The band that unwittingly begat the current, if waning, rap-metal frenzy, Korn has been semidormant since 1999's multiplatinum Issues
, while bands they inspired, such as Linkin Park, have ruled the charts and minds of disenfranchised teens. The wait for Untouchables
' 14 cutting cuts is more than worth it, however. The quintet's heavy sound and lyrical angst have not been dulled by success. Singer Jonathan Davis's often agonized, cathartic lyrics and slightly lispy, emotive delivery are as heavy and varied as on previous outings. On the first single, "Here to Stay," which boasts a spooky, Nine Inch Nails feel and Fieldy's aggro, down-tuned bass, Davis growls in pain, "This state is elevating / As the hurt turns into hating / Anticipating all the f---ed up feelings again."
Among and within songs, Korn move seamlessly and dynamically from gentle, spooky, and lushly melodic to a bass-heavy propulsive, explosive musicality. "Embrace" is almost grandiose and Cult-like in its rock drama, in contrast to the punky, straight-up "Wake Up Hate," on which Davis's vocals are especially creepy and Marilyn Manson-like as he rants: "I'm, I'm filthy/ Wasted piece of s--t/ I am disgusting/ Take me away." Untouchables, with its brutal introspection and hints of misogyny, is sure to earn its parental advisory sticker. But the album is still a must-have: 62 minutes of deeply felt, ultra-intense spewings, a tour de force that will strike a chord with fans and critics alike. --Katherine Turman