Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Korn: Follow the Leader [Epic, 1998]
Korn deny they're metal; that's Judas Priest, all four-four pomp and guitar solos. But they nevertheless demonstrate that the essence of metal--an expressive mode it sometimes seems will be with us for as long as ordinary whiteboys fear girls, pity themselves, and are permitted to rage against a world they'll never beat--is self-obliterating volume and self-aggrandizing display. Now calling up death-metal's signature groan to prove only to prove he's authentic, poor not-actually-abused Jonathan Davis raps, recites, scats, and sings dull tunes landscaped with eerie licks, odd bridges, and a hyperactive rhythm section. How much his fans identify with "My Gift to You" ("I kiss your lifeless skin"), "Cameltosis" ("You trick-ass slut"), or the tragic "Seed" ("Do I need this fame?") remains unclear. But I'm parent enough to hope they can find a more fully formed designated someone than a guy whose idea of transgressive art is netcasting soft-core s&m to any teenager with a logon. C