Korn Untouchables
Grade
B+
 
Also Try
Disturbed
Queen of the Damned Soundtrack
Orgy

Korn has become well known for their style: a mixture of genres (hip-hop, alternative, techno) merged together into an abrasive metal amalgam. Focusing on deep fuzzy bass lines and a steady beat as the backbone, the guitars are often less conventional layers of noise, a pleasant step away from the standard rock anthems. Davis, the angst-ridden vocalist who seems to have issues with just about everything in life, sings with a range from brutal growls and screams to melodic vocal harmonies. Fans of the band can take this description of Korn's music as a standard (especially considering they spawned so many rip-off bands).

In Untouchables, though, things have changed. Davis' vocals are far more melodic and while showing a range of emotions manage to spend less time yelling and growling. Apparently, he's kept his jaws clenched far too long. Musically, Untouchables shows a more 80's techno rock influence, peppered with the gothic music style the Davis created for the Queen of the Damned Soundtrack. In fact, if you listened to that album, a lot of the musical style in this one would seem familiar. There is a lot more use of synthesizers and most of the album feels more laid-back. While most of the tracks retain Korn's musical formula, there are a number of times where the guitar-lines sound more straightforward and even the bass tracks don't come across as so overbearingly fuzzy.

That's not to say that there isn't some heavy, in-your-face tracks. The opening track, Here to Stay lays down a seriously brutal opening riff that's sure to shake your speakers. Embrace is a powerful track, opening angry and then moving to a strong, oddly harmonic chorus. For straight pulsing metal, Beat It Upright is going to get you moving to the groove. Outside of what you might expect from Korn, there is a wide variety of tracks that show that Korn isn't stuck in one gear. Wake Up Hate shows an industrial metal influence, akin to Ministry. Both Hollow Life and Alone I Break show a heavy techno-rock influence, sounding similar to Orgy and Stabbing Westward.

If you were expecting the second-coming of the self-titled debut, Untouchables isn't it. What Untouchables is, though, is a nice progression in style. Korn seems to have avoided growing stale by altering their formula, much like Marilyn Manson did with Mechanical Animals. For those who thought Korn was growing too full of itself, allowing everyone under the sun to do a guest spot on a track, you'll be pleased that this album is 100% Korn, even if it is a different Korn than most are used to.

- - Kinderfeld

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