It has come to my attention that no one has had the privilege (he-he) of writing an album review for KoRn's fifth album, Untouchables, released in 2002. Previously, Korn's last album was 1999's disappointing Issues. For a few years, Korn went on a break. Jonathan Davis wrote the soundtrack of the motion picture Queen Of The Damned, and worked with Richard Gibbs on the score for the film. With all this musical collaboration and diversity, you would think that he would bring some new ideas into the studio. Regrettably, he did not. Untouchables has poor lyrics and song structures, not to mention the more laid back then ever drumming. What disappoints me is that despite what all the metal elitists say, Korn's members can actually play well. I remember reading a review of Life Is Peachy on this site, and the reviewer told you to listen out for Head and Munky's playing on Porno Creep. I stand by that. They are skilled guitar players, it's just they don't use their skill to their advantage. Also, David Silveria's drumming on Korn self-titled is incredible, especially on Faget. It is a shame that people overlook their talents, but it is a greater shame that they don't use them very well.
1) Here To Stay
The album begins with a one string riff on Munky's Ibanez K-7, tuned down to a nearly toneless low A. This is the only semi-hard song on the album, by Korn's standards, of course. Although I think that Korn is not a particularly good band, I still love that low, unique killer sound. Criticize me all you want; it is a sheer matter of taste when it comes to the band's sound. Once again, the chorus has lame lyrics, "The heart inside is fading. This sh*t's gone way too far. All this time I've been waiting and oh I cannot grieve anymore." Virtually everything about the song is unappealing, in my opinion. 2.5/5
2) Make Believe
In many poor albums, there are a few great songs. Make Believe is one of those songs. The drum machine in the verses is annoying, and so is Davis's ridiculous singing. However, I think the verses are very atmospherics. Jonathan Davis's truly unique voice makes me very emotional, and his apparent despair in life is actually credible in this song! In the bridge, Jonathan holds notes out with unbelievable quality. I give this song, for its visceral power, 4.5/5. Call me a fanboy.
Oh, metal elitists, go ahead and scoff. The intro to Blame is embarrassingly reminiscent of Here To Stay's intro. The lyrics are as usual arbitrary, and inconsistent. It seems that Jonathan Davis is lo longer capable of expressing a theme, or constant idea. The only thing I like about this song is the guitar riff during the chorus. 2.5/5
4) ollow Life
Synthesizers here we go. This is relatively unexplored territory for Korn, so I give them some credit for that. Hollow Life never really breaks out; it just stays rather mundane. There are some atmospherics moments, but they are short-lived. 3/5
5) Bottled Up Inside
I think of this as a filler. I don't mean that it's short, but I think it is not as high quality as the other songs. I'd be stating the obvious if I said that the lyrics were once again lame. The opening riff that continues into the verses is pretty pathetic. I don't want to overload you with how limited and trite this song, so I won't. 2/5
The only think good about this song is that I could relate to it when I was bullied. In the seventh grade. The video is so similar to Clown's video its actually quite funny. Although the songs are about completely different things, the videos are so alike it just shows you that Korn's production ideas are also running short. Not only has Davis's singing declined, but his incredible gibberish skills demonstrated in Ball Tongue and Seed have flown out the window. In the bridge to Thoughtless, he sounds more like a stroke victim than angry. Why did Korn have to choose one of the worst songs on the album as a single? Do they want to supply the metal snobs with ammo against Korn? 2/5
The opening flange riff on guitar is actually quite cool, but all the other poor elements to this song supercede it. The lyrics in the chorus are, "Been hating all this time before a crowd inside. Been hating all the faces of everything I can find." Yup. Sounds like Korn, alright. I wonder how many songs have the word "hate" in the lyrics? Most of them, probably, as hatred is the only emotion Korn can "explore." After the second chorus, Davis repeats "find" again and again, and I expected this to be the only sort of bridge, but surprisingly something good happens. The song breaks down with very dark guitar riffs and Jonathan's wailing is very depraved, even for Korn's standards. "Is there something wrong with meeeeee" sends a chill down my back. It's nice to know that Korn still has some of the power they had before, found in Korn and Follow the Leader. A poor song, but the bridge makes up for quite a lot. 3.5/5
