by Victoria DeSilverio, SPIN
May 1998
The Spin Top 40
The most vital artists in music today
39. Korn

Listening to Korn is like trying to figure out what you love about a roller-coaster ride: the ordered climb or the chaotic free-fall; the fear of impending danger or the release of fear itself. "We blew the door open for heavy music in 1994," says confident vocalist Jonathan Davis. "And our new album," due out this summer, "is even heavier. Dancier. There's a deeper groove. We've taken advantage of technology." Threat or promise, metal experimentalists Korn have spent the past four years readying for their inevitable breakthrough: two Platinum records, a Grammy nomination, a headlining spot on last year's Lollapalooza tour, and their own record label (Elementree) on which they will be "pimping" out some "bad-ass shit." Not since Rage Against the Machine declared "Fuck you / I won't do what you tell me" has a band issued anthemic ultimatums and received such undying devotion in return, generating the kind of loyalty that would make the Heaven's Gate guy jealous. So it's with equal parts ambition and bravado that the Bakersfield, California, natives are planning this fall's "Family Values Tour," an arena extravaganza of Lilithian proportion complete with break-dancing crews, fire-eaters, and like-minded musical brutes Orgy and Limp Bizkit. "'Palooza was pretty fucking stale," says Davis. "We wanted to do a festival of up-and-coming harder-edge bands, because we don't get a chance to be heard, really." While Korn may be a household name among the aggro set, they've been virtually ignored by the mainstream press, radio, and MTV. Look for the children of the Korn to enjoy the last laugh.

1997 ranking: -
Victoria DeSilverio