In the early '90s, the MTV Unplugged TV series was in full swing, and bands that were on the runway towards stardom and great success were part of that series of shows. It was even a kind of certification that the show gave to the talent and skill of the bands at the time. After the 1990s the series had already lost its stardust and became a kind of "comeback" tool for bands that had lost their place at the top.
The members of the band "Korn" decided that they wanted to do MTV Unplugged in 2007, long after their great success and at a time when they were not really at the top. The beautiful thing about "Korn" is that because of their huge and close fan base, they never lost their power, they were always there, sometimes we listened to them more, and sometimes we listened to them less, but they were always part of the playlist.
But for the mainstream or "other" audience it was very surprising that a band like "Korn" would decide to do an MTV Unplugged performance in the middle of nowhere.
Another interesting point is...
If you remember we talked recently about "Breaking Benjamin's" album called "Aurora" consisting of only acoustic songs, for a band whose sound consists mainly of heavy walls of guitars and distortions.
The case here is very similar, "Korn" have two heavy guitarists who use powerful riffs with mass that is not in the chemical marking table, with a bassist hitting the bass strings as if they were trampolines in iJUMP.
So how did they make their songs ecstatic? Did they use the technique Benjamin used?
Did it work?
The December 9, 2006 performance at New York City MTV Time Square Studios consisted of only three band members. Singer Jonathan Davis, bassist Reginald Arvizu "Fieldy" and guitarist James Shaffer "Munky". Two years before the show, guitarist Brian Welch "Head" left the band to focus on his Christian strengthening, and drummer David Silveria left the band that year to focus on other interests.
So the three members decided to perform an unplugged performance and to make up for the lack of electric guitars and distortions, by incorporating a set of many weird instruments.
No joke... there is even a vessel there that consists of a revolving glass bottle, yes you will laugh at us, we have no idea what it's called. We do not even know how to pronounce some of the instruments/tools, so we will write their names and you will look for their pictures on the web...
So what did we have there according to Richard Gibbs:
“four celli, two basses, two cimbasso, two bass/contrabass trombonists, a saw player, a glass harmonica player, choir bells, and a six-person taiko ensemble”
Except for "Korn's" three members, all the other musicians wore masks and their faces could not be identified...
The variety of instruments and musicians was supposed to make up for the shortage of guitars, bass, and drums but at least in our opinion, it did not happen!
The sound was anemic and failed to rise despite Davis' dramatic tone of voice, sometimes sounding like a whole salad of unconnected or synchronized instruments and sometimes sounding empty and meaningless.
But... there are also beautiful moments in this album...
It opens with the powerful and one of "Korn's" most famous songs, "Blind" which is an example of all the bad things on this album/show, it opens awfully, continues awfully, and ends awfully, what's the point of the Spanish solo in the last part of the song? It was hard for us to understand.
The great luck is that the second song is simply stunning, another huge hit called "Freak On A Leash" when the performance is joined by Amy Lee ("Evanescence") and is an amazing addition to the song, the collaboration of the two gives the song a different perspective, pleasant, soft and caressing, great pleasure.
The third song on the album, "Falling Away From Me" is a nice sequel but no more than the first song, it has nice parts mostly in the chorus but the verses sound a bit anemic, and there are some moments that Fieldy beats on the bass as if he plays his electric bass and the acoustic screams for mercy.
From there they get to the cover of "Radiohead's" song "Creep" and here we are a little divided, it is sometimes intriguing and surprising and sometimes a little boring.
Another highlight on the album is "The Cure's" mashup featuring Robert Smith. He and Davis do a mix between "Make Me Bad" and "In Between Days" and it's an amazing combination. Two singers with a very unique vocal styles combine the all-too-familiar sounds of the sink with radiant, simply stunning.
The album is sealed by "Love Song" which has so much weight, like a lot of "Korn's" songs, only here it sounds unusual and prominent in its charged atmosphere, perhaps because of the absence of the guitars and drums.
The album consists of 11 songs, three more songs performed at the show did not enter the album.
So contrary to what Benjamin did, here Korn has not been able in our opinion to fully express themselves and despite all the many and varied tools, it feels in many songs the lack or the confusion. Davis undoubtedly holds the show here with his amazing voice, which penetrates and excites in every form and way possible.