8) One More Time
Obviously, Korn started to use some new pedals in this album. I do appreciate something different from that Z-flat crunch, even if it is only for a while. This song actually makes me feel happy, unlike most of Korn's anguish-filled songs. The verses are lame, but the chorus is refreshingly pleasant. The bridge is also quite nice. I don't really have any bad things to say about this song, which is nice because I'm writing a pretty harsh review. For some reason, the galloping beat of the chorus makes me think of Kruder Dorfmeister (bizarre, isn't it)? 4/5
9) Alone I Break
If you think that low A is where Korn stops turning their knobs, think again. They cover new ground by tuning it to A flat! Wow. Ok, that was a joke. Korn's attempt at a soft song is not very successful. The flamboyant, operatic chorus is not groundbreaking; just annoying. Hold your horses, though, because after the chorus, there is an absolutely beautiful bridge. It can only be described as ambient, almost Aphex Twin-like. Jonathan Davis sings softly into his H.R. Giger microphone, and despite the bad lyrics, his voice conveys real sadness and feelings other than hatred. It soon hops back into the chorus again. It's a shame that Korn can make such compelling, enticing moments of music, and then jump right back into the nu metal cliches. 3/5
Until about a minute into the song, I cannot make out any of the words. Davis growls, but this is something we know he can do (on Fake, Lies, and Helmet In The Bush). Again, I don't want to waste my time telling you how bad this song is, so I won't bother. I think of this song as a turning point from the bad songs to the terrible songs. 2.5/5
11) Beat It Upright
I can't stand the misogynistic overtones to this song. Jonathan Davis seems like such a sensitive and vulnerable person, so why does he pull crap like this? I once read an interview in the February 2004 edition of Revolver Magazine of Jonathan Davis, and I was disgusted. He was showing off how "sick" he wis with all his women-degrading stuff, how he loves to hunt, and b.s. like that. I think that inside, he is a kind, gentle person, and this is evident through his sweet vulnerability found on Korn and Life Is Peachy. On the outside, he acts like such a misogynistic tough guy now, which I think is just an act, even if it is subconscious. I'm straying away from the subject here. I don't get offended easily, but this song just pisses me right off. 1.5/5
12) Wake Up Hate
This is one of the harder songs on the album. There are some industrial elements found in Wake Up Hate. Nothing to get excited about, though.
"We got a f***ed up reason to live, who really gives a f***? We gonna wake up hate, we gonna f*** you up" is the line in the chorus. There's something about this that I don't find very threatening. Wake Up Hate is a crappy filler track, pure and simple. 2/5
13) I'm Hiding
I'm Hiding is quite similar to Hating, but worse. It only has three musical phrases. The chorus goes, "I'm hiding from the things they say, doing time and led astray. Thinking back to times of yesterday. I could die. I'm trying to find a better way, but I'm trapped away. All I think is awful yesterday, I could die." One of the things about Korn that amuses me is that on their latter albums, most of their lyrics could be written by their 12-year-old fanboys. 2/5
14) No One's There
I think this is an absolutely incredible Korn song. I cannot hide the fact that when I was a 12-year-old fanboy, this way one of my favorite songs of all time. Now, it's probably Reflection, by Tool, or Unfinished Sympathy by Massive, but I had to start somewhere. Jonathan Davis pours his mangled heart and soul into this song, and I become very emotional when I listen to it. The riffs and vocals are dark and haunting, really conveying a theme or image in the song. Most Korn songs are about poor Jonathan Davis, but in this one, I actually picture him inside kind of morbid prison cell. No, not a prison cell, a hole in the ground. I imagine him calling out, cold and ugly, in despair. There are probably some other guys out there who have moved on from this album, but still love the raw emotional content of this song, even if it is badly imitated in other Korn songs. If you want a critical analysis of the lyrics and the technicality of the instrumentation, seek no further. You know, from what I have written so far in this review, that Korn's technical abilities don't shine, but try to look past this. I love this song, just like I love Make Believe, and I give it a 4.5/5.
When I listen to Untouchables, I am riddled with feelings of nostalgia, and sadness. Sadness in that I have realized how bad post Follow The Leader Korn is. However, a few songs still hold that power over me, so that's why I give this album a 2.5/5, instead of a 2/5.
One More Time
No One's There