Ralphy's C.D. Reviews

Review date 11-02-2000: KoRn - C.D. Issues

Well before I start this review I have to tell you a few things. I am not familiar with the previous work of KoRn, except for the single/video "Freak on a leash" and all the information about the band I will give here I found on the web, so it's not possible for me to compare this album with prior works and therefore I will comment a lot on the type of music that KoRn makes, which is called trashmetal. I haven't had any real experience with this type of music either, except for a concert of a talented local band called Dreadlock Pussy, who are heavily influenced by KoRn and have just released their first album. In fact KoRn's style has been copied a lot I've been told, but they themselves are still the founders and greatest executioners of trashmetal. I heard of KoRn and their extreme popularity in the heavy alternative circuit (for instance they were chosen to be the favourite band to come and perform on last year's Pinkpop-festival), but didn't know their music except for "Freak on a leash" and "Falling away from me". I actually bought this album as a X-mas present for my girlfriend's sister, who is a huge fan, and borrowed it back to get more acquainted with KoRn and their music.

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KoRn is a 5-man band. It began in the early 90's when guitarist Brian Welch, better known as Head, showed his high school friend James Shaffer (now known as Munky) how to play some songs. Munky became the guitar player for a band called LAPD and when they needed a second guitar man Head joined too. KoRn-bass player Reginal Arvizu (now called Fieldy) was already part of LAPD and David Silveria became their drummer. KoRn was actually created when Head and Munky asked Jonathan Davis (then leadsinger of a band called Sex Art) to try out for their band. He did and KoRn was born. Davis (who sings and plays bagpipes in KoRn) also has a nickname HIV, but he didn't use it on the new album contrary to the other 3 nicknamed members of the band. "Issues" is the 4th studio album by KoRn, the first 3 were titled "KoRn", "Life is peachy" and "Follow the leader".

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The first thing that came to mind when I listened to "Issues" was the word interesting. KoRn's music is unlike any other band's music I've ever heard and I haven't concluded yet what to make of it, but it surely is interesting. Lately I've also been listening a lot to some older CD's by Jean-Michel Jarre. Why do I mention this here, you may ask. Because I noticed some similarities. Both Jarre and KoRn are very innovative and use all kinds of sounds and tempo changes in their music (A warning to KoRn-fans: now don't go and buy Jarre's work, it's all synthesizer). KoRn's songs also often seem to lack some kind of melody and although I found the lyrics depressive, dark and somber therefore they seem to appeal to youth's who feel the same emotions and are still searching for a purpose in their lives. Very typical also are the peculiar guitar riffs mostly used in song intro's and the drum-like bass lines and the seemingly obligatory real metal part in most songs, where they put the volume up for all instruments. All this leads to words like 'interesting' and 'different', but it also makes their songs sound a bit alike at times. Different from everything else, but similar in itself or perhaps you could just say that every song has its own KoRn-trademark. There is maybe one exception. "Wake up" is in my opinion one of the best songs on the album, but it's also the only one that could have been made by another band namely Rage Against The Machine. My other 2 favourites are the single "Falling awya from me", which needs no further explanation and "Trash". This is a song about a guy, who uses his girlfriend like 'trash', has a guilty conscience about it and wonders why she lets him treat her that way. I really like it. The album in total I rate with a 7.0 .

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