From Spinal Column's Music Review


by Andrew Rackauskas

          Every couple of years, a band or two comes around that forever changes the music scene. Some do it via media hype. Some do it on their own merit. Korn is one of those bands that do it on their own merit. In 1994, Korn hit the music scene with a sound so disturbingly unusual and powerful that it could not be ignored. Taking aspects of hardcore metal, hip-hop, rap, and funk, these rock pioneers from Bakersfield amassed a relatively small but ferocious following. Jonathan Davis's tormented lyrics and singing and Fieldy's, Munky's, Head's, and David's extremely bold and aggressive music make Korn one of the most original and fierce bands around. While touring small clubs, Korn was signed to Immortal Records (who were responsible for releasing one of the best soundtrack albums of all time, Judgment Night; which interestingly enough, was a fusion of rock and rap).

          Soon after, Korn released its first album- the self-titled Korn. The songs on the album reflect a very grim outlook, but are done with style and humor (note "Clown" on Korn). Although the subject matter ranged from adolescent alienation to child abuse, Korn managed to cover the material without sounding stupid or preachy. It's serious stuff, but not to be taken too seriously. The album's unusual and very radio unfriendly sound saw little to no airplay from radio stations. Additionally, MTV obviously wouldn't play any of their videos unless it was at four in the morning. The only mass exposure they received was a short clip during a "Beavis & Butt-Head" episode. And they surprisingly bagged on Korn. However, a large and rabid fan base was growing through word of mouth. Much like Metallica in their early years, Korn's popularity grew solely on street level word of mouth and strong touring. Opening for the likes of Danzig and Marilyn Manson exposed the band to a wider audience. In some of their opening slots, Korn actually drew more attention than the headliner. Some of their exceptional live energy can be seen on their new home video, Who Then Now?.

          After gaining some notoriety, Korn recently released Life is Peachy at the end of 1996. Once again, little to no airplay coincided. However, like before, word of mouth has carried the album. Korn isn't about having a hit single or top ten album. Korn is a release of built up emotion -- good and bad. Music is at its finest when it hits the soul and emotion is exuded. Much like the gut-wrenching blues and up-beat boogie of John Lee Hooker that pierces the soul before them, Korn's music does more than pierce eardrums. It hits on a very pure emotional level. It is almost unexplainable. The fans definitely know and understand what the radio stations and MTV don't.