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CD Reviews: Review of See You On the Other Side by Korn
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Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com Korn: See You On The Other Side (Virgin Records 2005)

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I suppose the writing was on the wall leading up to the release of See You on the Other Side. In February of 2005 longtime guitarist Brian “Head” Welch departed the band to become a holy roller. His justification for that decision continues to this day with mind-boggling quotes like “I hate religion. I love God.” After deciding not to enlist a new guitarist and continue as a quartet, the band brought in the Matrix to produce the album. Yes, friends, the Matrix’s resume contains such crushing hard rock acts as Avril Lavigne and Hilary Duff. That the band is off their rockers goes without saying, but their desperate attempt to separate themselves from the genre they created only comes off as an embarrassment.

The success of “Word Up,” a cover of Cameo’s 1986 hit – available on Korn’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1, has undoubtedly influenced the sound and approach to See You on the Other Side. The album’s first track, “Twisted Transistor,” verified my deepest fears regarding where this band was headed. Overproduced on the scale of today’s worst pop acts, Korn is attempting the impossible task of appealing to their longtime fans who have been on the train since 1994 and clubbers who think they’re the ones who wrote “Another Brick in the Wall” after listening to the aforementioned Greatest Hits album.

It only gets more confusing from here, as singer Jonathan Davis crassly spews about politics and sex. Take the song “Politics,” for example. The main verse runs "Don't give a shit about politics…Don't want to talk about politics." Okay, so why write a song about it? Because it’s the trendy thing to do, that’s why. Every band ranging from rock to bluegrass has an anti-government anthem these days. Davis’ rants about sex are shockingly misogynistic and filthy. Song titles such as “10 or a 2-Way” and “Getting Off” should give you a good idea of what to expect, but you’ll likely feel like taking a shower after listening to them.

Musically the band as a whole still sounds pretty good, but they are desperately missing the back-and-forth antics of Welch and fellow guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer. Munky is saddled with the entire load this time around, and his down-tuned 7-string still packs a punch. His riffing on “Hypocrites” and “Souvenir” is vintage Korn. Bassist Fieldy and drummer David Silveria can still bring the goods, although they are simply overpowered at times by Davis and Shaffer.

Times are changing and Korn knew it going into this record. Their brand of music is fizzling out in favor of more traditional, aggressive, multiple guitar-laden metal acts. See You on the Other Side is a last-ditch effort to stay relevant, but it falls short. The best days of Korn are long over, but they will nevertheless still be remembered, like them or not, as a landmark band who brought an entirely new form of metal to the table back in 1994. Whether See You on the Other Side is band’s farewell experiment I do not know, but one thing is for certain: they will never be the same again, and they’d be better off just hanging it up.

~Bill Clark 





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