Review Summary: The album was actually a radical departure for Korn; it experiments with various elements of industrial and nu-metal.
When Korn debuted in 1994, nobody; not even lead singer Johnathan Davis could have predicted this six-piece band from Bakersfield, California to revolutionize metal and rock music and end up creating a new genre, nu-metal. No one could have ever predicted that Freak on a Leash
would have been one of the late 20th century's biggest hits. After KoRn's first five albums, it seemed there wouldn't be much originality or talented music coming from Johnathan Davis's band after Take a Look in the Mirror
failed miserably quite simply because the album was more of the same stuff we heard in Untouchables
. Once the disappointment with Take a Look in the Mirror
died off and their lead guitarist left the band for a 'higher' calling, the hype for See You on the Other Side
quickly gained, but the album quickly ended up becoming another boring, recycled trash-heap of their last few albums. It seemed as if everyone's favorite nu-metal band was doomed; they had run out of originality.
But this all quickly changed when Johnathan Davis proclaimed the album would be much more 'atmospheric' and 'explore the outer reaches of our sound'; and Evolution
was released to the public. Evolution
was not all that radical of a departure for Korn; it was a bit more atmospheric, but not as different and it didn't explore the 'outer reaches of our sound' like Davis had proclaimed. But when the album dropped, Korn quickly proved they were right and all the doubters were wrong. Let's settle this now; this album is easily the best mainstream release of 2007, and easily Korn's best album. The album is much different than their previous releases, it sounds heavily influenced by industrial; as the guitars are much different than Korn has ever featured and the album is much more atmospheric than any of Korn's prior releases. But not only this, the album flows well as a whole and there's not a single bad song on the album. The album manages to be varied, and is just very enjoyable all the way around.
Kicking off with a short introduction which sounds like noises recorded at a circus, the album gives you false ideas to what this album is all about; but it quickly picks up into Starting Over
which starts out with some heavily-industrial influenced guitar riffs as well as Johnathan Davis alternating his voice from a whisper to a loud scream. The song picks up quickly and the trademark loud bass is as present as ever. Bitch, We Got a Problem
clocks in third on the album and sounds a lot like a Nine Inch Nails song. This isn't just because I'm a huge Nine Inch Nails fan; it sounds a lot like something Trent Reznor would put out. The guitars create a bleak back atmosphere that features a piano, eerily reminiscent of The Fragile
-era Nine Inch Nails. The song quickly changes tempos and rhythms before it goes into a traditional Korn bridge before going back into the chorus. After giving you a taste of the new sound Korn is exploring, this untitled album takes an unexpected turn back into familiar territory for Korn; as the next two songs aren't that different from previous Korn. Evolution
isn't the most powerful song on the album, but still is just as good as it was when it was first released; and still holds its own. The beginning sounds like a typical Korn song, and the chorus sounds like Follow the Leader
-era Korn classic. The song has a bit more of a background and depth to it than a Follow the Leader
hit; and at the end, the song goes into a traditional Korn change of pace, where Johnathan Davis starts screaming randomly before it goes back into the ever-catchy chorus. The album flies right into Hold On
which starts out with the traditional guitar work the band is known for and goes into a catchy chorus that heavy on the bass. Johnathan Davis's vocals are as strong as ever, as his lyrics are a lot like his lyrics from their debut album in this song.
And now here's where the album takes a radical change. Kiss
is another heavily-industrial influenced song that starts out relatively quiet with not much more than a guitar. Johnathan Davis comes in singing and a violin adds to the solemn feel of the song. The song slowly builds up; and is one of Korn's slowest and heart-felt songs. The lyrics are as deep and heartfelt as Davis has ever pleaded, and the song is about as epic as Korn has ever been. The song just continues this pattern until we go into Do What They Say
comes in all guns blazing. The song is immediately a louder song than Kiss
but doesn't let the album down. Another heavily industrial-influenced song, it sounds a lot like Nine Inch Nails The Fragile
yet again. The keyboard/synthesizer noises that Trent Reznor takes control of are eerily alike to any song off of The Fragile
. The song quickly flows into its own with the melodic and catchy chorus which flows nicely into Ever Be
which is just as catchy and melodic as the album gets while still keeping that bleak atmosphere the album is abundant with.
Now here's where the album gets experimental; Love and Luxury
opens up with a strange vocal effect where Johnathan Davis laughs; but it flies right into the guitar-rhythm led verses. The song's keyboards and synthesizers slowly build in the back of the verses until they explode into the uncharacteristic-of-Korn choruses where it feels as if the song is flowing in a jet-stream. The song feels about as poppy as nu-metal can get, and is probably the only song Korn makes that makes me feel happy. Innocent Bystander
cranks into gear pretty easily with another guitar-led rhythm but a lot louder. The chorus is surprisingly random and spontaneous but manages to capture the feel of the song very well. But what keeps the song flowing is the guitar rhythm which keeps the verses and parts of the chorus going. Killing
is heavy on the bass and guitar, but features plenty of keyboard squiggles and synthesizers. The song is easily this album's most angst-filled song; but it actually comes off as being kind of filler until the bridge in the middle where it all goes silent and it picks back up until it flows into Hushabye
which starts out really quiet and Johnathan Davis sings in falsetto before it explodes into a ferocious chorus line that is led by the guitars and yet another great rhythm. The song teeters back and forth between quiet and loud before the album's most amazing song I Will Protect You
takes over for Hushabye
I Will Protect You
is a summary of Korn's career in retrospective. Starting out with random noises, the song quickly picks up into Davis whispering in front of a xylophone and some random guitar twinges. The song's pre-chorus is loud and starts and stops before it picks up into a heavily atmospheric chorus which takes advantage of all their instruments. The song is surprisingly catchy and Davis' bleeds his heart in a hard rock 'ballad'. The song's ability to flow so nicely from a slow ballad to a traditional Korn rocker is impeccable and ends up forming Korn's best song; easily.
Its highly unusual for a band to create their masterpiece, defining record so late in their career; but that's exactly was Korn has done. Even though their trademark guitarist is no longer present, Korn has truly taken a step towards excellence with their Untitled
album. The album still has its roots stuck in nu-metal, but dabs around with industrial and experiments with the keyboards and synthesizers. The album is heavily industrial and nu-metal though; so if you don't like either of those, chances are you won't enjoy this album. But, Johnathan Davis' vocals are as matured in this album as ever, and Munky's guitar work in this album is simply astonishing when you consider that he's never really played this type of music before. All in all, its an astonishingly shocking record that has became one of 2007's best releases; hands down.
Love and Luxury
I Will Protect You