This Album is a huge disappointment for anyone looking for a saviour of the declining “numetal” scene. It has none of the raw power of their first effort and is not anywhere near as innovative as their third. This is a continuation of everything that was wrong with Issues (their weakest effort). This band is not, what their publicist would deem, maturing in there efforts. Nor are they contributing to the evolution of numetal in any positive direction. After years of being innovators in the metal scene they now seem content to follow their own imitators in producing polished radio friendly pop melodies (listening to “Alone I break” is painful for any fan of Korn’s old sound). They seem to have forgotten who their fanbase is, in trying to appel to a broader rock audience. No longer does Davis growl through clenched teeth. He now sings atmospheric rock music, alien to fans of their earlier sunken live sound. This CD is not a good buy for oldschool fans. That said, it might appel to fans of the type of corporate-massed-produce sounds of bands like Papa Roach, Disturbed etc.
Metal Album Reviews[RSS]
After a long break, KoRn returns with Untouchables. KoRn wanted to push the boundaries on this album. They wanted to evolve and distance themselves from the stranglehold of lifeless nu-metal. But the question is… did they? *sound of a resounding YES!* Untouchables reflects the recent life experiences of KoRn. It’s a more grown-up album for the band, but it only makes sense. Life’s problems change as you get older, and Untouchables is a 14 track ride through some of life’s questions. The sound of the album is unlike anything you’ve heard from KoRn before. The guitar sounds that Munky and Head utilized on this disc seem other-worldly at times, and they often provide a gloomy, spacey, near-gothic backdrop to the vocalizations of lead singer Jonathan Davis. The guitars and bass on this album have a HUGE sound. It’s not so much that it’s a heavy disc in the sense of “heavy metal” kind of heavy, but it’s a very plodding, large sound that would probably take down a few buildings if you turned up the volume too high. If you’ve heard the band’s first single from the album, “Here To Stay,” you’ve gotten a taste…. but I don’t think it’s the best offering on the album. You need to hear all the other songs to really get a feeling for this disc. If there is one true highlight to Untouchables, it’s how much Jonathan has begun to appreciate his voice. Long gone are the days of simply screaming. Jonathan’s been working with a vocal coach, and, believe me, it shows! Jonathan truly uses his voice on this album, and the time he put into it really paid off. Many of the songs feature brilliant harmonies that send a chill up your spine. Jonathan’s recent work on the Queen Of The Damned soundtrack seems to have been a great influence on him, and it definitely worked it’s way into the songs on Untouchables. (You should pick that disc up too while you’re getting this one.) There’s a track on Untouchables for every KoRn fan, old and new. If you’re still into the heavy riffage and screaming of the band’s debut album, then check out “Embrace.” Within a few seconds of the track’s start, the guitars launch into full assault and Jonathan’s classic scream will once again leave your eardrums feeling a bit shattered. Want to hear a semi-industrial (yes, KoRn even tried to slip into that genre on this one) song? Go for “Wake Up Hate.” Like the sound of bending guitars and a bit of a funk style? Try “Beat It Upright.” Not up for something heavy today? Check out the track “Hollow Life.” This song is probably the biggest surprise of Untouchables. KoRn has never been a band to relish in slow songs with beautiful melodies and harmonies, but, this time, they did. It’s an incredibly beautiful, yet extremely sad song. Most of the tracks on Untouchables carry an immense sadness beneath them. Jonathan’s lyrics are a bit more abstract than usual. It’s harder to know what or who he’s referring to on this album than in the past when you could easily point to a song and say “well that was about when Jonathan went through….” Jonathan seems to feel less like screaming and more like crying on this album. It has more of an “I’m tired of fighting” feeling. All around, Untouchables is an emotional album. It hits you in some tender spots and really makes you begin to think, and I believe that’s the mark of a truly good album. An album that can touch you purely through the melodies is worthy of a listen, so my fellow KoRn pals–BUY THIS ALBUM. It will not disappoint. And if you’ve never heard KoRn before, or even if you’ve never liked them before, you owe it to yourself to check this one out. It’s not like the other 4 albums. There’s bits and pieces of the old, but this album altogether is something very new and different for KoRn. My personal favorites on this album are…. all of them. I tried to pick some favorites, and I realized I had written down half the track list and still wasn’t done. There’s something to like about each track, and just because you don’t like one doesn’t mean you won’t like another. This isn’t an album to rule out on one song.
