
2. Starting Over
3. Bitch We Got a Problem
4. Evolution
5. Hold On
6. Kiss
7. Do What They Say
8. Ever Be
9. Love and Luxury
10. Innocent Bystander
11. Killing
12. Hushabye
13. I Will Protect You

It's quite appropriate the surging leadoff track from the newest Korn record is titled "Evolution." While the track plays off as an extension of the songwriting we heard from the band on "See You On The Other Side," this album which lacks a title is very experimental for the band.

Jonathan Davis still sounds angry, but further cynicism has crept into his performances. Sometimes the frontman sounds vaguely depressed, at other times, he puts on a pop singer disguise, during others he's simply pleading to be understood. Musically, Korn branches out into industrial music, making this album sound much less organic than its predecessor. As promised, there's a renewed heaviness that crops up, largely due to the direct approach you'll hear in certain riffs by Munky. When enhanced by the earth rumbling bass tones of Fieldy, the parts which include down-picking pack quite a punch.

An ambient introduction sets the tone for this record, a melding of warm acoustics and mechanical beats that leads into Starting Over, a cut that turns expectations on their ear with an emphasis on creativity. While the band sounds nothing like Tool, Korn matches that kind of creativity, incorporating the unexpected and evading any danger of being pigeonholed. Bitch We Got A Problem rolls along with a thick Fieldy groove and is more typical of what fans expect from the band. Still, this sounds fresh due to the abstract playing turned in by Munky and a wise arrangement.

Having done an MTV Unplugged record has had an obvious influence upon the band's songwriting. There's a lot more use of acoustic guitars and a real effort to make these songs as sonically diverse as possible.

Do What They Say is attention grabbing, with an extremely heavy sounding chorus that boarders on doom. Here, you'll find the group exploring a darker side of music that's well portrayed by artists like Marilyn Manson, complete with industrial overtones. Once again, Davis turns in a great job during Innocent Bystander. This song has a great chorus riff and is very powerful. Things get very heavy, with the track building in strength as it progresses. As the heaviest song on the album bar none, Killing lashes out intently, with extreme influences but enough of the newfound progressive attitude to keep your attention.

What's surprising is the group's turn toward softer sounds. While the choruses of the tracks generally come across intensely, songs like Hushabye I Will Protect You (during the introduction, but this track has extremely heavy parts as it goes along) and Kiss incorporate toned-down approaches. Certainly, Davis and his band are focusing on dynamics on these tracks, and the subtle nuances utilized do a good job of setting up explosive choruses. These tracks are far more challenging than your average Korn fare and require repeated listens before sinking in.

Credit must be given to the band for refusing to stick to any one certain formula. Korn refuse to rest on its laurels, setting standards for creativity while completely ignoring the rules. While this record may be difficult to digest for those fans who seek a run of the mill, three minute entertainment fix, it reflects the passion of the members of Korn to grow as artists. These guys could have just stuck to the same old routine, but have not, making this record the deepest, most articulate recording the band has delivered to date.

Review by: E.F.

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