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Korn Ranked

The other day while browsing, I came across a post mentioning that rKorn rwould be releasing a rr20th anniversary guitar model to celebrate the release of rtheir rlandmark first album... Coming to the weird rrrealization that one of the first bands rthat rintroduced me to heavier music was turning 20, I decided to give rrtheir discography ra full rlisten through and give credit where credit was due to the pioneers of nu-metal
The Path of Totality

By far the weak link of the band's career, TPoT finds the band in a midlife crisis of sorts. Unable to
bring back as many "old-school fans" as originally intended with Korn III's return to roots approach,
the band desperately tries to stay relevant by tacking on pop-dubstep influences in all of the wrong
places. There's nothing wrong with experimenting with new sounds, but when it comes across as a
deliberate cash grab on a current trend and completely disregards the qualities of the band that
made them interesting in the first place (I.e. Abstract low-end riffs, funk-metal drumming, etc), it
leads to a failure of a record
See You on the Other Side

Ironically, one of the first albums that exposed me to Korn is one of their worst. Their first album
without founding member Brian "Head" Welch and also their first with outside songwriters, the band
took a much more pop-infused direction on this record, with squeaky-clean industrial sounds and
lyrics about partying, relationships, and... *cough*GETTING OFF*cough* being included. Packed to
the brim with filler, the only true standout tracks are the three singles Coming Undone, Twisted
Transistor, and Politics
Korn III: Remember Who You Are

When this album first came out, it was naturally compared to the band's seminal first two records.
Everything from the raw Ross Robinson production quality, to the album cover's not-so-subtle
reference to the the cover of their 1994 debut, it was an undeniable attempt to recapture the band's
glory days... Yet the band returning to their roots did not guarantee a return to quality, because
while the instrumentals sounded like they were straight from 1996, Jonathan Davis sounded just like
one would expect: A man in his 40s unable to recapture the same energy he had in his mid 20s
Take a Look in the Mirror

The last album with Brian "Head" Welch on guitar before his 2005 departure, Korn's 2003 effort
features many songs that were written during the band's early years. Yet the album's weakness lies
in it's production. A self-produced effort, many of these thirteen songs could've been removed for
sounding too much alike or just feeling unfinished/rushed in general. Like Korn III that would come
7 years later, the record has the heavy sound of Korn's first few records, but lacks a sense of
direction and energy

Often considered the black sheep of Korn's discography, Untitled was written as a trio, ditching The
Matrix production team that helped write SYOTOS halfway through this album's production stages. It
certainly is an experiment for the band with its pianos and acoustic guitars galore, but where the
experimentation failed on TPoT, it slightly succeeds here because it finds a way to link the new
and the old.
The Paradigm Shift

With one of the worst lead singles from an album in recent memory (the juvenile "Never Never"),
TPS actually saw a somewhat convincing return to form for Korn. Brian "Head" Welch returned to his
rightful place next to James "Munky" Shaffer in the band on guitar, and the chemistry between them
shows what has really been lacking from the band in recent times. However, what prevents this from
being a great record is again Jonathan Davis's lyrics and the inclusion of Fisher
Price quality synth sounds that rarely work

The first album that didn't go multi-platinum for the band, Korn's 5th studio album found the band
moving further away from the genre they helped create with decent results. The electronics the
would include in later years act as an unassuming backdrop to the chaotic A-tuned cacophony, and
tracks like Here to Stay and Thoughtless are now staples of the band's catalog. It's too bad though
that songs like Beat it Upright exist on here, as they drag the record down drastically.
Follow the Leader

The album that led to a Korn's rise to fame still stands as one of their best records. They managed
to take the aggression from the first two albums and add just the right amount of polish and
catchiness to it, creating classic tracks such as Freak on a Leash, It's On and Got the Life. However,
this album's weakness lies in the fact that it hasn't aged all too well, with the three rap guest tracks
acting as an unfortunate time stamp of the Family Values era of music

Being released one year after the breakthrough of FTL, Issues does right where FTL did wrong,
removing nearly all of the hip-hop influence and focusing on just writing a cohesive collection of
killer tracks like Falling Away From Me and Somebody Someone. If there's one downfall of this
record, it's that the interlude tracks could've been more thought-out, as some of them come across
as awkward intermissions
Life is Peachy

The band's second album stands close beside their debut as a pinnacle of the Nu-metal genre. Ross
Robinson's "one take is all you need" style of production works fantastically here, as the whole
album feels like a live performance with it's non-stop energy. This is the last album where Jonathan
Davis's vocal performance truly captures the content of his lyrics. The themes of abuse he
addresses, while bluntly written, feel real and undeniably disturbing

There should be no surprises for anyone that this is at number 1. Korn's 1994 debut isn't a perfect
record, But it's damn near close. From Blind's famous question of "Are you ready?" To the unsettling
account of child abuse in album closer Daddy, it's as honest and intense as Korn ever got. Many
bands have tried to capture the all-out fury with this album's barbaric A-tuned assault and simple-
but-effective rhythms, but none of them have come close. Korn may have turned into somewhat of
a running joke in recent years with the scattered quality of their albums, but their self-titled record's
influence and quality is something that should not be ignored
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