Written by: MN on 25/11/2013 00:38:31

With the release of ”The Paradigm Shift” record, Korn will return once more to the spotlight and this anticipation is of course further catalyzed by the return of former axeman Brian “Head” Welch in his first album with Korn since “Take a Look In The Mirror”. At a time like this, one starts to question the relevancy of this pioneering nu metal band, despite them being among the more productive bands with 11 records to date. For this reason, and for the sake of nostalgia, let’s revisit the groundbreaking album that shot Korn through the roof of quiet Bakersfield, California to worldwide stardom.

The self-titled release is in my opinion the best one they ever released, closely followed by “Life Is Peachy” and “Issues” and thirdly “Untouchables”. I’m afraid the remaining albums just don’t have the same buoyancy as this quadruplet of albums. “Follow The Leader” of course does have some highlights as no one will ever forget the “scat” section of “Freak On A Leash” and the ultra heavy “Dead Bodies Everywhere”. The self-titled debut was groundbreaking however, as it exposed the world to the very unique Korn expression that subsequently spawned the nu-metal movement as bands like Adema, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit and Disturbed began to ride the radio waves; a new subculture was born. A type of metal that portrayed painful emotions to a stomach churning level, but also maintained a certain type of confidence that ever so inspired the troubled youth of the late 90s and early 2000’s.

Korn’s cathartic debut deals conceptually with everything from denial and depression in their first hit single “Blind”, to the troubles of being bullied in the facemelter “Faget”. Other ideas explored are the confrontational “Clown” supposedly inspired by Jonathan Davis experience with an assault from a skinhead, and even more originally “Shoots and Ladders” that is sung only in Children Nursery Rhymes, signifying irony in the fact that kids are singing songs about some very morbid things. This song also was the first to contain bagpipes played by Jonathan Davis, who embraces his Scottish ancestry by often wearing a kilt on stage. Other originalities of Korn are that they play heavily down-tuned seven string guitars and a very thunderous and loose bass groove to add a bit of a hip hop/funk touch. Despite being loved and hated, Jonathan Davis is one of the more unique vocalists around today. His androgynous cleans retain a feminine/fragile expression, yet his growl vocals are powerful as hell. A perfect example of this is found in arguably the strongest song on the record, “Daddy”. A song that starts off in acapella-choir mode with evangelical undertones, which eventually has Fieldy’s signature bass signalling the beginning of a story of heart wrenching sexual abuse, a song inspired by the anxious childhood of Jonathan Davis.

The self-titled album is a timeless classic and a vicious presentation of why Korn deserve a spot in the Hall Of Fame. No other album within nu-metal had such an outlasting effect on other bands, it also somehow managed to substitute the grunge rock movement as the most popular rock music of the late 1990s, of course along with the massive pop punk explosion with bands like Green Day and Blink 182 leading the march. After my fifth listen today, I completely understand why I was such a massive Korn fan as a teenager, and I still absolutely adore this record for its originality, melody and sheer emotional effect. “Blind” shall now return as my alarm ringtone in the morning.


Download: Blind, Faget and Shoots and Ladders
For The Fans Of: Slipknot, Adema, Chimaira, Ill Niño
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 11.10.1994
Immortal / Epic Records

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