Korn – Follow The Leader (1998)

Nu Metal was seen mostly as a niche genre of heavy metal music. Before the release of this album the genre and band were not taken very seriously by music listeners. This album, Follow The Leader, changed that. It made Korn into superstars.

Does the album live up to the hype? Let’s find out.

We begin with the weird sounding It’s On! which then has a groove based beat and some freaky sounding distorted guitars. We head into Nu Metal territory right here, and it sounds demonic. Jonathan Davis’s ripping vocals enter the scene. The groovy sounding chorus hits you. A good way to start the album. It is totally different to most music out there.

The next song is Freak On A Leash. It’s about being ripped apart by emotions. The drumming here is excellent with rolling snare beats, leaving the rest of the band filling in with the distorted guitars and quiet/loud dynamics. The chorus is strange uplifting for a singer sounding like he is having some personal issues at hand. It’s brilliant though. Catchy too. The drop tuned guitars are fantastic to hear.

Got The Life, another hit single, is very catchy. It sounds like satanic disco, and the interplay between the instruments and singing are top notch. Jonathan Davis sounds like a man full of fear and rage, not many singers can fit that description. It is still a great listen today. It refers to a God that hates oneself. If you are Christian, stay away from this album. It is certain heavy listening.

Dead Bodies Everywhere is a slow start with a toy sounding melody, before bursting into a Nu Metal style danceable tune. That’s right, these guys had a great sense of musical accomplishment at hand. It’s not as strong as the two before it, but it’s a deeply disturbing listen. There is some semi wah-wah guitar sounds in the breakdown too.

The rebellious Children Of The Korn is a rap/metal piece. It sounds better than you’d expect. It’s just different, in a good way. It seems more subtle than what came before. Ice Cube is featured here as the rapper, and does a great job. This sort of song would likely have got some good attention here for Korn.

The next piece, B.B.K. sounds creepy. It’s designed to sound that way. This is almost like Industrial Music in the respect that it sounds rather freaky. But in any case, it still sounds consistent to listen to. The semi rapped jibberish on this one is interesting as well. This album is very heavy indeed.

Pretty is not what you’d expect. It sounds monstrous in the chorus, whilst being quieter in the verses, a good Nirvana style trick. The lyrics are horrific, taking a likely influence from Death Metal or a similar source. Sort of a cross between Nirvana and Slayer. It’s effective though.

All In The Family is a rather disturbing tale of horrific sex. It’s not really worth mentioning in this review as it is rather disturbing lyrical adventure. It’s a good listen if you want to hear some freaky stuff though.

The next song, Reclaim My Place has some more unusual guitars and bass work once again, focuses on personal issues. Strangely enough, this seems to be the case throughout the album. It’s a lesser track on the album but still, it’s okay. It’s about fighting demons from within and without. The repeated screaming of the phrase: “WHAT THE FUCK?!” is epic and brilliant.

Up next is Justin. Surprisingly for a Nu Metal band, these guys can groove too. This is a case in point, this is a heavy, groove based piece. It has some good wah-wah guitar and multi-tracked sound effects and vocals. This makes for a compelling listen. Korn sounding heavier than most forms of music out there, and this is an example of that. This song is rather long though, it could have benefitted from some editing here. Otherwise, it’s okay.

Seed begins with some quiet sounds, before launching into more Nu Metal goodness. It is rather slow to begin with, but once Jonathan Davis begins singing, we are back in Nu Metal territory. It sounds like a plea for help from the singer here. It breaks down into a mid-section with bass guitar and excellent drumming, before beginning to rock hard. It’s a surprising listen all the way through.

Cameltosis begins with some goosebump inducing sounds, sounding like a distorted electric sitar. It then goes into a song asking a woman of fancy what she wants sexually. You could only imagine the restrictions by those who find this album scary towards others, namely parents and authorities. This is not light music at all, it is some of the heaviest music you will hear. The drum loop at the end is awesome.

The next song, My Gift To You starts with, get this, bagpipe style sounds with Nu Metal guitars. It’s certainly different, but better than the last two songs for sure. It’s another great listen from the world of Nu Metal here. It has some down-pitched distorted vocals here too. Great stuff. It certainly sounds warped. The repeated screams about hating someone and feeling the pain are brilliant.

The last piece Earache My Eye starts with a spoken word piece. It seems totally unnecessary to begin with. The last piece here is a nonsensical Nu Metal piece. It finishes off the album quite nicely, and we come to a close here.

Nu Metal rose in popularity after the release of this album. It’s not the best album ever, but it’s not bad still. The only real drawback? Many of the songs here are quite long, some editing of the length of album would have helped. Otherwise, it is a good entry to the world of Nu Metal here.

7/10

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