All right. It finally happened. I didn’t think that it could happen but that goes to show you what I know. KORN wrote an entire album that I like. Yeah, I was shocked too. Their entire back catalog is filled with albums full of hit or miss tracks that either really rock or simply fade into oblivion. But their fifth full length record, entitled “Untouchables” is something of a statement. It combines the better elements of all their previous works into a spiraling album of dark edges, nightmare rhythms, and an overall suffocating density of heaviness that simply blows all of their previous material out of the water.
Strangely enough, I have found that fans of their earlier material tend to dislike this album. So warning being said now, if you thought that “Follow The Leader” was the be all and end all of what Nu Metal is, then you might as well skip this album. It just might make you cry.
What I enjoyed so much about “Untouchables” is that KORN has taken the elements that I loved about the band and made an entire album out of them instead of a few choice cuts. The hard hitting and Grammy winning opener “Here To Stay” is heavy, catchy, and immensely dark in its conception and it sets up an album that will crush all preconceptions of what KORN is. But despite some of their heaviest tracks of their career included on this album (who knew that the band could be so damn aggressive like on “Wake Up Hate”?) but they also counteract the heavy with their Gothic tendencies in the most efficient manner too. “Make Believe” and “Hollow Life” display these elements beautifully and Jonathon Davis gets to shine his range wonderfully with these great ranges for the band.
Even though the band is writing some of their most expressive and darkest material to date, one of my favorite things about “Untouchables” is that the band has reduced the amount of Rap influence on the record. Although there will always be that slap bass technique incorporated and the vocal arrangements with have that staccato style similar to Rap, this record uses them to a limited degree on the album and it feels as though the band is their most ‘Metal’ that they have ever been. It’s probably why some of the older fans scoff at this release. Oh well.
“Untouchables” just nails what I have wanted to hear from KORN. It’s their heaviest most ‘Metal’ record to its release, and the range and talents displayed by the band are the best of their career. It’s still the catchy radio friendly KORN that we know from the past but this is one of the best releases they have ever done and the first album I’ve enjoyed in its entirety. “Untouchables” is a shock to the system but a damn fine shock.
Songs to check out: “Here To Stay”, “Hollow Life”, “Wake Up Hate”.
(Online April 7, 2009)