I waited and waited and at last…. Having heard “Here to Stay” before the album release, I had expected the album to sound pretty much like that throughout but Wow! Was I ever surprised! This album runs the gamut of methods to excorcise the demons. “Hollow Life,” “No One’s There,” “Bottled Up Inside,” okay, I can’t list them all, but there’s some powerful stuff going on in this CD. (all the freaks gotta love “Beat It Up Right,” I know I do) These are some well tuned pipes belting out the pain and suffering that dredge up things I’ve tried to forget. Layer that with the guitar-vortex that Head and Munky put out there, Fieldy’s window-jarring bass, and David’s rock solid drumming and its just undescribably good. I’m tired of hearing people whine about how its not like the old stuff. Nothing stays the same. If it did, life would suck even more. Korn has taken their music to another level. I find it tighter and the lyrics better constructed than previous efforts. It goes down like ground glass. Thanks for the best album I’ve bought in a couple of years, Korn!
It seems to me that this album’s relative lack of commercial success can be attributed to confusion. “Confusion” is the term I think fits best when describing the general reaction of fans. Many people didn’t quite know what to think when Untouchables came out. It was highly anticipated, if I recall, and it certainly wasn’t what people expected. So as a result, this is one of the most divisive Korn albums – ask three people what they think of it. One will hate it and yell “sell out!” Another will love its progressive tendancies. Still a third won’t know what to tell you. And probably won’t listen to the album anymore. After all, nu metal fans aren’t best known for their patience.
The album itself is a patchwork amalgamation of catchy pop-metal, industrial sludge, experimental creepiness, and trademark Korn aggro grooves. The production is slick and round and the songs aren’t really reminiscent of any sound Korn has had in the past. It is creative and unique in Korn’s catalogue. I’m sure many filler fans were disappointed that this wasn’t Follow the Leader Part Two – but going backwards is a real quick way to end your career in music (as we are seeing with many a mediocre nu metal band that is slipping through the cracks now.) Most of all, this album took risks. Even when the risks don’t work out, you have to give them credit for being bold and foreward-thinking. And, one thing that is important to point out, Jonathan’s voice is incredible here – his time spent with a vocal coach payed off big time on Untouchables.
The best songs on this album are the songs that sound absolutely nothing like anything Korn has ever done. My favorite song on this album would probably have to be the ethereal, beautiful (yes I said “beautiful”, at the risk of immasculating myself) “Hollow Life.” This song proves that there is more than one way to be heavy, as it draws you in and sends creeping sensations down your spine. The grand synth chords and heartwrenching “melody” contrast with the the dissonant power chords chugging underneath, to frightening effect.
Hollow Life isn’t the only song worth mentioning on this album; the slow disco “Here to Stay” is a great opener and single. It’s not the deepest song Korn has written but it’s fun, it’s heavy, it grooves, it’s catchy, and doesn’t sound derivitive or cliche (like some other more recent Korn songs I could mention.) In fact, all of the singles off this album are great songs. “Thoughtless” raises the emotional bar about ten steps with a compelling and melodic chorus. As usual, Jon’s lyrics aren’t exactly timeless poetry, but they have the strange power to invoke your sympathy regardless. Then “Alone I Break”… well, it’s a suicide song. And a really good one: these are some of the most honest, simple, least pretentious suicide lyrics I’ve ever seen. Which makes the song kind of scary, to be honest. The tune is haunting (and of course the video is bizzare, but strangely appropriate.)
Some other impressive non-single tracks include the meloncholy “Hating”, the exceptionally heavy and misanthropic “Beat It Upright”, and the worthy closing track, “No One’s There.” I’ve attempted to fit all of these songs on homeburned ‘best-of’ cd’s and they represent the most promise for Korn’s future with their sentimental melodies and intriguing sonic textures. “No One’s There” is in fact probably my favorite song here behind “Hollow Life”, as both songs take an uncharactaristic approach to Korn’s familiar emotional intensity.
Even the so-called-’mediocre’ tracks have their moments. The somewhat predictable aggro track “Bottled Up Inside” has some cool harmonies and riffs in the chorus. The groove of “One More Time” is deffinitly listenable, if not necessarily a highlight of the album. “I’m Hiding” is mostly lukewarm but has an amazing chorus.
