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Rock - Released September 13, 2019 | Roadrunner Records

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With 25 years of experience and 12 albums under their belt since the release of the eponymous Korn in 1994, what can we expect from the famous band from Bakersfield in 2019? Rightly considered as pioneers of neo-Metal, Korn has experienced many ups and downs. Following a decade at the top of the charts, when their iconic guitarist Brian “Head” Welch left the group it became more experimental, dabbling in pop and dubstep (like The Path of Totality) which left many fans feeling a little bewildered. But Head’s return in 2013 undoubtedly gave the band a new lease of life as they returned to their more conventional style of music. And if the two albums that followed were a sign that they had returned to their high standards, The Nothing goes one step further. From the very first note of the bagpipes in The End Begins, it’s clear that Korn is well and truly back in the game. The album is dedicated to tradition as all the group’s characteristics can be heard throughout the album, (the scat in Cold that is reminiscent of Twist, the sound of the guitar in The Darkness is Revealing, the chorus of “disco” drums in Idiosyncrasy and so on). But The Nothing itself is not immune from trying new things and includes the track Finally Free which has hints of trip-hop as well as the particularly manic H@rd3r, which is a something a bit different altogether. And even if the band hasn’t reinvented itself in this particular album, their knack for riffs and catchy choruses, the manic performances by Jonathan Davis (and the very talented Ray Luzier on drums), combined with a solid production team and just the right amount of experimentation makes The Nothing the go-to album for this ‘third-generation’ Korn. There’s no doubt about it, Korn is still on top form! © Théo Roumier/Qobuz
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Metal - Released August 18, 1998 | Immortal - Epic

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Metal - Released November 9, 1999 | Epic - Immortal

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Released in the fall of 1999, when Korn were in danger of being overshadowed by such protégés as Limp Bizkit, Issues reaffirms the group's status as alt-metal leaders, illustrating that the true difference between Korn and their imitators is their mastery of sound. Korn are about nothing if not sound. Sure, Jonathan Davis doesn't merely toss off lyrics, but in the end, it doesn't matter since his voice and the various words that float to the surface simply enhance the mood. Similarly, the band doesn't really have any distinguished riffs or hooks -- everything each member contributes adds to the overall sound -- so, casual listeners can be forgiven if they think the songs sound the same, since not only do the tracks bleed into one other, the individual songs have no discernible high points. Each cut rises from the same dark sonic murk, occasionally surging forward with volume, power, and aggression. It's mood music -- songs don't matter, but the foreboding feeling and gloomy sounds do. To a certain extent, this has always been true of Korn albums, but it's particularly striking on Issues because they pull off a nifty trick of stripping their sound back to its bare essentials and expanding and rebuilding from that. They've decided to leave rap-metal to the likes of Limp Bizkit, since there is very little rapping or appropriation of hip-hop culture anywhere on Issues. By doing this, they have re-emphasized their skill as a band, and how they can find endless, often intriguing, variations on their core sound. Issues may not be the cathartic blast of anger their debut was, nor is it as adventurous as Follow the Leader, but it better showcases the sheer raw power of the band than either. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Metal - Released May 10, 2011 | Epic - Legacy

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Metal - Released October 4, 2004 | Epic - Immortal

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Metal - Released October 11, 1994 | Immortal - Epic

With little publicity, radio play, or MTV exposure, Korn took their eponymous 1994 debut to platinum status. Like all unexpected successes, it's easier to understand its popularity in retrospect. Although they disdain the "metal" label, there's no question that Korn are among the vanguard of post-grunge alt-metal outfits. Borrowing from Jane's Addiction, Rage Against the Machine, Pantera, Helmet, Faith No More, Anthrax, Public Enemy, and N.W.A, Korn developed a testosterone-fueled, ultra-aggressive metal-rap hybrid. They're relentless, both in their musical attack and in lead singer Jonathan Davis' bleak, violent lyrics. Tales of abuse and alienation run rampant throughout the record. It's often disturbing and, to some ears, even offensive, but their music can have a cathartic effect that makes up for their vulgarity and questionable lapses in taste. It's a powerful sound and one that actually builds on the funk-metal innovations of the late '80s/early '90s instead of merely replicating them. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Metal - Released October 15, 1996 | Immortal - Epic

