Review Summary: On Life Is Peachy, Korn take the sound they established on their self titled debut and push it in a darker and, on occasion, more humorous direction.
No matter how many releases Korn can put out at this point, I think there is something most of us can all agree on: they were much better when they first started out then they are now. Life Is Peachy is one of the final consistent albums they had before they started to go downhill in the years to come. Establishing a sound that many people came to know as nu-metal on their self titled debut, Korn went right back into the studio at Indigo Ranch with Ross Robinson to craft their second album. On this release, they produced more of the same sound, but went in a somewhat darker direction than their first album and some songs on here are even hilarious at some points.
The album opens with the very random and classic “Twist”. Everyone should know this song, it still remains one of the greatest album openers of all time and is 48 seconds of Vocalist Jonathan Davis screaming gibberish over heavy detuned guitar riffs from Munky and Head with David and Fieldy providing that signature (and sometimes annoying) rhythm section Korn were always known for. “Chi” kicks in right after, almost making it seem like the 2 songs are in fact 1 single song. Fieldy’s clicking bass lines are very prominent in the track and the bridge is great, featuring Davis going from his calm and ‘tortured’ vocal style into his relentless screaming that was so good back then.
While some of the songs here are a good dose of anger, others don’t succeed. “Lost” and “Swallow” are both good songs, but they lack replay value once they grow off. Munky and Head might annoy listeners with their random squealing during the verses of songs like “K@#Ø%”, and Fieldy gets extremely annoying after a while when his bass lines keep clicking along. Despite these negatives, some classic old Korn songs can be found on here that are among the best in their career. “Good God” is a classic of sorts, featuring heavy riffs, a great chorus, and a bridge that makes you want to jump around and break ***. “No Place To Hide” is another great song, having a catchy chorus and an overall feel that makes you see why it got a Grammy nomination back in ’98. “Wicked” features Deftones vocalist Chino Moreno providing vocals with Jonathan Davis, and is a fun collaboration that makes a heavy and interesting track to listen to. “Porno Creep” is a standout track, and although it’s not even long, it is a great instrumental and shows the listener that funk element that Korn inject into their music at times.
One major weakness that Korn have is in fact their vocalist, which is not only proven on this album but on the later ones they would release. Jonathan Davis has a very unique voice, and he is great, there is no doubt about that. The thing that weakens the band is his lyrics. You’ll find that almost everything he covers on this album he already covered on the last album, he’s just putting it in different words. While some songs (such as the mysterious and creepy “Mr. Rogers”) come off as excellent tracks, some of them, like “Ass Itch” and “Lost” fail miserably and make you wonder if he has anything else to say. This is also proven on later releases by the band, as the angsty lyrics return again and again. However, this is something that can be ignored on the first 2 albums, as Korn always seemed so capable of playing catchy nu-metal in the past that a lot of us still look back on and enjoy for old time’s sake.
Munky and Head were among the first nu-metal guitarists to down tune their guitars and play heavy power chord riffs, and they laid a foundation for countless other bands under the genre with the first 2 Korn albums. While sometimes you might think they are horrible players because of their random squeals in some of the songs and several heavy power chord riffs without much variation, they show glimpses of their unique style and that they are capable of more than they show off here. Fieldy has his own unique style of bass playing; and although sometimes it works because it’s important that all instruments get their chance to shine, other times it just comes off as very annoying and you want it to go away. David Silveria proves that he was in fact one of the most talented members of the group and is a very consistent drummer. He fits the band perfectly, and he shows off his skill mostly on this album and the self titled debut.
Life Is Peachy shows Korn simply taking the sound they established and pushing it in a darker and more humorous direction. It is one of the better albums that they have released and shows that they were actually capable of making some decent music back when they still had all of their original members and hadn’t recycled all of their material over and over again. Still though, this album doesn’t seem complete. Maybe its because it was rushed, the band themselves have stated that they rushed this one to get back out of tour and therefore some of the material present isn’t exactly the best, but some of it is still good. Maybe Korn will release an album worth listening to again, maybe they won’t, but this record will stand out as one of the better ones among a discography filled with more mediocre records then consistent ones.