Platinum Anniversary Album Series
Here’s my latest entry in a series on albums that rock 20 years after their release.
I’ve been wracking my brain for months trying to think of an album after Korn’s debut that had as much impact. There are plenty of records and bands that revolutionized the sound of their generations before Korn came around, (Nevermind, The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath, The Beatles on Ed Sullivan, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s, Elvis Presley, “Johnny B Goode.”) but the only album I can think of that had the same impact after Korn is Nickelback’s Silver Side Up. And it pains me to admit that.
“When we started out, I remember getting into some heavy bands like Morbid Angel and Sepultura, and when they would slow their grooves down, we were like, ‘Fuck that’s bad.’ We thought, Take the solos and all the fast beats out, and have a singer sing over that. That’d be bad shit– just all grooves” -Fieldy in Guitar World Vol. 21, No. 3 March 2001
Whether Korn realized their goal expressed by bassist Fieldy in that old magazine is something that could be debated back and forth over several blogs. I’m guessing that there are probably several Korn fansites out there for people who are so inclined. As for me, I’m more interested in the music.
What is hard to debate is when I say “Blind” was the best riff of ’94. I know that’s a pretty bold statement, but I think if you hold it up next to anything off Superunknown, The Blue Album, Jar of Flies, Dookie, Smash, The Downward Spiral or any of the other great albums to come out that year. That duhduh duhduh duhduh duhduh dundundun and the “Are you ready!!!” launched Nu Metal and gave the world something to latch onto after grunge.
That’s not to say it’s the only song on the album that’s great. Korn is chocked full of goodies. I really love the songs like “Clown” and “Faget” with subject matter different from anything previously heard in metal. While we all know that there were metal musicians getting beat up, teased and called faggots before Jonathon Davis arrived on the scene, he’s the first I know of to take these experiences and channel them into lyrics.
“Shoots and Ladders” represents the first (and only) time I’ve heard bagpipes in a metal song. And the twisted childhood theme continues with the closer “Daddy” where Davis recounts a tale of childhood sexual abuse. The album ends with him breaking down in tears. It leads me to wonder if that was something that happened live or if it was just a studio thing.
And while “Blind” takes the cake at the best riff on the album, a few other songs have equally impressive riffs. “Helmet in the Bush” is one of my favorites. Even when the riffs aren’t the greatest the guitars mesh with the slap pop bass and drums to create truly magical songs.
For more Platinum Anniversary Albums: