Follow The Leader


Immortal / Epic Records, 1998

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Prior to receiving an advance copy of Korn's latest release Follow The Leader, I had never heard the band before. (Yes, 'tis a sheltered life I lead.) All I knew about the band were the rather nasty posts I've read about them in some of the metal newsgroups, calling them "poseurs" and other rather unflattering names.

Four words: shut the fuck up. Follow The Leader proves that music can be fun to listen to, and you can hear the joy in the irreverent performances and attitudes that make up this disc.

After the twelve tracks of nothing but silence (each one lasting five seconds), Korn - vocalist Jonathan Davis, guitarists James "Munky" Shaffer and Brian "Head" Welch, bassist Fieldy and drummer David - kick out the jams in an unbelievable fashion with "It's On!" For almost the remainder of the album, Korn refuses to let up, and keeps the listener interested in each new chapter that unfolds.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Davis might not be the greatest singer in the world, but his unique style of vocals seems to blend right in with the style of music that Korn plays. If you had to describe it, punk-meets-metal-meets-hip-hop would be the best definition - and even that would still be woefully inadequate.

But no matter how you describe it or slice it, Follow The Leader is an obscenity-laced trip that is almost totally enjoyable. From songs featuring just the band ("Freak On A Leash," "Got The Life") to guest spots (Ice Cube on "Children Of The Korn," Limp Bizkit's Fred Durst on "All In The Family"), the sheer intensity and power that Korn exude hits hard and repeatedly on the listener, making them wish it would never stop. The funky interlacing of the dual guitar lines and David's frantic drumming make what sounds like a volatile mixture all the more special.

However, near the end of the album, Korn's power stagnates a little bit. "Justin" and "Seed" don't live up to the promise the other songs on Follow The Leader deliver, while "Our Gift To You," a strong enough song as it is in the span of six minutes, loses a lot of its power following a silent pause with random conversations and a heavily-distorted rendition of "Earache My Eye," featuring none other than Cheech Marin on vocals.

Still, a few weaker links refuse to break the chain for Korn, and Follow The Leader is a better album because of the stronger, intense tracks. Of course, this won't mean much to the detractors of the group whose rantings I read in newsgroups every day. My advice: sit down, crack open an Old Style or two, put this one on at full volume, and give it a few listens. (Hell, it took me one listen to know this was a great album.) If you're not liking it after three listens, you're either in a nursing home or you're dead.

Follow The Leader is advice from Korn that is well worth heeding.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Immortal / Epic Records, and is used for informational purposes only.