Korn have been one of the most influential bands upon the Nu-metal genre. Originating back in the early 90’s, they eventually kicked into the mainstream in 1994 with the release of ‘Korn’, and created them to be one of the most iconic bands in hard-rock history, combing a refreshing detuned sound ontop with some aggressive lyrics and killer tunes - amongst the Grunge scene emerged a new era of music that reeked with potential, and Korn were urging to get out there to make everyone witness the revolution.
Three albums later, and Korn have hit it big time - sell out tours, highly rated albums and reoccurring successions in sales, Korn have embarked themselves as one of the most popular bands of the 90’s. So with their fourth album, Issues, they had a lot of hype to live up to, and expectations were increasingly high. Eventually, Issues was released in 1999, surprising fans and non-fans alike with its death-orientated theme and darker atmosphere. Lyrically, it was far sinister, and the effects that the guitars tend to use creating an unsettling mood. Although I personally didn’t like the album at first due to its generic structure pattern and riffs, it eventually grew on me - this is an experimental album, and Korn have achieved success in every aspect.
1. Dead - The opening track instantly sets the theme of the album. Although not being a proper song, its murky and unsettling vibe combined with unsettling lyrics and a synthetic happy mood shows that Korn have changed. Gone are the days of their element of rap, this is the real deal, and the self explanatory ‘Dead’ suggests that - embrace it. It can’t achieve a rating due to it not being a proper song.
2. Falling Away From Me - The album kicks off with an excellent, recognisable riff - it is certainly high on the mosh-o-meter, and shows what Korn are all about; kicking some serious ass. Jonathan’s voice is now far more desperate than ever, wailing out every word in extreme pain. You can also relate yourself to the lyrics, and it just derives in power emotionally. Excellent guitar playing, too. Superb. 9/10
3. Trash - A highly disturbing song. It instantly kicks in, and then quietens down, only to give you access to hear Jonathan’s whispering voice with the other instruments playing subtly. Again, the ’playdoll’ guitar effect is used relevantly here to create an eerie mood, and is executed exceptionally. The bridge then lets you encounter Johnny screaming in sheer agony - its so powerful and so well perceived - it just wants to make any listener explode out their seat. I contained myself, however. Another excellent track. 9/10
4. 4 U - An interlude that seems to soothe the soul of dead - all this chaos has completely vanished, and all is left are the synthesizers used to create a soft and disturbingly negative atmosphere - it seems that Jonathan is building up his anger; this song is where he is lost, and all is left that he’ll do anything ‘4 U’ as feels enslaved. Clever, and an interesting interlude.
5. Beg For Me - A highlight of the album. Munky’s effects in the song obtain a technical, computerised aura, and the baseline is uses a lot of challenging chord alternations that indicates the band are pushing themselves to their full potential. A sinister and lyrically accomplished song again, with a catchy anthem-like chorus and funky verse, this is a breath of fresh air. 9.5/10
6. Make Me Bad - One of the singles released for the album, its obvious why they chose this. Its amazing. The lyrics are really well crafted, and the content is a transverse of feelings - so he’s wants to be bad in spite of this. So brilliantly composed, so brilliantly written, so brilliantly sung. 9.5/10
7. It’s Gonna Go Away - A bit of an annoying interlude, but an aggressive one nothenless, you hear Jonathan squealing for mercy for about forty seconds. Its okay, but is a track that will not consume a great deal of attention. And then….
8. Wake Up - The absolute best on the album. It explodes with such enigmatic charisma, and you get the image of everyone going totally crazy. Its chaos. Its wild. Its so damn good. The chaos then dies down in an entrance to the verse, and a dreamy-like aura surrounds the room, and you know that it won’t sustain its quietness for much longer. Then, in a outburst of sheer tension, the heaviness strikes back, and the continuous tagline ’Wake the f**k up!’ is witnessed again. Although it contains a generic structure pattern, the complementation of excellent lyrics and sublime use of instruments dwarfs this minor niggle. In a word (however a little contradictory) flawless. 10/10
9. Am I Going Crazy? - Again, another interlude, this is a twisted version of the upcoming song ’Hey Daddy.’ Pointless it may be, but it seems to psych up the listener to embrace the next song. And after continuous listens, it will start to make you feel a little crazy, directly linking to the track‘s content. Woo.
10. Hey Daddy - Sadly, this track is mildly average. The vocals included within the chorus sounds washed out, and the distortion is terrible. However the riff is catchy, and the verses are still shining with that usual Korn quality. Skip the chorus though. 6/10
11. Somebody Someone - Finally, something different. Rougher, darker and heavier, this certainly separates itself from the rest of the songs involved within the project. And due to its length and unique structure, Somebody Someone most definitely cements itself to epic status. You can feel the pain, and the heavier mood reflects that in the utmost. Another album highlight. 9.5/10
12. No Way - I never really connected with this song, and its a little bland, however the baseline is pretty interesting. But it’s the style and theme of the song is just so ’everyday’ it just bored me. Predictable and lifeless, despite its accessibility. 6/10.
13. Let’s Get This Party Started - This one is a real grower. It changes pretty drastically, starting off as being pretty light (yet mildly funky), and then the chorus is provided with a insane Fieldy slapping his bass frantically and the rest playing just as heavily with Jonathan screaming his total ass off. The distortion effect used on the vocals were a little off-putting initially, but it eventually thrives itself into a exhilarating experience. Another great track. 8/10
14. Wish You Could Be Me - The final interlude of the album, with an upbeat, comical feel to it, however the lyrics are just so overused in the way of what the whole album’s concept is about. The rhyming is also poorly thought out and it just seems desperate, but certainly not the way I liked it.
15. Counting - Another really, really good track. The riff is simple yet very effective, and the way all the instruments kick in creates a huge impact in terms of emotions - it really hits you. Everything is again beautifully composed and crafted, and the highlight of the song is where the bridge contains a jazzy element to it. Its amazing how this album is just not getting stale, despite the repetitive themes. 9/10
16. Dirty - A fitting end to an incredible piece of work. Although the bridge is a little overly distorted, the whole feeling the song conceives is mesmerising. The heaviness represents the dirtiness, and the clean sound is where he is trying to reveal his cleanliness. The way the song ends builds up to an incredible climax aswell, just leaving you to hear Jonathan’s voice on his own, leading into static. Breathtaking. 9/10
And there you have it, one of the finest Korn albums ever made, one of the finest albums found in the Nu-Metal era and one of the finest albums in this generation. Sadly, Korn have now gone too old-school for their own good, lacking any innovation whatsoever, so to listen to this album will give you a sense of nostalgia and you make you remember what Korn once were all about. An absolutely essential purchase. Get it now if a fan of any style of metal.