Friday, May 02, 2008

FDF Vol 1 Issue 93: Korn - Follow the Leader

Album - Follow the Leader
Artist - Korn
Key Players - Brian "Head" Welch - Guitars, David Silveria- Drums, James "Munky" Shaffer - Guitars, Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu - bass, Jonathan Davis - vocals,bagpipes.
Produced By - Steve Thomspon, Toby Wright and Korn

Release Date - August 18, 1998

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I try never to listen to the same things over and over. For some reason this band is a band that I have followed for a long time. Although their music might not be ground breaking sometimes it just "does the trick". I just decided to go against the grain here, where I usually pick a lesser known release by the band, but this one I reached out for.

Overview - The Bakersfield California based band released this, their third album in 1998. The production on the record far exceeded the prior two releases and the album would go on to sell over 9 million copies worldwide. The album would reach #1 on the charts and continue to push "Nu Metal" to the rock radio forefront for a few years.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album begins on track 13. The first 12 tracks are 5 second tracks of "silence". No reason was ever officially given for the silence, but wikipedia has a report that the tracks form a minute of silence for a 12 year old fan named Justin who, thru the make a wish foundation, wanted to meet Korn. After that wave "It's On" slowly fades up. The drum clicks off as a delayed guitar runs underneath. The second guitar comes in and the bass, that bass that makes a lot of the Korn sound swells. They fire it off with a howl from Davis and the band band drops it. The trademark chug/thump of the band is evident from the outset. When Davis sings the verses the band sort of settles in to the back ground but as the chorus swells the band crunches down. The next two tracks "Freak on a Leash" and "Got the Life" were both released as radio singles. "Freak" has the squealing guitar and follows the sort of quiet loud feel. The track has a dark feel and nobody in the band really takes a blistering solo any where. "Got the Life" has a more up tempo intro with the marching drums and the bass holding down the bottom. After the intro Davis takes the lead with a rapid vocal delivery. The band does a little more with samples and the track really grows. It is easy to see why this was chosen as a single as it sums up the bands overall sound and feel nicely. One of the funnier moments is the Davis "skat" moment with the rum ditty dum moment. What appears to be a hybrid of a music box and ice cream truck bell "Dead Bodies Everywhere" slowly fades up before it too, get the the Korn crunch. Everyone hits down until we head to the first verse where Fieldy holds the shake on the bass. Davis' vocals once more are hushed leading to the chorus. Later we get a trademark Davis howl as the band ups the anti with musical urgency. The track fades the same way it began. A track that could be pigeonholed in to the whole rap rock fold is "Children of the Korn". Guest vocalist Ice Cube offers his sound and presence to the track. First as a laid back background sample before he is unleashed on the verses. (We even get references, for better or worse, to 40's and Bitches.) ""B.B.K" has the punch and crunch guitar once more. The guitarists can attain different sounds not only through effect pedals but they have seven strings on their guitars vs. the standard six strings. This track hits it pretty hard. "Pretty" takes a little to get rolling and at the outset we have a little different guitar solo. The drums are a little more in the mix as well probably due to the cymbals that are constantly being hit. This track is about as quiet/mellow as we will get on a Korn track. Fred Durst of Limp Bizket offers vocal sharing duties on "All in the Family". The track as a more rap rock feel vs. the crunchy sound from Korn. Davis almost seems to slag off Durst via their verse swapping, and Durst does the same. Overall the two try to convey they and their bands (at the time) were all in the same family. Yeah I know..I laughed too. A very compressed guitar opens
"Reclaim My Place" before we get a yelp from Davis and then we are off once more. Guitars swirl, bass punches and the drums whack out the 4/4 time. The same boy the band was rumored to tribute at the start of the album (the silent tracks) had "Justin" named for him. This song has a very angry feel at the outset. The tracks sort of seem to follow the same formula in that they ease up during the verses but the chorus' hit down hard, real hard. Swelling up slow with a watery sounding bass is "Seed". We get a few of the sustained single guitar notes as well as the drums work up. When I spun this track again I recalled this being one of my favorites. Seed refers to a child. The chorus has a line that I really like "Every time I look at my son I see something I can not be..beautiful and carefree". "Cameltosis" is the third track on the disc to have a guest vocalist. Tre Hardson of the pharcyde offers his vocal delivery over a funk bass line. The album closes with a 15+ minute track/segment that begins with "My Gift To you". Davis plays the bagpipes on the intro to this track There is then a 2 minute gap of silence before an odd cover of "Earache My Eye" is done. The track originally done by Cheech and Chong (Up in Smoke) actually has Cheech Marin on the vocals as well.

Where are they now? - The band is still active today. They continue to write, record and perform live. The band had done MTV Unplugged and has two "best of collections (one is due soon)". The band hopes to record and release a new album in 2008. David Silveria took a hiatus from the band in 2007. In late 2004 Brian Welch informed the band he had chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior and would no longer pursue a role in Korn. He has openly spoken about his conversion (initially seen as a hoax) and is rumored to be working on a solo record.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have only seen the band live one time and it was part of a Lollapaloosa set. The date was July 8, 1997 at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield Ma. The set was truncated for time, but live they brought it.

FDF Overall Take - The band has sort of gone the way of the dinosaur. The tours are not as long, the albums don't sell as well and people just don't seem to care as much. For some reason, since this album I have bought every one within the week it comes out. I don't listen to them all that often but when I do part of me is glad I held on for this long.

Links -
The official page
Korn has a Myspace page
Brian Welch

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

**mp3's have been removed***
Got the Life

All the tracks were taken from "Follow the Leader" which you can buy here

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 10:29 PM, Blogger Ello said...

I really liked Korn and completely forgot about them. So this was a nice review and I love all the extra information you dug up. Awesome awesome review as usual dude!


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