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THE METAL OBSERVER - Review - KORN - Follow The Leader

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Rating explanation

Korn - Follow The Leader (8,5/10) - USA - 1998

Genre: Nu-Metal
Label: Immortal
Playing time: 70:08
Band homepage: Korn


  1. It's On!
  2. Freak On A Leash
  3. Got The Life
  4. Dead Bodies Everywhere
  5. Children Of The Korn
  6. B.B.K.
  7. Pretty
  8. All In The Family
  9. Reclaim My Place
  10. Justin
  11. Seed
  12. Cameltosis
  13. My Gift To You
  14. [hidden "Earache My Eye"]
Korn - Follow The Leader
KORN's back with their third release in 1998 and the only thing one can say is: "Is that really KORN?". Taking the sound they had used on their two preceding releases, they have deconstructed and reconstructed it so more arrangements could be used and the music would become more versatile. Careful now, if you're a fan of "Life Is Peachy" or their self-titled and never heard this record before, you'll see it's a huge step [forward?] from those two. I even had to check the cover of "Follow The Leader" twice while listening to it just to make sure it was the right band I was playing.

Controversial, this album really isn't that complicated. Some will see it as the band's "sellout CD", but I don't agree with such a statement. Lots and lots of experimentations make this CD a must buy really. You've got some electronics in there, some rap rhymes, some weird guitars noises, some DJ-scratching as well as other not so orthodox elements (Hm, all of those elements mean that it is absolutely NOT suited for me... - Alex). The members really decided to push their musicianship as far as they could on "Follow The Leader" and you can clearly see they have evolved for the better. David's drumming is as well-balanced as ever, but sometimes balance is so boring... well, he isn't! He's very original in his techniques and won't hesitate to innovate either! Head and Munky will get rid of most of those easy powerchords and will truly mix their personality within each riff or lead. Fieldy is as noisy as ever, but has cooled down his happy happy string-slapping a bit and developed a more mature bassplay. And Jonathan... well he's changed a lot, too. Jon's voice isn't as deep as it used to be and it doesn't convey as many emotions anymore. Though far from being boring, I believe he should/could have retained more elements from the previous records, because he really had something going on, but on this record, his vox sound more like rap or just barking. You still get that feeling this guy is demented though and you got to admit he's a damn good singer. Oh and he can still play those bagpipes! Listen to the intro of the song "My Gift To You" and see for yourself! My favourite tracks on this one are "Freak On A Leash", "Dead Bodies Everywhere", "It's On" and "My Gift To You", but I really think there is no bad song on that album. The bonus track "Earache My Eye", is quite good as well and has the voice of non other than Cheech Marin [from the Cheech And Chong movies] as guest vocals.

Following in the footsteps of "Life Is Peachy", "Follow The Leader" has a whole bunch of guest appearances and though they might feel welcomed at first, you can easily see they will spell doom for KORN. Let me introduce the cameos first and explain my theory after that. You've got ICE CUBE on the song "Children Of The Korn", he's your basic everythingisfuckedupinthisworldsolet'swhineaboutit kind of rapper so there's not much fun there. Then there's Fred Durst on "All In The Family", an all-time enemy of the Metal-community, he's also seen as a [guess what!] Metal-singer! For those of you who don't know him he's doing the vox for LIMP BIZKIT. The song is nice though and shows some kind of rivalry between the two guys and bands. Last but not least, Mr. Hardson from PHARCYDE sings on "Cameltosis", one of the more moody songs on the record. Doom I said? I meant the end of KORN! Being associated with rappers and such [!)($&%?] singers as Fred Durst will obviously make people think KORN is turning into "Rap-Metal" or "mall-core" or something like that. I prefer not to try to categorize KORN in any genre of music, this way everyone is happy and no one's e-mailing Mathieu with death-threats. And what about all those commercial issues? I don't want to discuss this, but I think the band has gained popularity through this record and not that the record was made to gain popularity. My two cents on the subject.

This is an excellent album if you're looking for something original and if you don't care about the fact that you've probably already heard half of the record on the radio. PLAY IT LOUD.

Mathieu Bibeau

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