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Korn - Greatest Hits, Volume 1 Print E-mail
Tuesday, 05 October 2004


Greatest Hits, Volume 1
format: 16-bit Stereo CD
label: Epic/Immortal
release year: 2004
performance: 8
sound 8
reviewed by: Dan MacIntosh

You just have to scratch your head over this singles collection from a band that emphatically sings, “Y'all want a single/say fuck that/Fuck that, fuck that” on one track titled -- appropriately enough -- “Y’All Want a Single.” It almost goes without saying that fans of the heavy rock band Korn just aren’t into the whole “singles” scene. And since the band isn’t so big on singles, it’s hardly thrilled about hits, either. But record companies must capitalize on their bands’ most popular tracks, so for what it’s worth, here’s a “hits” CD from the ever hit-shy Korn.
Although much of this music may not be selling like hotcakes on itunes and filling up MP3 players these days, this collection still provides a nice overview of what makes a unique group like Korn tick. Naturally, Jonathan Davis is both the focal and vocal point of this group’s presentation. His songs of emotional desperation are what most often drive the group. He can go from a near whisper, as heard on “Alone I Brake,” to the nearly Neanderthal grunts that drive “Twist,” where he comes off sounding something like Fred Flintstone on a bad voice day leading Red Hot Chili Peppers. Elsewhere, he shows off some of the other moves in his repertoire, as he gets whiny and sneering on “Did My Time” and breathy on “Clown.” Too many of today’s singers can only croon and scream, whereas Davis is a fine example of vocal versatility.

Heavy rock is Korn’s forte, even though this band does not always live by the pounding riff alone. For instance, this CD includes a cover of Cameo’s “Word Up!”, and dang if it’s not funkier than expected – at least for this group of guys straight out of Bakersfield. Also, after its spooky keyboard intro, “Freak On A Leash” also includes a semi-electro dance section at one juncture. Of course, these stylistic departures won’t give the likes of Cameo a run for their money any time soon. But for novice fans, it’s a welcome break from all the emotional and musical heaviness throughout.

Speaking of heaviness, perhaps nobody gets down as low musically as does Korn during its extra bassy bits. They sound like a growling dog just about to attack at times, with their combined guitars and slapping electric bass. The playing is always tight, but you won’t hear much instrumental showing off here. This band isn’t in this to spotlight its licks. Instead, it’s closer to a public confessional. During “Falling Away From Me,” for example, Davis sings: “Leading me down, down/Into the ground.” Such sentiments may not be subtle, but they’re nevertheless effective.

Instead of being motivated by singles, you might say Korn is singularly motivated, instead. They mix in minor key melodies with melodramatic words to pack a surefire emotional punch. Ultimately, this collection finds the band at its greatest.

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