Review Summary: God save the queen.
Experimentation is something that has perplexed me since I first found out what music was. KoRn is no exception. Every artist explores new territory at one point or another, if nothing more than a single song in a single album. Experimentation is everywhere, and no artist goes down without a fight to say the least. KoRn being one in a mass cauldron of artists (if you want to call them that) took an entire album, and dedicated it to some kind of changeup in the musical style. Their third album Follow the Leader was their first real experimental album, and was to become one of the highest ranking albums of nu-metal society. But after a relative downfall in the bands streak of popularity with "Issues", the band started to go outside their comfort-zone in Untouchables. Many bands have tried, and sometimes failed. I believe that Untouchables couldn’t have fallen any closer to the fine line between awful, and acceptable in terms of how the album is.
When Follow the Leader was released, everything was well organized into perfect composure. The entire album was set up in a load of excitement so to speak, and the album finished off with some of the most popular songs to ever be seen. But it's unfortunate that I can’t say the same for this Matrix-ridden desert called Untouchables. This album is convoluted in every way, and is damn near impossible to give a 100% accurate description of what I feel about it, without outdoing everything I say. Untouchables is an album that fails to remain consistent and hold high. Without saying too much the album tends to, in a lot of areas, unveil a lot of areas KoRn never really expressed before. The electronic influenced sound provided by the matrix do somewhat justice for the songs, but wherever the times are that the songs get perfect, well, that just doesn’t exist. Untouchables also provides recycled content we've seen countless times but also abandons the "desperate" side of Jon Davis.
On the subject of recycled content comes the instrumentation as well. Although the Matrix is influencing a lot of this album, some of the content remains uninspired. It has shown up several thousand times to the listener that the beginning riff for "Here to Stay" and "Blame" are the exact same. The Matrix's influence in "Make Believe" are absolutely horrid. The intro and the chorus are about the only things that really make the song worth any credit whatsoever. However, the vocals are still substantial, especially in songs like "Here to Stay" and "Blame", aside from how absurd the actual lyrics are. At least the harmonies are still present. "Hollow Life" is one of the best songs on the album considering it has the most meaningful lyrics, and some of the best instrumentation. The instruments aren’t recycled; the Matrix has good points in the track, and is a great melody all the way through.
Other songs on the album fail to do exactly what they were intended to do, and it is for that purpose only that the song receives its negative criticism. "Thoughtless" is the perfect example of this. the track is probably the most recycled version of anything the band has done before on this album. The track itself though, supposedly coming off as this walk down memory lane to Jonathan's tortured past, is nothing more than a rant and screamo compared to classic songs like "Faget" or "Clown" from their debut. "Hating" is another good example, considering the lyrics are completely recycled, not only from the bands previous discography, but from the song itself. If the word "hating" is used one more time in that song, it will be too soon. I realize that the emotion is the only one the band seems to be able to express, but there is fine line between overdoing it, and just plain upsetting the audience.
A few of the songs also outdo everything KoRn has ever intended to do. "Beat it Upright" is one of my personal favorites. Though the song is amazingly catchy and has got some pretty decent riffs, the lyrics in the song are as if Jon lost a bet. The lyrics are absolutely irrational. From previous albums, its well known that the band has a very vulnerable side to them, and that they clearly had tortured pasts, but to come back in this (bad-ass) theme like this track is completely illogical. "I'm Hiding" is completely generic and worth every effort to skip, and frankly, "Wake Up Hate" is the same because it’s plain and simply preposterous lyrically. "No One's There" is probably the best example of KoRn's old and expired formula that actually outdid some other songs. In sense, the song still goes on about the depressing "get away" feeling expressed in many previous songs, but is still justified with good non-recycled instrumentation.
In conclusion, Untouchables is an album that in all senses, only a not-so-hardcore fan of KoRn will enjoy. Knowing about previous albums will only ruin this convoluted experience for true fans of the band, and it is best to just skip over this album. Unless your tolerance for recycled stuff simply goes unnoticed, or perhaps you have low-standards for music, than this album will come off as horrid without a doubt.