The two most annoying songs for me would have to be the Static-X-ish moshing track “Embrace”, and “Wake Up Hate” which sort of like Marilyn Manson-meets-Ministry-meets-… well, Korn. Even though I don’t particularely like either of these two songs, I approve of the chances the band took in writing them. Wake Up Hate in particular resembles nothing else Korn has ever done or has done since. I don’t think the industrial shoe fits on Korn’s feet, but I would rather be disappointed with the chances the band took than the chances the band didn’t take.
This may very well be the last great Korn record… but if that turns out to be true, it was a good way to go out. Despite it’s shortcomings, I strongly recommend this album both for devote fans of the band and casual listeners… it stands as a monument to what Korn once was: a beacon of innovation and creativity in a mostly shallow and predictable genre of music.
Its been nearly 3 long years since music’s most compelling band has released an album. Many fans who thought “Issues” was a bit flat (which granted, it was) were eagerly anticipating KoRn’s next release in the hopes that it would save “nu-metal” from the past 3 years of monotonous, imitator music put out by polised, radio friendly bands like Disturbed, Linkin Park, Puddle of Crap, etc. Well fans of real music, the day has arrived. “Untouchables” is here and it does not dissappoint. I, like thousands of others, downloaded this CD back in March, but I also made damn sure that I was one of the first in line to buy the CD midnight on June 11th. This is a great CD, as its the next logical progression from “Issues”. If I were to compare it to any other KoRn album, it would probably be “Issues”, only “Untouchables” has much more memorable riffs, choruses, and songs in general. “Issues” seemed thrown together and each song seemed to bleed into the next with no real focus. “Untouchables”, however, is very well put together. Practically every song is memorable and KoRn pushes the boundaries of their sound on songs like “Hollow Life”, which has a very serious/eerie vibe to it. Then you have songs like “Hating”, which has an 80s electronica vibe to it with a very big, epic sound. “Wake Up Hate” has a major techno/rave sound while still remainng quite heavy. The great thing about this album is that it is innovative, and it makes the other wannabe bands in the scene look very unoriginal and stupid. Albums like this are what is needed to keep the scene legitimate and keep it evolving. Its a shame that bands like Coal Chamber, Nothingface, and Deftones, (just to name a few) don’t get enough publicity because they’re raw and cutting-edge, and bands like Drowning Pool & Limp Bizkit are all over media because they play catchy, pointless songs with a recycled KoRn sound. I hope “Untouchables” sells millions of copies, and I hope KoRn finally get the noteriety and respect they disserve. No, this album is not as good as their 1st (but what album is?) but it is still very very badass. Here’s a brief rundown of the songs:1)”Here To Stay” – 9/10 (1st single; picture a riot starting to this song)2)”Make Believe” – 6/10 (only song I might call flat; very slow, spooky-core vibe to it)3)”Blame” – 9/10 (very good song; possibly the best on the album)4)”Hollow Life” – 9/10 (very origional and different; creepy, gothic feel to it; great singing)5)”Bottled Up Inside” – 8/10 (great opening rhythm; heavy chugging guitars; awesome, slow jam session around the 2:27-2:52 mark)6)”Thoughtlessness” – 9/10 (2nd single; very dynamic; Jonathon shouts angrily ocassionally, reminescent of the old days)7)”Hating” – 9/10 (not a typical KoRn song, but I love it; great chorus; almost a ballad)8)”One More Time” – 7/10 (gothic, loungy feel to it; okay song)9)”Alone I Break” – 7/10 (no heavy parts in this song; very industrial; NIN vibe; cool singing though)10)”Embrace” – 9/10 (very good song; good energy; could be heaviest song on the album)11)”Beat It Upright” – 8/10 (wickedly heavy opening rhythm; very cool, very perverted song)12)”Wake Up Hate” – 8/10 (heavy techno/industrial/rave song; hint of NIN at some parts)13)”I’m Hiding” – 7/10 (starts out brutally heavy; song itself kind of drags, jon saves it with a great chorus)14)”No One’s There” – 6/10 (this song didn’t make an impression on me; not bad, just a bit slow and monotonous)15)”Here To Stay Remix” – 7/10 (not bad; you can understand the lyrics better; it’ll get your head bobbing)Thanks for reading this. I hope this album made a similar impression on you as well. KoRn owns!!!