See You On The Other Side

Is there life after rap metal? The beneficiaries of a ridiculously large recent record contract, Korn have a lot riding on their first album since losing guitarist Brian "Head" Welch to born-again Christianity. Korn have never shied away from studio slickness, but here they employ not only Trent Reznor collaborator Atticus Ross but also the Matrix, the teen-pop production team behind Avril Lavigne and other shameless puffballs. Although longtime fans may freak, this match is a far better fit than when the Matrix overproduced Liz Phair: See You invigorates Korn's downtuned wallop without losing its menacing essence, and drum-heavy tracks like "Twisted Transistor" muster the radio hooks the last few Korn discs lacked. Unfortunately, singer Jonathan Davis can't find the focus and freshness to match the band's reanimated riffs. He cuts to his emptiness's core on the closing ballad, "Tearjerker," but elsewhere this professional moper moans and groans through the motions.