Sound — 8
This is Korn's first album (1994), recorded by Ross Robinson with very little funding. It shows - you can almost hear how old fashioned it sounds. For me, this adds to the rawness of the album. It reflects the songs themselves - uncouth, in-your-face and making no attempt at subtlety. J. Davis (vocalist) uses a lot of vocal belting (growling) and some screaming, as well as low-pitched almost toneless talking. This is the album that invented nu-metal, and it's a hellish rage-fest. The bass is almost entirely percussive, which adds to the groovy, in-your-face nature of the entire album, and the use of distorted 7-string guitars makes this one a head-bobbing album to remember.
Lyrics — 9
In a world where many artists try and shroud the point they're trying to make in subtle word-play, this album takes that idea and places it not very neatly where the Sun doesn't shine. Davis' lyrics never try to mask the hurt that he's been through. Never is this more apparent than in the final song, or "Faget." Many of the songs reflect either drugs, school or Davis' troubled childhood. Considering Davis had no idea what he was doing vocally, his singing is incredible. There are few vocalists who can put so much emotion into their songs, be it love, pain or hate.
Overall Impression — 8
As this album was the first of its genre, there really is nothing to compare it to. The closest thing that comes to mind is Slipknot's debut album. I'll go through every track on the album with a general review of its sound.
01. "Blind" - 50 seconds of slowly building guitar parts followed by one of the most classic bits in metal - Davis growling "ARE YOU READY?!" Few moments can make someone want to head-bang more than that one. The verse is dark and creepy, with wobbly belting throughout, followed eventually by faster-paced belted rap-style verses. Downtuned, dark and gritty from start to end.
02. "Ball Tongue" - Explodes into action with Silveria's drumming dominating the intro. Davis' low pitched teeth gritting vocals take place in the verse before belting into the almost nonsense utterance chorus, with guitarist Head Welch providing backing vocals. This song is more angry than paranoid, unlike the previous song.
03. "Need To" - Fieldy's percussive bass takes point for the intro on this. The verse is less downtuned, more high pitched, while the chorus uses screaming and a more distant, dark musical direction.
04. "Clown" - Begins with out-takes from the studio. music at 45 seconds through. Main guitar riff is very distorted, almost grungy. Verse uses dark whispering vocals while the chorus contradicts with sludgy guitars and belting vocals. Very slow, sludgy, generally pissed-off track.
05. "Divine" - Much faster paced with a catchy riff, using belting throughout. Very angry vocals, and a head-banging tune.
06. "Faget" - My favourite from the album. Very slow, grungy, downtuned riff. The song deals with school bullying, and if you've ever suffered it, this song is the angry, p-ssed-off hate anthem to get it out of your system. The word "bada-s" comes to mind.
07. "Shoots and Ladders" - Begins with bagpipes - the song is a play on nursery rhymes with a very dark twist. Slow pace and a chorus from your nightmares.
08. "Predictable" - Another stand-out track for me, with a very catchy grunge-riff and belting throughout the song. The chorus has a falling guitar tone and echoed drawn out vocals.
09. "Fake" - Starts immediately with main riff. Chorus features very off-tune groans and verses let the bass take point.
10. "Lies" - Starts with a catchy guitar riff, with bass and drums working perfectly together. Very high pitched distorted guitars on verses, with angry shouting on the chorus.
11. "Helmet in the Bush" - Doom and gloom feel constantly. Whispered slow verses and building belting choruses.
12. "Daddy" - Let's face it. This song is the reason for buying this album. It's not my favourite but it's up there. The bass dominates the verses, and the entire song is gut-wrenchingly bleak. The lyrics would draw you to tears if Davis weren't belting them like a maniac. It's when the song progresses and the crying starts, however, that you truly realise the level of emotion put into this song, and the album as a whole. A truly unsettling song, and all the better for it. I love it.
That is all 12 songs on the album. The standout tracks are "Blind," "Faget," "Predictable" and "Daddy." There's nothing to dislike in this album, as a Korn fan. One or two songs are the kind you'd skip, but you fail to care with the truly hateful material this album is full of, and let's face it, why else do we listen to early Korn, other than to vent the hate inside? All in all, a p-ssed-off, truly bada-s album.