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After more than a decade of ferocious music, a mix of grunge, funk and heavy metal, the rock outfit Korn (R flipped backwards) now emerges with their seventh album See You On The Other Side. While the headbangers hail them, the emotional baggage that the band blatantly expresses has got them a cult following.


These guys from Bakersfield, California brought about a surge in alternative metal scene. Kicking off in 1993, Korn, earlier known as LAPD ~ Love And Peace Dude and later on Laughing As People Die, to sound more serious ~ met their now lead singer Jonathan Davis. Davis, who was part of a band called Sex Art, completed the line up which included James ‘Munky’ Shaffer (guitarist), Reginald ‘Fieldy’ Aivizu (bassist), Brian Welch (guitars) and David Silveria (drummer). Their demo CDs got them offers from several companies like Atlantic and RCA.

Musically Speaking:

They signed with Epic/Immortal Records, and released their self-titled debut album in 1994. The track Daddy from this album exposes Davis’s ordeal when he was molested as a kid. The song contains strong emotional breakdowns that the band members describe as one of the most heart-wrenching thing they have ever seen. This song has been performed live just once. Critics predicted nothing they would ever release in the future would come close to this.

Korn went on to prove them wrong. While their second album Life Is Peachy earned a Grammy nomination for the Best Metal performance in the song No Place To Hide, they won a Grammy for the song Freak On A Leash (Best Video) from the album Follow The Leader. This was also their most commercially successful album. The album featured guest artists like Tre Hardson from Pharcyde, vocalists such as Ice Cube and Fred Durst from Limp Bizkit. The band won a second Grammy for Best Metal Performance for their single Here To Stay from the album Untouchables, which was released after Issues. However Untouchables had disappointing sales and they blamed internet piracy as the album leaked out four months before it’s slotted release.

Korn’s cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, a medley of all the three parts, became a concert hit. It was included in their Greatest Hits Volume 1 compilation that followed their sixth album Take A Look In The Mirror. Their seventh album See You On The Other Side has the band collaborating with the pop producers The Matrix and Atticus Ross. Davis’s purging vocals throughout the album brutally attack the pseudo society in tracks like Hypocrites and Politics. There’s Tearjerker that is emotionally loaded but mellow. All the signature Korn elements retained, the album is another step towards their expression of the society. Davis’s claims of never being mainstream might hold true. The album shakes you off your listlessness.

Styles and Lyrics:

The bagpipes you hear on their records are unique to their style; Korn can be rightfully credited for popularising bagpipes in modern rock. Jonathan’s grunts and whines coupled with his scat (nonsense syllables) style of singing create emotionally stimulating heavy-duty music. The band also shows influences of ’70s funk, hip-hop and rap. Their contemporaries include Limp Bizkit and Deftones while the band cites their influences as Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica. The other major element that sets Korn apart from other bands when they started off was the use of seven-string guitar that gave a much lower tonality, thus giving a wider range of chords to execute. They tuned it to a weird ADGCFAD unlike the normal BEADGBE. The percussion on the other hand complemented the guitar with its hammer style technique.

You can read the rest of our feature on Korn in the January 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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