Korn Hit the Mainstream
Korn made their breakthrough on 1998’s Follow the Leader. Though still working in a metal vein, Korn further emphasized hip-hop elements in their music – particularly with their rhythm section and keyboard sound effects – to produce a rap-rock amalgam of the two genres. Davis was still angry on Follow the Leader, but his tortured howls were smoothed down slightly by the brighter hooks in songs like “Freak on a Leash” and “It’s On.”
Signaling the ascendance of the nu-metal/rap-rock era, Follow the Leader also included a duet with Fred Durst, the frontman of Limp Bizkit, the period’s other significant rap-rock group.
Family Values Tour
With Follow the Leader a major success, Korn launched a festival concert series called the Family Values Tour that year. Hoping to bring together the best rap and metal acts, the first Family Values Tour featured Korn, Ice Cube and Limp Bizkit. Since 1998, the tour has been an almost-annual event, taking its longest break between 2001 and 2006. Subsequent editions have included Puddle of Mudd, Stone Temple Pilots, Deftones and Filter, and collections of live performances from the tours have been released as CDs and DVDs.
Now embraced by the mainstream, Korn took full advantage, releasing their next album, Issues, only 15 months after Follow the Leader. Although a commercial hit as well, Issues lacked the spark that made Follow the Leader such an artistic leap forward. Focusing less on rap-rock and staying true to their metal roots, Korn didn’t necessarily break any new ground on Issues, though that probably helped on the charts, as three singles, such as “Falling Away From Me,” enjoyed strong airplay.
The Paradigm Shift' and Beyond
On May 2, 2013, Korn revealed that Brian “Head” Welch had rejoined the band after an eight year absence and were working on their eleventh album with producer Don Gilmore [Linkin Park]. The resulting album, The Paradigm Shift, was released on October 8, 2013, on the same day Korn was inducted into the famous Hollywood Rockwalk. The new album combined Korn’s heavy and melodic sensibilities to create a sound inspired by their Issues and Untouchables albums. The album received generally favorable reviews and debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
First album single “Never Never” was the Korn’s first No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream rock singles chart. To celebrate Korn’s 20th anniversary they performed their 1994 self-titled debut album in its entirety on their 2014 “Prepare for Hell” tour with Slipknot. Korn are currently working on their twelfth studio album.