Heavy music is full of legendary bands boasting deep catalogs stacked with iconic songs — sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, or what to consider their best. With that in mind, we present the “Mandatory Metal” lists, which collect what we consider to be the definitive tracks from various members of the metallurgic pantheon. Up today, Korn, those dreadlocked, adidas-clad nu-metal originators who changed heavy music forever with their downtuned, bagpipe-assisted outsider anthems. Jonathan Davis and Co. are still going strong — their 13th album The Nothing is due September 13th — but in our opinion, these classic cuts are their most essential. If you disagree, sound off on The Pit Facebook page.
The rallying cry and mission statement of Generation Nu-Metal, the classic opener on Korn’s groundbreaking self-titled debut album still goes hard.
Sample lyrics: “Are you ready?!”
ALBUM: LIFE IS PEACHY
Lewd, crude and sophomoric, this Life Is Peachy single might be a novelty hit if it weren’t so damn hooky and heavy and, as represented by its grim music video, unnervingly dark under its surface.
Sample lyrics: “All day I dream about sex/All day I dream about fucking”
“FREAK ON A LEASH”
ALBUM: FOLLOW THE LEADER
An inescapable anthem about the dehumanizing effects of the music industry, “Freak on the Leash” united outsiders the world over and culminates in Jonathan Davis’ still-amazing scat freakout before crashing into an awesome mosh-ready breakdown.
Sample lyrics: “Something takes a part of me/Something lost and never seen/Every time I start to believe/Something’s raped and taken from”
“FALLING AWAY FROM ME”
Korn got seriously dark again after the smash success of Follow the Leader, and no song is darker on the album than this gripping, downtrodden sing-along.
Sample lyrics: “Beating me down/Beating me beating me/Down, down/Into the ground”
“HERE TO STAY”
Korn reportedly spent four million dollars producing the dense, massive Untouchables. Beyond heavy, the album’s stomping opener might not be worth that much, but it does crush.
Sample lyrics: “This state is elevating/As the hurt turns into hating/Anticipating/All the fucked up feelings again”