Korn – Take A Look in the Mirror

Korn is Korn is Korn is Korn is Korn. Despite slight adjustments to their sound over the years, Korn’s basic approach to music has been the same. Take a Look in the Mirror, the band’s latest effort, is yet another attempt to capture the raw energy and aggression presented to us on the band’s debut release. With lead singer Jonathon Davis acting as producer, this album suffers a bit from a lack of direction, but does slightly move the band away from radio friendly territory (even if only a few inches) and back towards the anger that originally propelled them into the spotlight.

The disc kicks off with “Right Now”, the band’s current single. Along with “Did My Time”, these two tracks carry much of the weight of the disc. Other songs on the album may be heavier, but none are as cohesive as these two.

“Break Some Off” shows a glimmer of hope for the band. The first half of the song is garbage, with Davis swapping back and forth between screaming and whispering — however, the guys turn it up a notch in the second half. Were it not for Fieldy’s signature bass sound, you might mistake the second half of “Break Some Off” as … oh I don’t know, someone else. But heavier.

Despite hanging on to their instantly identifiable (and somewhat nerve-grinding) bass tone, the guitars have progressed from 2002′s Untouchables. Long gone are the squealing and screeching noises that once imminated from the group’s guitarists. Most everything here is tuned-down open chords, creating big sheets of tone with bass slaps stabbing through.

There are good and bad reasons for producing your own record. Without a producer in the studio to guide bands, pop egos, and provide brutally honest feedback, songs often become unfocused. You can feel this a bit in “Here It Comes Again” and “Deep Inside”, two tracks that have good parts but eventually meander off the path. The good news is, without a producer, bands are often more likely to experiement and release something closer to their personal vision without the pressures of glossing everything over.

Take A Look In The Mirror unfortunately contains “Play Me”, yet another attempt to incorporate rap into Korn — this time with NAS on vocals. It just doesn’t work. It was a bad idea three albums ago when they did it with Ice Cube, and it’s still a bad idea now. Nobody wants to hear this. The only good thing about this entire track is it doesn’t contain 2Pac.

After “When Will This End”, one of the discs heavier tracks, comes Korn’s cover of Metallica’s “One”, first unveiled on MTV’s Icon: Metallica tribute. As my neice explained to me, “that’s one of their OLD songs.” Thanks, I needed that stab in the heart.

Overall, Korn has listened to their fans, dropped the thick production and returned to their roots with some aggressive, angry, and agressive songs. While Few of the songs hit the bullseye, most of them manage to at least stick in the dartboard somewhere. The radio singles and angrier songs are a step in the right direction, but the wimpy tracks have got to go.

01. Right Now – Dirty Version
02. Break Some Off
03. Counting On Me
04. Here It Comes Again
05. Deep Inside
06. Did My Time
07. Everything I’ve Known
08. Play Me (featuring Nas)
09. Alive
10. Let’s Do This Now
11. I’m Done
12. Ya’ll Want A Single
13. When Will This End
14. One

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