Fear and The Nervous System "Fear and The Nervous System" Review – 5 out of 5 stars
Mon, 02 Jan 2012 08:54:38
Korn guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer approaches his instrument with a revolutionary spirit every time he picks it up.
There's no better example than the self-titled debut from Shaffer's Fear and the Nervous System. It's a deeply personal, pummeling, and often poetic sonic undertaking that sees Shaffer in the director's chair. For the album, he assembled an all-star cast including Faith No More bass god Billy Gould, Bad Religion basher Brooks Wackerman, guitarist Leopold Ross, keyboardist Zac Baird, and enigmatic singer Steve Krolikowski [Repeater]. Together, they crafted a cerebral industrial metal drama of the highest order.
After some creepy churning, "Hell" hovers with an ominous hum, ushering in the procession as feedback swells envelope a charred drum beat. Suddenly, Shaffer's riff snaps and catapults "Choking Victim" forward. His polyrhythmic fretwork fuels Krolikowski's fiery wail. It's as if the guitarist's schizophrenic string sorcery entwines with the singer's harrowingly hypnotic words. Fear and The Nervous System takes hold, and like a classic film—it's impossible to turn away.
Airy harmonics introduce "Chosen Ones" as Gould's bass weaves and wobbles through Shaffer's topsy-turvy distorted chug. Wackerman bludgeons with each calculated stomp on "No Secrets", while Krolikowski's vocal brilliance utterly shines during a strangely gorgeous "Beautiful Side". These separate artists converge in this dark musical manse of Shaffer's design, and it's utterly thrilling.
The six-minute plus centerpiece, "Dissolve", illuminates the genius of Fear and The Nervous System as a collective. Krolikowski's harmony transfixes as Shaffer seamlessly shifts from subdued vulnerable textures into psychotic 21st century thrashing.
The ride concludes on "Ambien". Here Shaffer arranges a grandiose finale worthy of the preceding eleven songs. Strings glisten hauntingly practically bleeding into his guitar as each element cascades into one last dark crescendo. Shaffer architects the record like a filmmaker, ensuring that every movement and sound contributes to the overarching vision. At the center, his guitar playing tells a painful and powerful tale.
This is another step forward for heavy music. This is Fear and The Nervous System.
Watch James "Munky" Shaffer and Steve Krolikowski talk Fear and The Nervous System here!
See our review of Korn's The Path of Totality here!
Jonathan Davis talks the album here!
See celebrities and musicians share how they discovered Korn here!
See our exclusive video interview with James "Munky" Shaffer of Korn about The Path of Totality here!
Watch our video interview with James "Munky" Shaffer of Korn about "Narcissistic Cannibal" here!
Watch the lyric video for "Narcissistic Cannibal" here!
Watch Munky remember his favorite Edgar Allan Poe story here!
See Jonathan Davis and Munky remember Life Is Peachy in this exclusive interview here! Read our exclusive interview with Jonathan Davis of Korn about electronic music here!