Korn - Issues
Not much more than a year since TFL. At the time I called it lukewarm. In retrospect I was unfair. It was stone cold. Ok that's my opinion and it may be unpopular, but I've not played the CD once since that review. It simpy didn't shout loud enough. So I wasn't going to buy the new one, as for theyve not so much gone downhill as just remained still and turned stagnant. So the only reason this is being reviewed is because Dan P loaned me a copy of the CD.
And of course I could probably spend an entire issue dealing with my issues with Kor. But no, I won't. What of Korn's Issues? Well Dead starts it, the first of a series of short sub 2 minute links between the "main" songs. Shame cos in a way they are musically the more interesting. Davis does the "I wish I could be happy" thing. Don't we all mate. And the bagpipes pipe away in the background We they had to get them in somewhere didn't they? Then it all kicks in properly with Falling Away From Me and although the sound is different, it's not. Korn have their basic sound and dynamics sorted out so well that just about whatever they try there's still that nagging feeling of familiarity. In a way they've become a victim of their own success and what they started, and at this stage it's really difficult to see them breaking that. Davis is singing more which is good, the Tazmanian Devil impression gets boring after a while. During Trash the riff is sacrificed for the guitar squiddle sort of thing, but it at least sounds a little different to their usual guitar squiddle. It sounds more treated, like they're maybe using some synth effects in there now.
4U is another short track, more atmospheric than noral Treated vocals, it' a shame it only lasts about a minute and a half. They should've had the strength of conviction to follow it through, because Beg For Me is back to Korn by numbers. The likes of Somebody Someone do show a willingness to delve, it's all the better for it. But overall it's not really enough. OK, it's not enough to satisfy a cynic like me. Let's get this party started ooozes potential as well, a hint of the Pattons slipping into Davis voice, great chorus and some nice use of keyboards.
Korn are in a situation where they can do what they see fit and want to do. I'd like to see them really explore their sound a lot more by bining it and trying something different. And of course change their apparent attitude in the press, because whether it's right or wrong it currenty engenders a love or hate relationship. And in the long run that could be detrimental to them even from the musical standpoint. I mean, I've already seen loads of "they sold out" reactions to the album, so in a way they've got nothing to lose. At the moment I just can't get really into anything they've done since the debut album - which is great but which I listened to after this and even that's dating as far as Iím concerned. Since then though, they've not followed up the potential they had.
Rage Against The Machine - Battle For Los Angeles
Never seen the appeal of this band. Bought the first lbum and utterly failed to see why people were creaming themselves over a band who were rehashing Deep Purple riffs with some funk bass and rap vocals. No they were trust me. There was loads of DP in the riffage. Plus of course the concept of so many peope saying "fuck you I won't do what you tell me" just seemed soooo ironic to me. It's my sense of humour and logic, I sometimes follow the literal meaning of something and find the implied meaning to be so different it's laughable. So I never bought the second CD and didn't buy this. Instead it was loaned to me, so having not bought it I don't need to worry about trying to convince myself that it's really worth it and I haven't wasted my money.
So, ok, on first listen this isn't so bad. It starts promisingly, a swirly cascading sort of guitar sound around which the drums build until it hits the groove and Rage hit the floor running. And it's not bad, it swaggers. But I can't help thinking back to the debut album and thinking the track could've fitted on there. It's a feeling that pops up quite often. Maybe its legit, maybe it's my subconscious telling me that no matter how hard I try to like this, a part of me doesn't want to or won't let me.
There's some good stuff going on, there's some stuff that's boring and looses my interest. Guerilla Radio is ok, fairly strong chorus and a guitar solo that sounds like a haromonica. Ok well it does to me, if it doesn't to you great don't give me a hard time about it. Strangely enough Mic Check is the one that sticks in my mind immediately. I'm still not a hure fan of the vocals - I just get bored by constant rapping, I really do like a bit of melody and fluid singing at times. Broken Man at least makes the effort. Nice riff and some whispered almost spoken word sections going on in there. It's a semblance of another dimension, which is good because musically RATM seem one dimensional to me. Yes, they may be important from a lyrical perspective, and because of their political agenda and commitment. But it sometimes feels that it's at the expense of the music. I still feel theyíre overrated on a music front.
Ultimately it's hard to judge this. See, those that love them will get it and of course "get it". The rest of us, well if you've never been interested there's nothing really there to change your mind on that. I just can't see me listening to this that much. It doesnt really move me. I could try and spend a lot of time trying to get into it, but there's so much other stuff that moves me and demands my attention. There's even some music that does the same thing!
Ah, here we go. Some vegan straightedge hardcore. Donít you just love the categories. Anyway,Withdrawn - Seeds Of Inhumanity is what weíre talking about here. And sorry, but cut the shit, this is a metal album. Through and through. Iíve said on many occassions that the boundary between metal and hardcore is sometimes blurred, but the music here is pure metal. To be more precise, itís grounded in thrash. Theyíve listened to their Slayer and no mistake. Theyíve even got the same "acoustic" tone when during the title track they recreate that moment from Seasons in the Abyss. Itís all there, the guitar tone, the double bass drums. Thatís not to say thereís anything wrong with that, on the contrary. Itís just that it pisses me off so much that some people will listen to this cos itís "hardcore" and thereís plenty of xxx all over the shop (names in the thanks list are placed in xís if the person or band is straightedge, which to me is total crap - the whole unity myth is destroyed as soon as you segregate and categorise in that manner), but those same people will decry metal or not listen to a metal album unless HC and XXX is everywhere. And vica versa, the metal fan with their head to far up their arse to see anything else existing. Mind you, each to their own. Some people donít want to listen to anything outside a tightly defined category, and who am I to argue with that - ok I do, thatís just my nature, at the end of the day everyone should make their own mind up about thing. Course itís the vocals and lyrics which make it hardcore. And the vocals yeah, itís the "hardcore not death metal honest guv" style. Which is basically taking Tom Araya with a sore throat kind of thing. Sorry, Iím being unfair here, cos I actually like this a lot. Cos itís a good metal album, just fed up with all the posturing. It opens up with Your Messiah Incomplete a spoken word thing that sets the tone for the album in that it seems to have issues shall we say with the whole religion, or at least Christian approach. At least thatís my take on things. As with virtually all lyrics, you have to apply some kind of guesswork to what itís really on about. I find it quite amusing when people can say "oh well itís obviously about the satanic ritual of offering worms as a sacrifice to the god of nose picking" when all the lyric said was "taste the maggot". Ok, just feeling even more sarcastic than normal today. Must be the hangover. Highlights? Bloodaxe and Cries from the demo and The Seeds of Inhumanity, A good album, confrontational, in your face. Metal. Oh, and itís got a playing time of 66.06. Chortle? Me? Still doing it.
Available on Household Name records.