Korn first talked reinvention with 2003's Take a Look in the Mirror. Self-produced, it was a muscular, effectively brief record that nodded in some intriguing new directions. After that they talked celebration -- 2004's greatest-hits set looked back on a decade of influence and intensity. And yet, it's 2005's See You on the Other Side that's Korn's real reinvention celebration. It's their first album as a quartet after getting left behind by born-again guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. It's also their first venture for new label Virgin. But really Other Side is Korn's acknowledgement that their life isn't all that bad, and it's time to party. It's a heavy record that swings, an album that takes Korn's rap-metal template toward the red-light swagger of the Dirty South's rap revolution. Is it really surprising that Lil Jon plays Jonathan Davis in the video for "Twisted Transistor"? That song's one of eight on Other Side produced and co-written by the Matrix, and it shows. It's Korn all the way, cocky and funky. But it's slick too, concerned more with the shock value of groove than trying to be some poor kid's slap bass confidant, his surrogate therapy session. And it works. It's cool to hear the Matrix getting down with Korn; they keep each other honest, balancing the sheen with the sleaze. Davis, Munky, Fieldy, and David Silveria still bring it, but in a way that's aware of the manufacturing. And that's key, since after ten-plus years, their act was getting a little tired. Why not embrace the cash, embrace the slinkier side of Fieldy's vertical rhythms? The target of "Politics" is obvious, and "Hypocrites" rails against organized religion. But beneath the polemic is the Korn sound stripped, made truly economized and catchy. Diehards are going to gnash their teeth, and clog the message boards with dismissive comments. But isn't it about time for them to move on, too? Other Side is a little too processed at times -- "Love Song" says "Motherf*cker!" just to know it's alive. But then there's "Open Up," running a NIN influence through weird processing, and "Getting Off," which wavers and lurches like Korn chopped and screwed. If rap-metal were ever meant to evolve, See You on the Other Side is the record that does it.
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus