Korn On The Cob

Garbled grunts and strange arrangements make this one to avoid.

They’re said to have initiated the whole "nu-metal" movement with their non-mainstream sounds (which incidentally sound a lot like traditional heavy metal) - but I can’t believe Black Sabbath or ACDC didn’t influence their rhythm. Or lack of it!

Just when they started to drown in the very sound they popularized, Korn resurrected themselves with "Untouchables". With a jacket that appropriately signals their tunes, and, more precisely, their ghosts, "Untouchables" is a reminder of what the band used to be like in their halcyon days.

The music is characterized by a choral carnage, with guitars and drums played to the last splinter and vocals strained to a screech. This, however, swerves sharply away from what used to be appendages of the same musical machinery to an identifiable difference in song structure. Almost intent to deny repetitiveness, they’ve employed synthesizers to hollow, then amplify, parts of songs, while Jonathan Davis’ vocals have experimented with a range of vocal gymnastics, from feeble undertones to furious barks. Unfortunately for him, it all comes out as strangled yells from an affected adolescent.

Unlike the music of Toxicity, this music isn’t interrupted by surprising silences, but the songs are always inaugurated by uncharacteristic introductions. The theme here is all things dark and ugly, but apart from the names of some of the fourteen tracks on the cover, and the rage of their rock, you would never guess that "Hollow Life", "Hating", "I’m Hiding", "Wake Up Hate" and a couple of other delinquent titles personify Korn’s angst.

"One More Time", "Wake up Hate" and "No One’s There" are some of the A-listers. With unexpectedly good musical phrases, they make for some very industrious head-banging.

This article was first published on 02 Oct 2002.