Welcome to Dissected, where we disassemble a band’s catalog, based on the oh-so-exact science of personal opinion, rants, debates, and the love of music. In this installment, we rank Korn’s discography so far, including their latest album, Requiem.
Rising out of Bakersfield, California, Korn emerged on the scene in the early 1990s and quite literally changed the face of heavy music. Not many bands can say they helped invent a new genre, but that’s exactly what Korn did as pioneers of nu metal.
On the heels of festivals like Lollapalooza that featured hip hop, grunge, alternative, and hard rock artists on the same bill, it seemed logical that all of these elements would eventually come together in one group. As singer Jonathan Davis put it in an interview with Revolver, “At that time, we were just emulating our influences, Sepultura meets Cypress Hill.”
With down-tuned chugging riffs played on effects-driven seven-string guitars by Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Shaffer, weird hip-hop inspired noises and funky bass lines provided by Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu, and the angry and mournful wail of Davis, Korn sounded like no other band before them.
Davis’ own personal demons are a large part of what has always made Korn so fascinating over the years. He has never been shy about discussing his personal problems in his lyrics, a fact which is equal parts disturbing and endearing. He laid bare his traumatic childhood on their self-titled debut, and explored the trappings of fame on Follow the Leader and Issues.
Overall, this ranking was a difficult task, as Korn have had their experimental moments, such as exploring a more industrial sound on 2005’s See You on the Other Side and teaming up with dubstep artist Skrillex on 2011’s The Path of Totality. Korn have a very solid catalog in their 25-plus years as a band, so after some verbal jousting, we managed to come up with the following ranking of every Korn album from worst to best.
— Colette Claire
Editor’s Note: This ranking was originally published in 2019 but was updated in 2023 to include Korn’s latest album, 2022’s Requiem.