The nu-metal outfit of KoRn made its breakthrough into the mainstream with Follow The Leader, and in the eyes of the angry ’90’s white kid, the California natives were gods. Now, years later we see them down to 3 original members while Silveria is on hiatus from drums and Head finds Christ. What has become of the former alt-act guitarist nowadays since his controversial departure in 2005?
Brian Welch (better known as Head) indeed became a born again Christian, but that has apparently not hindered his musical ability. After spending lots of time getting clean from heroin, raising his daughter Jennea, and writing a personal expose of his drug-induced time on the road with KoRn, the metal head has returned to the studio sans Davis and company for his debut solo effort titled, Save Me From Myself.
Does it measure up? Let us take a closer look.
Recently we have seen Malakian of System Of A Down and Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit fame embark upon side projects and such (e.g. Scars On Broadway and Black Light Burns, respectively). Our site considers the former a little disappointment, while personally, I favored the latter work of Borland. The idea of guitarists who steal a spotlight on their own terms is one thing, but Head is attempting to redesign himself entirely.
Head attempts to bring a nu-metal sound to a genre that decades ago seemed completely foreign – heavy metal for Christian kids. I admire an artist who wants to reinvent himself in a positive way physically, especially if it will save his life. He might not end up like another E! Hollywood Story, but after years with an outfit that meshed bagpipes and vampires into rock music hauntingly, it is hard to recover your individuality. By name and face, Head is easily recognizable to any fan of KoRn, but in musical terms he habitually blended into the background on almost every release where he was present.
Now, Head wishes to stand out with low-growl vocals on an album where Christianity is the primary theme. There’s some context to it all, though. A new outlook on life and cutting ties with his bandmates – even going so far as to denounce his Grammy wins while working with KoRn, which has been chalked up as a big “fuck you” by Davis – has brought him to Christian metal. The guitar stylings of Welch have not been diluted at all on Save Me From Myself, as is evident in the first track, “L.O.V.E.”. It’s ironic, however, to have an album by Welch with positive titling on it. Throughout the listen, it feels like someone who is both out of his natural habitat and still carrying familiar adjectives like “disturbed” and “brooding.”
Unfortunately, it’s a hodge podge success. On a track like “Die Religion Die”, the guitarist sounds like he’s trying too hard to be different, churning out originality that merely scrapes the surface. The vocals are reminiscent of Davis, minus the lyrical hostility and high-pitched choruses, and while the lyrics are poignant, they seem overshadowed by his overeager attempt to sound like a rebel.
Frankly, it would have been more impressing had he become a songwriter alone and left the music to someone else. His strongest points are in fact lyrics, but his performance suffers because he sounds too much like a KoRn cover artist (albeit far less stripped down).
On the track “Flush”, he essentially gives the audience a taste of what one might envision while on heroin, and the lengths one goes to in getting that “fix.” Here’s a sample: “Look at my face/I’m all sucked up/I think I’ll sleep all day/ I get the spins when my eyes are shut/I hate feeling this way/Flush!” As frightening and introspective as this might be, it only shows his wording without glorifying that which he needed to improve so much upon – performance. From the looks of it, breaking connections with KoRn only simplified Head’s means to sound, as if he’s still there.
When it comes down to it, if you are in serious need of a new Christian-based rock album that doesn’t get overly preachy, then Save Me From Myself is certainly where you could look. Hell, if you’re a KoRn fan, it might even make a nice memento. Though, if you want a good album overall, buy Black Light Burns instead. At least when you hear Wes Borland, you know it’s Wes Borland and not a fresh Bizkit. Pun intended!