Twenty Years Ago or So
1994 saw the release of Korn's self titled album and while I wasn't aware of the bands major recording debut, I was aware of the reception given by some of the older fans of the endearing genre of heavy metal. I heard the terms such as useless noise and trash strewn about when it came to the album and at one point, one describes the song Daddy as the whiniest ballad ever. Keep in mind that even some of my own friends who listened to the likes of Deicide and Pantera said the same. With that, I asked why they didn't like it. Their response? It's too different and not the same.
It wasn't until 2003 that I gave the band an honest try. It was the Metallica MTV Icon awards that I saw them cover One, but it was a mere cover of the song rather than an original. My good friend from New Jersey and life long fan of Korn coerced me into listening to the band. It happened to come in the form of the Did My Time single. With that, I went and bought their self titled album and gave it a full listen. To my surprise, it wasn't bad at all. It wasn't the noise and trash that the people mentioned to me nine years earlier made it to be. Sure, it was different, but a good different.
Since I didn't follow the trends of music from 1994 to 2003, I decided to brush up and look back in that nine year time span. Lo and behold, there was a trend that sprouted after the release of their first album. There were a lot of new bands that took on the sound, but not really duplicate it. It's clear that the formula and the sound of their first album and subsequently their second album worked. Even established bands such as Machine Head took on that sound and even played the intro to Blind live.
The release of The Path to Totality marks another hallmark in the bands career and while their previous albums prior to Korn III had a different sound, it wasn't as different as the 2011 release. It is ridiculous to say that the band invented the concept of guitars, but they molded that sound into something unheard of prior to their first release. This is the same with The Path of Totality.
While the band clearly didn't invent the concept and idea of dubstep, what they did by incorporating that subgenre of electronica was almost unheard of outside of the occasional rock and metal remixes. And what makes this different than the remixes? The songs featured in the album were composed and constructed to be one cohesive entity.
At first I didn't like techno and electronic music that people know of today. I had my reasons ranging from 'it didn't use real instruments and a lap top isn't an instrument' to the people that listen to it. I was eventually coerced by close friends of mine into giving the genre another try and I actually like it. (I still hate Sandstorm.) And while it doesn't in fact uses instruments that people associate with making music, it's still constructed and composed in the same vein to the music made with traditional instruments. It also helps that the internet help catapult this music further as EDM producers are able to share it easily amongst their peers, thus launching their career. It's in the same vein to that of people making mixed cassette tapes back in the 80's with various metal music.
With their single Never Never being released, it is clear that the band are continuing with the dubstep elements. I do find it amusing to see comments that are similar to when the first Korn album was released twenty years ago. "This is garbage", "Stupid and nothing but noise", and of course... "This isn't what music is!" What makes it even funnier for me is the fact that it's more than likely these people that are bashing Korn had the same or similar comments thrown to them when they first started listening to the band. Keep in mind that Munky said it was inspired by Issues and even possibly Untouchables. He didn't say that it was going to sound exactly like those two albums.
The way I see The Paradigm Shift is the same way that I see Life Is Peachy. The second album fleshed out and refined the sound that was featured in the self titled release and if the single and the news surrounding the upcoming album is any indication, it will also do the same in that sense. It's very hard to take reviews from others since one reviewer mentioned that there was no slow songs at all. However, that didn't rule out mid-tempo songs such as Never Never.
In short, change is a good thing. There's only a handful of bands that can keep the basic formula and slightly alter it and get away with it with every release, but it doesn't work with every band. Bands such as AC/DC, Motorhead, Behemoth, and Slayer can do that due to their reputation, but bands such as Korn, Iron Maiden, and Rush can alter their sound and still keep their identity intact.
October 8th will come and go and we will all get our new Korn fix. While I don't expect to change the minds of people that have decided that this release isn't worth picking up, I just hope that it gives them an insight of the type of thinking that plagues with any fandom. If you like the music, then that's cool. If you don't, then that's cool too. At the very least, give it a try, it might turn out to be a good thing.
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Re: Twenty Years Ago or So
If anyone ever tries to say that "Daddy" is whiny to my face I will kick their teeth out. A song having pure emotion isn't whiny. JD had huge balls for publishing a song about being molested.
Maybe if Jonathan Davis wore skinny jeans with a bullet belt and white facepaint, grunted like Cookie Monster, with the band playing as fast as they could, maybe 'Daddy' would sound less "whiny" to all the haters.
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