Last night was the listening preview of Korn’s new album, Untitled, to be released on July 31.
I went out of morbid curiosity to see if the band, whose heyday has long since passed, could produce an album that might re-establish them as a respectable rock band.
That and the free food.
I’m pleased to say it didn’t suck nearly as much as I thought it was going to.
There was no reinvention here, no dramatic change in sound. They stick with what they’re good at: heavy primal beats combined with growling vocals. The new album is still the same old Korn, just a little more matured.
And they’ve completely ditched any traces of nu-metal. And added just a smidge of electronica.
This album hints at a softer side, but it’s only a hint. Aside from the few times frontman Jonathan Davis does higher, almost gentle vocals, several bits throughout the album feature simple, childlike melodies (I think there was some mandolin in there somewhere, but I could be wrong). Then... boom! A thundering blast of grit and distortion practically assaults the listener, especially on the song Hushabye. I guess it would be unnatural to keep it sweet.
For some reason, no one could find a track listing. However, as luck would have it I was seated next to Shaun, the energetic DJ who had them all memorized somehow. As well as the meaning behind every song and every other Korn tidbit imaginable.
According to him, “Starting Over” is about Davis fighting his personal demons, and “I Will Protect You” (which brought back those bagpipes!) is dedicated to his children, cautioning them not to make the same mistakes he did.
See? More matured.
The drums stand out as phenomenal, thanks to help from Terry Bozzio who stepped in during the brief departure of David Silveria.
Although Head has left the band, his presence is not forgotten. Supposedly “Love & Luxury” is about their strained relationship (Before Head’s book was read, of course. Now they’re cool). This track is one of the more upbeat and choppy tracks, which reminded me ever so slightly of old skool NIN.
We also got to preview the video for the first single “Evolution”, which will be airing on TRL this Tuesday.
The video’s theme is about the de-evolution of man back to monkey, thanks to medicinal advancements (pills pills pills!) and the fact that we like to kill all our natural predators for sport. It’s pretty flashy, you can bet there was a ton of money poured into it.
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There is also some kind of mockumentary going around online about the same issue. Korn will be releasing that as well, so keep an eye out if your interested.
I don’t know if this album will win over any new fans. Putting out an 8th album of pretty much the same stuff can be as much of a risk as a complete reinvention.
For die-hard fans (of which there are many, including the entire Midwest), Untitled is a dream come true: more of what they love, from the band they love. This will guarantee them mainstream success, but only for so long.
The question is: when are we going to get sick of Korn?