Immortal/Epic, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It's been an interesting career ride for the alterna-funk band Korn. Their music has seemed to be recklessly fun, something their single "Got The Life" from their last effort Follow The Leader showed. And, of course, the kids ate it up and begged for more.

But something seems to have happened to Jonathan Davis and crew in the year since Follow The Leader was released. It almost is as if a curtain of maturity and responsibility fell on the band, and they took a look at things in general. Now, I don't pretend to have any inside knowledge about the band's inner workings, but I do believe something shook them to their foundations.

In that mindset, Korn puts forth Issues, their fourth album. It is an album that seems less concerned about hit singles and more about song structure and mood. And while it is a disc that begs for repeat listens - something you'll be more than happy to give it - it is a worthwhile journey for listener and band. It even dares to suggest that Korn has matured a bit as a band.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The area where I believe the band faced some kind of reality check is heard in the song "Wake Up," where Davis is pleading with someone - his own band? another band in the same genre? - to remember the reason why they go on stage and play music in the first place. Peppered with demands that the subject in question "wake the fuck up", it's an incredibly powerful song that makes you wonder what triggered such a song.

Korn themselves also seem to have gotten some kind of a wake-up call regarding their music, for there really isn't a clear-cut hit single on Issues. While Follow The Leader was an enjoyable album in its own right, Issues is almost a stronger album because it isn't hit-centered. "Falling Away From Me," the first single from the album, doesn't have the strong funk center you might expect from Korn, but it has its own unique structure that makes it appealing in a mystical way.

Portions of Issues are broken up with little vignettes - some of which set the mood wonderfully ("Dead," "Wish You Could Be Me"), others that just seem to distract a bit from the big picture ("It's Gonna Go Away," "Am I Going Crazy"). I would have rather had the music hitting me like rapid one-two punches without having them broken up with these little mood pieces.

But lest you think that Korn has forgotten what made them stars in the first place, Issues quenches those fears. Tracks like "Trash," "Hey Daddy," "Let's Get This Party Started" and "Counting" all showcase Davis, Munky, Head, Fieldy and David in the light that the fans are used to seeing them in. And make no mistake, Korn isn't about to let their fans down - hell, I even liked the way they closed the album with over two minutes' worth of white noise at the end of "Dirty". In a way, it was the perfect ending to this album.

If Issues proves anything, it shows that a band like Korn can mature in their songwriting and their views without losing one iota of power. And for that, everyone should be grateful.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 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, and is used for informational purposes only.