By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
Issues alternates between short moody bits and well-crafted songs: Nearly every track packs a catchy melody, memorable riff, head-bobbing beat, or lyrical hook, and Davis goes easy on the Tasmanian Devil impersonations. Yet while upping Follow the Leader's pop ante, Issues rocks like the Grand Canyon. As with Radiohead and NIN, Korn's ingredients reference rock, but its sonics echo techno, and the album's seismic bass frequencies push beyond metal into depths plummeted only by underground dance music.
Yeah, Korn's still a male thing, but the video for "Falling Away From Me" puts a female protagonist in the Davis position. Memories of Dad's recent whippings flash by as Korn supernaturally materialize in her bedroom to blast the hurt away. Dad returns for another attack, but fellow teen neighbors rally round the suburban house, punching fists in the air, and lead her to safety. This is classic metal iconography turned sympathetic and subversive by destroying the distance between boy rocker and female fan: They're both beaten, and both go to a place where paternal abuse can't reach. It's a fantasy, but a good one, and it speaks well of Korn and even director Durst.
Judging by the Woodstock '99 rapes that reportedly began with Korn's set, Davis's embattled conscience is lost on the same lugheads who flocked to Nirvana's noise without reaching its tender center. (Remember that story about the sickos who recited "Polly" while molesting their victim?) Neither cartoon firebrands like Rage Against the Machine nor inept frat boys like Pimp Bizkit, Korn are far more complicated than the scene they've engendered, and Davis seems destined to enter rock's freak pantheon, with or without the leash. For the moment, though, Korn face their greatest challengeschooling kids who would've fucked them up in junior high.