“Every time I start to believe, something’s raped and taken from me…”
Let’s go back. Back when the only thing Skrillex was dropping was a turd in his nappy. Back when the internet was a new exciting thing. Before YouTube, WordPress, Twitter, MySpace, VampireFreaks, Bebo, Friendster and all the other shit we’ve wasted our time on in the 21st century. Let’s go back to the turn of the century – specifically, 1999; where our heroes Korn were ushering in a new era of American heavy metal. The kind that ruled the charts and headlined stadiums as opposed to being played in sweaty barns by dudes in denim jackets. The kind that spawned a whole generation of clingers-on, copy cats and dudes who just wouldn’t shower. Here, Korn reigned supreme.
These days, only the most shameless of beings will admit to being Korn fans – and with rubbish like their last album, The Path of Totality, you can hardly blame them. With that said, around the time of their Follow the Leader record, it was safe to say that Korn were a band on many’s hot list – a band being embraced by both alternative and mainstream radio. Sure, other acts like Limp Bizkit and Nine Inch Nails were charting and presenting a heavier side of mainstream rock, but Korn added an even stranger element – a twisted, childlike sense of torment and despair, which essentially paved the way for what would come to be known as nu-metal.
If there was no Korn, there probably would be no Disturbed, no P.O.D., no Papa Roach… and, sure, the world might have been a better place (imagine having no Creed if Nirvana never existed!) The argument I maintain, however, is that it was worth putting up with this band’s countless years of rubbish – and the turgid acts that would generate from their influence – for their golden period from the mid to late 90s. It comes down to the greatness of Freak on a Leash – and, specifically, this video.
I have a very vivid memory of the Freak on a Leash video. I was maybe eight or nine years old when I first saw it, and I’d never quite seen anything like it. The top and tail consisted of a dark, alternative reality brought to life through animation. The bullet escapes from their world into the “real” world – and thus, the destruction began. The bullet shatters everything that gets in its way; seemingly for no other reason than for the sole primitive purpose of watching shit blow up. It’s not profound in any sense, and yet it feels so damn right when the audio-visual matches up. Freak on a Leash manages to be that much more enthralling and slightly terrifying on watching the bullet’s journey right up to Jonathan Davis‘ face and back. Don’t ask me how he made the bullet turn around. I was too busy looking at his kilt.
Over ten years on, I still look back fondly on the Freak on a Leash video. It captured my imagination and harnessed the idea that two contrasting worlds – black and white, yin and yang, real-time and animation – could easily be sewn together through the magic of music videos. I realise this lengthy post is going to tarnish my very precious indie cred, to which zero fucks are given. I paid the same respect to Slipknot a month or so ago, it’s about damn time I did it for Korn. Whatever.