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With their second album, Life Is Peachy, Korn have enhanced their metallic influences, delving deeper into murky sonic textures and grinding, menacing rhythms straight out of underground black metal. Korn add enough elements of alternative rock song structure to make the music accessible to the masses, and their songwriting has continued to improve. Nevertheless, the band's main strength is their raging, visceral sound, which is far more memorable and effective than their songs. The riffs might not always catch hold, but the primal guitars and vocals always hit home. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Metal - Released November 21, 2003 | Epic - Immortal

Just short of a decade into their incredibly successful and influential career, Korn went into Take a Look in the Mirror publicly stating their hopes to record a fresh-sounding album, a seemingly simple task that they somewhat ended up accomplishing. They needed a fresh album -- one that differed from their past couple, the similar-sounding Issues (1999) and Untouchables (2001), yet at the same time wouldn't alienate their notoriously fickle nu-metal fan base. Issues and Untouchables had been fine albums, but Korn definitely needed a change -- if they wanted to remain relevant, that is. There's a lot of turnover in the metal world because there's always the next big thing (whether it's thrash, grindcore, alt-metal, rap-metal, or whatever), and the rare bands that do last (like, say, Tool) do so because they keep changing and therefore retain the curiousity of their perpetually aging (and thus perpetually dwindling) fan base while at the same time drawing in new generations of listeners. It's a tricky business, really -- you need to keep changing yet still maintain your essence. And Korn does that very well on Take a Look in the Mirror, where they deftly consolidate their past strengths and self-produce a succinct album that sounds like trademark Korn -- yet purposefully doesn't sound like any Korn album to date. It's a little paradoxical, but that's precisely what makes Take a Look in the Mirror so interesting, especially for longtime fans. Particular songs draw from past Korn albums -- whether it's the ultramelodic Issues/Untouchables style of "Alive," the overt rap-metal Follow the Leader style of "Play Me," the covert rap-metal Life Is Peachy style of "Y'all Want a Single," or the seeing-red berserk Korn style of "Break Some Off" -- while a few highlights ("Right Now," "Counting on Me," "Did My Time") break into exciting new territory. And perhaps most importantly, Korn keeps Take a Look in the Mirror brief: a baker's dozen in 45 minutes if you don't count the hidden bonus track (their ADD-paced live version of "One" from MTV's Metallica comeback special). Because of the emphasis on brevity and variety (and especially quality), the album's over before you know it and you're left feeling hungry for more Korn. ~ Jason Birchmeier
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Metal - Released June 20, 2002 | Epic

After a three-year break that included solo projects and soundtrack work, Korn's re-emergence in the summer of 2002 was met with great anticipation. They delivered Untouchables, an album that shows them building on their previous sound and emphasizing its strengths. The use of melody is more important than ever, allowing Jonathan Davis to utilize his wide palette of vocal tricks. His charismatic voice can now move from a clear-throated wail to a death metal growl with ease, lending the album a manic side that brings to mind King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime-era Faith No More. The only problem with Davis is his lyrics, which tend to fall into the "am I going crazy" trap that many of Korn's contemporaries perpetuate. This is a shame, because here he often avoids the social issues that he confronted on the first few releases. The band is far more experimental this time out, delivering Helmet-like ringing guitars that melt and morph into each other, a mix of Metallica-esque blastbeats and tight funk drumming from the constantly improving David Silveria, and memorable riffs that take the shape of dark sound structures and offer more than just a collection of chords. In fact, it is the last point where the album sets itself apart from most nu-metal offerings; Korn understand that the overall sound of hip-hop works because of the sonic stew that producers create through samples. The band does the same with instruments, cutting the chugging riffs of the past and replacing them with edgy soundscapes that are equally as menacing. There isn't even a rapped verse here, save for Davis' rhythmic scatting at moments, further distancing the band from the scene it helped create. But by cutting away some of the fat and finding new ways to deliver their trademark roar, Korn manage to offer a strong and lean album that maintains their place as innovators in a genre with few leaders. ~ Bradley Torreano
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Rock - Released October 21, 2016 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released December 6, 2005 | Korn

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Dance - Released November 30, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

