Korn - See You On The Other Side review
|Album:||See You On The Other Side|
|Release date:||December 2005|
01. Twisted Transistor
05. 10 Or A 2-Way
06. Throw Me Away
07. Love Song
08. Open Up
09. Coming Undone
10. Getting Off
12. For No One
13. Seen It All
15. Too Late I'm Dead [Japanese deluxe edition bonus]
Disc II Deluxe Edition & Japanese Deluxe Edition
01. It's Me Again
02. Eaten Up Inside
03. Last Legal Drug (Le Petit Mort)
04. Twisted Transistor [The Dante Ross Mix]
05. Twisted Transistor [Dummies Club Mix]
+ Twisted Transistor [video] [Live In Moscow]
+ Hypocrites [video] [Live In Moscow]
+ One Year Membership To KoRn BSC Fan Club featuring exclusive behind-the-scenes media content, Korn community membership with personal home page and blog, pre-sale ticket access for the Korn tour [deluxe edition bonus]
+ Password access to two digital download tracks at Best Buy Exclusive! [deluxe edition bonus]
+ One Year Membership To KoRn BSC Fan Club with two books, first with texts of songs in English and Japanese, and second with pictures [japanese deluxe edition bonus]
I'm not a huge fan of nu-metal right now, but Korn used to be a favourite of mine. They've been trying to re-invent themselves for a while now, from the electronic beats and strings on Untouchables to the hard-hitting Take A Look In The Mirror, to the borderline-electronica of the untitled album. But I still think that this album, where Korn went industrial, was their most successful attempt at reinvention yet, and made the untitled album even more disappointing.
Firstly, Korn brought on two big-name producers - Atticus Ross, of the band 12 Rounds, and at that point working with Nine Inch Nails; and the Matrix, a group whose clients have included Hilary Duff and Avril Lavigne. Jonathan Davis also steps behind the boards, as he's done for every Korn album since Follow The Leader (bar Issues). While hardcore Korn devotees gnash their teeth at having their heroes in proximity to Hilary Duff's schlockmeisters, it worked. Take lead single "Twisted Transistor", for example. It's laden with pop hooks, Munky's simple riff takes center stage, and Jonathan Davis isn't singing with rage, but rather with a kind of morbid happiness. Amazingly, this is one of the best songs they've written in a while, grinding away with thick industrial rhythms and morbid imagery of sex and violence ("hold it between your legs, turn it up, turn it up"; the distorted growl of "This won't hurt a bit" near the end). This is Korn, and pop for them is anything but fun.
"Twisted Transistor" and the other two singles, "Coming Undone" and "Politics", take center stage on this album. "Coming Undone" is another one of their better songs, stripped-down, crunchy and stomping away, reminiscent of Take A Look In The Mirror. "Politics" is another pointed stomp, but there's some wonderful synth ambience courtesy of Atticus Ross, and Davis' rant about not caring about politics is really quite useful for this day and age. Three of Korn's better singles, to be sure, but there's some other gems buried in the mix. Davis' contorted vocals sound, not filled with rage and vengeance as they did on Follow Your Leader, but more three-dimensional, able to express more emotion. And with Head's departure, the three remaining members besides Davis sound downright vengeful, Munky's sizzling seven-string attack, Fieldy's slinky, funky basslines and David Silveria's pounding rhythms beating the songs into your head.
The album tracks are just as good. Sure, there are some failed experiments - they try a bit too hard to be Nine Inch Nails on "Throw Me Away", "Seen It All" doesn't blend its influence successfully, and the bonus track "Eaten Up Inside" is just that bit too slick - but hey, there's some great ones too. The Nine Inch Nails influence works on the synth-rock rhythms of "Open Up", and the heavy metallic grind of "Liar" and "Getting Off" remind me somewhat of Follow The Leader.
Overall See You On The Other Side is a good album, with a few mediocre tracks. But hey, Korn have reinvented themselves, and very nicely at that. Actually, on further reflection, it might be their best album. Their follow-up, on the other hand, is their worst...but that's for another time.
|What a lot of you people don't get is that Korn is a band that has been striving hard to remain creatively relevant even though, by the mysterious whims of the gods of popular culture, they found themselves at the center of mainstream attention. There are many such bands that become extremely popular even though their music is non-conventional and non-conformist. All of a sudden, the band is thrown into the dog-eat-dog realm of the mainstream, dominated by plastically engineered music designed to satisfy the statistical and non-demanding MTV audience. At this point, a lot of bands just switch to automatic and release more of what made them popular without ever trying to push the envelope any more (and if they do, they tend to make music so removed from the trends in the underground that it can be seen as a joke, at best). Surviving in such a world is not such an easy thing to do and most bands end up destroying themselves, either creatively (Metallica) or literally (Nirvana). I am happy to say that some minor missteps aside, Korn seems to be coping with their popularity just fine and the new album See You On The Other Side is for the most part a very rewarding and interesting listen.
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