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Korn Essay Research Paper In the early

Korn Essay, Research Paper In the early ’90s, heavy music looked to be going the way of the dinosaurs: Well-heeled Brit-pop and well-scrubbed pop-punk were

Korn Essay, Research Paper

In the early ’90s, heavy music looked to be going the way of the

dinosaurs: Well-heeled Brit-pop and well-scrubbed pop-punk were

thoroughly dominating the guitar-rock landscape, and the few surviving

old-school metal acts seemed hopelessly unable to adapt.

But somewhere within the vast, murky Southern California wasteland, a

dynamic new species was being born, a forward-thinking beast that

disregarded the mistakes of heavy bands past while meshing dark, urban

rhythms and low-tuned guitar sludge with violent, expressionist blasts

of hip-core noise. That and the wildly emotional vocals of JONATHAN,

which alternated between a bourbon-smooth croon and a viscerally sharp

howl, made for a revolutionary mix that redefined heavy rock better than

anyone had in a decade. The result was a monster 1994 self-titled debut

album that went solid platinum, and by the time 1996’s Life Is Peachy

was released, this beast had a fanbase over two million strong–and a

legion of musical imitators so large it threatened to saturate the

planet.

It was time for a change of rules.

Hence KORN’s latest, greatest slab, aptly titled FOLLOW THE LEADER. From

the broadened musical and emotional scope to the much beefier production

values to the stunning cover art courtesy of Spawn-creator Todd

McFarlane, FOLLOW THE LEADER is indeed an ambitious and deeply

satisfying outing for the band. And while there is considerably more

hype surrounding this rightly anticipated disc, JONATHAN is quick to put

things in perspective.

"Our only goal was to take our time on this album," he says. "Because I

knew we had it in us to do something great. To full integrate both

(previous) albums and put out a record we could be proud of…we wanted

to do some phat shit."

"I think working with a new producer and going into a new studio helped

us grow musically as a band," adds guitarist MUNKY. "All of us really

have that fire again about being excited about a record…We all feel

like we grew, like when you grow out of some old shoes; your feet are

all crammed in forever and you know you need to buy a new pair, but you

need to save up the money to do it. We kind of saved up our confidence

and made that leap into our new shoes."

Fans of old-school KORN needn’t despair–the new shoes kick just as much

ass as the old pair. "Freak On A Leash" is a molotov cocktail of

scathing, psychedelic guitar runs, hypno-groove bass grind, hip-hop

jungle drumming, all sliced in two with an ingeniously placed scat line

reminiscent of PEACHY opener "Twist." Then there’s "Children Of The

KORN," title courtesy of legendary gangsta rapper Ice Cube, who

contributed an arresting series of verses to the tune, as well as a

mallet-blunt mantra that speaks for every fed up kid in America: "Stop

fuckin’ with me!" Check the epic closing track, "My Gift to You," one of

the band’s heaviest songs to date, rife with the sort of lyrical honesty

that’s earned JONATHAN true street cred with the kids–and dismay from

the parents. Which is just fine with him–KORN, after all, speaks

directly to those disenfranchised with a world of spent opportunity and

violence, due in large part to the short-sightedness of generations

past.

"Yeah," says JONATHAN, "I am pissed off that I inherited it. I wish

sometimes that I was born back in the day. But today’s society is so

fucked up…we gotta thank the parents for doing that to the kids."

Yes, they still rock. But FOLLOW THE LEADER also illustrates just how

much JONATHAN’s vocal and lyrical abilities have broadened from the

"straight fuckin’ cathartic rage" of KORN and PEACHY to a level that

communicates a full range of human emotion, from regret ("It’s On!") and

empathy ("Justin"), to lighthearted if incredibly vitriolic banter ("All

In The Family"). The band’s musical growth is also well evident–from

drummer DAVID’s successful integration of D-Drum sampling to FIELDY’s

ever-more-percussive bass playing. Meanwhile, twin guitar towers MUNKY

and HEAD have made their joint stylistic fusion nearly seamless. "It’s

like we’re one person," adds HEAD. "We’re one guitar player thinking.

It’s weird." The end result is an album that could well be KORN’s swan

song–and one that’s sure to find the band’s ever-growing throng of

musical imitators scurrying back to the chalkboard.

Although FOLLOW THE LEADER will not be officially released until August

18 on Immortal/Epic Records, MUNKY considers it a mission accomplished:

"I think we’ve already achieved success on this record," he says. "We’re

all 100 % happy with all the songs. That was the personal goal for me."

In the making of FOLLOW THE LEADER, KORN’s also been busy with their

ground-breaking live weekly Internet program, as well as the formation

of its own record label, Elementree Records. Its first signing,

California "death pop" outfit Orgy, has already drawn critical acclaim

for its debut CANDYASS (Alternative Press enthusiastically endorsed the

record, saying it displayed enough "smart melodies, head-banging crunch

and electro-kicks to impress even the most fickle music fans"). CANDYASS

will hit the shops the on the same day as FOLLOW THE LEADER. As for

Elementree itself, FIELDY offers up the band’s business philosophy

accordingly:

"I think we’d all like to sign some bands that everybody’s scared to

sign. And of course to make them as big as KORN, if not bigger. I think

where we’re at in ‘98, the whole decade is really hurting for some good

music."

In addition to the new record and the new label, KORN has also put

together its own answer to Lollapalooza: the "Family Values" tour, an

eight-week U.S. tour which will feature Ice Cube, Limp Bizkit, Orgy,

Rammstein and, of course, KORN, in addition to a throng of breakdancers,

fire-eaters and a myriad of other cultural oddities. Why would an

already overworked band want to tackle such a monumental task?

"There are all these festivals that have weak links in them," says

DAVID. "It’s not easy to put together a big festival because there are a

lot of people involved–but we thought we could give it a shot and do

something better."

1998 is proving to be an intensely creative year for the band. An

ambitious new record that redefines the school KORN defined in the first

place–that’s already garnering massive airplay for its first single

("Got The Life"). An ambitious new label that’s already undermining the

alternative world. And an ambitious new tour showcasing some of the

heaviest acts of the day. No surprise. KORN has always been about

ambition–and much more often than not it’s paid off.

"We’re not out to change the world, just music."

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