There are few things more irritating than listening to a great album that suddenly falls flat at the end. Thankfully, metal stalwarts Korn have an almost unwritten rule that the album finale must be the ultimate climax. Lead singer Jonathan Davis screams, cries, kicks and claws on these emotionally draining tracks, and we are ranking them from worst to best.
11) When Will This End
Korn slightly detailed after the release of their brilliant Untouchables LP, following it with an album that lacked focus, as evidenced by this average closer. However this bass-heavy number from one of the group’s weaker releases (Take A Look In The Mirror) still contains enough signature, dark moments to satisfy our inner morbidness.
10) Holding All These Lies
A sharp inhale by Davis at the beginning gives you a good idea of where this song is going. From Korn III: Remember Who You Are, closer Holding All These Lies attempts to rekindle the same emotional connection found on their first few records, pulling it off in some respects but sounding lethargic in others.
9) Bleeding Out
Wrapping up the dubstep experiment Path Of Totality, Bleeding Out is more vicious than some of the band’s other album closers, while still retaining an ominous, dark aura courtesy of some trippy synths and a sinister guitar refrain. The troubled frontman sets the tone for the track, setting his unsettled vocal style to maximum creepiness.
8) It’s All Wrong
Speaking to HitFix about It’s All Wrong (from the band’s latest full-length, The Paradigm Shift), Davis says “there’s just something about those [end] songs… it’s like saying period, it’s done”, indicating the care the group still take with their album closers. Lines like ‘how many times a day must I die’ clearly show that Davis is still in an ongoing battle with his demons.
7) I Will Protect You
This bewitching finisher to the band’s Untitled album in 2007 is one of record’s highlights, and features some of the darkest musical passages the group has ever concocted. Vocal echoes of ‘I will protect you’ on the outro is enough to disturb even the most hardened metal fan.
Slithering basslines and a cataclysmic drum workout are enough to send shivers up your spine on this one, not to mention an extremely desperate but powerful vocal performance from Davis. Lyrics such as ‘ready to blow my head off’ and ‘you dirty little fuck’ see Davis at his agitated peak, taking this expansive track into a black hole for the outro. Deeply unsettling.
5) No One’s There
Korn needed something special to finish their 2002 release Untouchables, and they found it in the gloomy dramatics of No One’s There. This theatrical track utilises some beautiful orchestral touches in the chorus, punctuated by a defiant Davis crying out into the ether. This is the sound of Korn trying their hand at gothic metal and succeeding.
The icy atmosphere in this track is truly chilling; not to mention Davis’ delicate and vulnerable vocal delivery. They leave their trademark sound behind on Tearjerker, opting instead to utilise abstract sound flourishes and a spacious song structure, helping to create a really deep, mournful track – even for Korn. Stark, cold, desolate but utterly captivating.
3) Kill You
You can’t deny the powerful songwriting of early Korn, particularly when listening to this deep cut from Life Is Peachy. There’s not one pleasant note on this sadistic track. From the depressing instrumentals to the part-crying/part-screaming vocals, Kill You is easily one of Davis’ most chilling and impassioned lyrical confessionals.
2) My Gift To You
Very close to the brilliance of our number one spot, My Gift To You diverts from the hyper hip-hop infused core of Follow The Leader to deliver a bone-chilling death march closer. When Davis decrepitly delivers lines like “your throat I take grasp” backed up by a slow but deliberate beat, further layered upon with subliminal mutterings of “can you feel the pain”, you know the group are cranking up the intensity.
Korn captured lightning in a bottle with their hugely influential 1994 debut album, closing it with the haunting nightmare Daddy. Much like Kill You, this track covers Davis’ troubled childhood with his family. Twenty years on and Daddy is still as disturbing now as the day it was released.