Korn remembered who they were just in time to forget it all again on The Path of Totality, an unexpected left turn into dubstep and all manner of dark electronica from the kings of nu metal. Unexpected this move may be, but not unnatural. Korn always emphasized texture over riffs, so shifting from a gray guitar grind toward claustrophobic electronic collage doesn’t induce shock, apart from the shock that the album actually works. Korn’s cast of collaborators -- notably the Grammy-nominated Skrillex, but also Noisia, Excision, Feed Me, and 12th Planet -- does not redefine the band’s character but rather reinterpret it, retaining the same tempos, the same creeping minor-key melodies and riffs, the same sense of enveloping angst that have been present since their 1994 debut. The difference of arrangement -- heavy on skittish drums and electro walls of assault -- has the curious effect of making Korn seem not adventurous but rather mature: the content of Jonathan Davis’ rants matter less than his tone, and the producers have folded his vocals, along with Munky’s buzzing guitar, into a web that feels like Korn even if it doesn’t strictly sound like any other Korn album, not even the industrial-funk of See You on the Other Side. Despite all the electronics, there’s no mistaking The Path of Totality as a Korn album...and one of their better ones to boot. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Rock - Released October 21, 2016 | Roadrunner Records

Surviving a shaky decade that produced a couple decent albums and few identity crises, Korn bring it back to basics on their 12th full-length, The Serenity of Suffering. It's both a reminder that Korn are the masters of this particular universe and also fiercely dedicated to its fans. Inasmuch as the Korn faithful are capable of fuzzy feelings, Serenity delivers goose bumps for those who have stuck with the band since the '90s. Diehards will notice that Jonathan Davis and the gang have brought things back to the Issues/Untouchables era -- especially on "Take Me" and "Everything Falls Apart" -- when Korn perfected the combination of nu-metal brutality, desperate vulnerability, and spook show creepiness (in fact, the Issues doll -- now wrapped in stitched-up skin with exposed ribs -- makes a prominent appearance on Serenity's album art). Without pandering to career-peak nostalgia, Korn deftly execute all the hallmarks that have come to define their sound. Davis' vocals are the best they've been in years, bringing back his feverish scatting on the apocalyptic "Rotting in Vain" and unleashing intensely visceral bellows on the bloodletting "The Hating" (his bagpipes, however, are unfortunately absent). Head and Munky's renewed guitar partnership also has its groove back, amplifying the disturbing atmospherics with unnerving effects and familiar riffs. Underneath it all, Fieldy, Ray Luzier and DJ C-Minus maintain that propulsive and elastic whiplash assault, like on the scratched-up "Next in Line" and "Black Is the Soul," which lurches through a minefield of percussion and dissonance. Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) makes a marquee cameo on "A Different World," providing a brutal hardcore foil to Davis' damaged wail. Adding Taylor's fury over Korn's bludgeoning backdrop is as dangerous and unhinged as genre fans could imagine. Produced by Nick Raskulinecz (Marilyn Manson, Deftones, Evanescence), The Serenity of Suffering is a welcome return to a time when Korn were at the top of their game. It's one of their best albums, almost heart-warming in its cathartic familiarity. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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Metal - Released July 31, 2007 | Korn

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Metal - Released April 28, 2006 | Epic - Immortal

Usually a live and rare compilation can have a few underlying possibilities for motive: a quick and amicable contractual fulfillment before label and band part ways, a stopgap to release something new for fans in between albums, or a simple compilation to appease a die-hard fan base with cult-like tendencies. Hedging bets, this Korn compilation serves two of those three purposes right off the bat. It's been a while since the group offered something new, and to appease the loyalists who would very well purchase a disc of Jonathan Davis bagpiping English football anthems, Korn had the good sense to compile a disc that's one-half a live recording of their greatest hits and one-half an assortment of rare stuff and cover songs. Recorded in 2003 at CBGB's, Live and Rare is exactly what you'd expect from the band, and for fanatics that's a wonderful thing. But this could also easily serve as a catch-up guide for those who never really were into Korn, but need a place to hear some of their most well-known anthems. Covers of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall, Pts, 1, 2, 3," Metallica's "One," and a hysterical take on "Earache My Eye" round things up and find the band having fun performing covers, much like Metallica's now legendary Garage sessions. Collectors might already have all of this stuff scattered over several discs, but having them remastered and all in one place makes this an attractive disc to add to the collection. It should properly pacify rabid fans until the next full-length comes around, or until that disc of bagpipe anthems finally hits the stores. ~ Rob Theakston
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Rock - Released June 26, 2019 | Roadrunner Records

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Rock - Released August 2, 2019 | Roadrunner Records

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Dance - Released November 21, 2011 | Roadrunner Records

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Metal - Released November 16, 2004 | Epic - Legacy

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Rock - Released July 9, 2010 | Roadrunner Records

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Korn in the magazine
  • Korn: chapter 13
    Korn: chapter 13 With "The Nothing", the kings of nu-metal are back with an album which remains true to the band's beginnings.