Sound — 9
Korn return once again with their 8th full length studio album, Untitled, their 2nd under Virgin Records. Untitled marks the first record without drummer David Silveria, who is out on 'hiatus', and their 2nd without guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. A lot of people expected this album to be another 'See You On The Other Side', Korn's 2005 effort, which is far from the truth. Gaining help from drummers Terry Bozzio (Frank Zappa, Missing Persons) and Brooks Wakerman (Bad Religion) along with touring keyboardist Zac Baird, Korn have truly redeemed themselves this time around. Returning to co-produce alongside Jonathan Davis is infamous Trent Reznor collaborator Atticus Ross, who gives the album a Nine Inch Nails industrial feel. Keyboardist Zac Baird makes his presence known, as piano, synth, and ambiance is used quite often throughout this album. Also in this album, we also see more of bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu's signature bass slapping technique, which was absent on much of SYOTOS, and can be heard on tracks such as Ever Be and I Will Protect You. Untitled perfects what previous effort SYOTOS attempted. The atmospheres, guitars, and effects seem to fit together perfectly this time around, which felt too forced and out of place before. This is a refreshing change of pace and is definitely what Korn needed to get back on top. Imagine putting 'Untouchables', 'See You On The Other Side', and Jon's work in the 'Queen of the Damned' soundtrack in a blender. You'll have Korn's Untitled album. Here's a breakdown of the album tracks: 01. Intro - this starts the album off with piano and ambiance that becomes eerie carnival-esq music until the band comes in. It helps set the mood for the album. 02. Starting Over - great opening track. The bridge is great, and features some melodic and catchy singing by JD. 03. Bitch We Got A Problem - this is a song I think Marylin Manson and Nine Inch Nails fans will enjoy. This song goes heavy on the bass. Good track, but not the best. It gets a little weird. 04. Evolution - the first single from the album. This song is about mankind being essentially apes inside. This is a very catchy song with a chorus that you'll find yourself singing later on. 05. Hold On - one of the best songs of the album. This album sports catchy verses and has an almost old school Korn vibe to it, especially in the singing. 06. Kiss - this is a very beautiful song that was inspired by The Beetle's "Strawberry Fields". This ballad is definately a stand out track. Melodic and powerful. 07. Do What They Say - this song is dark and heavy, but it doesn't stand out much and becomes kind of boring after a few listens. It's okay. 08. Ever Be - the best song on the whole album. Guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer describes it as being like the movie 300 set to song, and it truly holds up. This is a very Epic song with a climactic ending. This song was aimed at ex-guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, who left the band for religious reasons. 09. Love And Luxury - this song is the poppiest on the album, but it still maintains some heaviness. Some will hate this song, but I loved it and it really stuck to me. It has a very memorable hook. This was also aimed at Head, which becomes obvious right away with the line, "I read your little book and ha ha ha." 10. Innocent Bystander - just like "Do What They Say", it's nothing special. It's an okay track that doesn't really stand out much. 11. Killing - formerly called "Trained Response". This is the heaviest song on the album, and has an almost death metal part that sorta springs out of nowhere. 12. Hushabye - this is a softer song. Munky does something unusual for Korn and picks up a mandolin. This song really great track. 13. I Will Protect You - JD leaked this track on MySpace a few months ago to give fans a taste of what they were working on and it is the first song they completed for the album. This song sports a progressive type breakdown showcasing Bozzio's drumming. A great closing track for a great album.
Lyrics — 8
Jonathan Davis pulls out all the stops in this album. His vocals range from the soft singing in ballad "Kiss" to death metal style low growl in "Killing". The album's lyrical themes range from his near death experience with a rare blood disorder to mankind being no better than apes to anger towards ex-guitarist Brian "Head" Welch.
Overall Impression — 9
I didn't know what to expect from Korn now that they are down to only 3 original members, but Korn surprised the hell out of me with this. I can't really find a bad thing to say about this record. Although it may take a few listens to really get into the album, it is definitely the best thing since Issues. Untitled has what their last works were missing.