When I say the word "metal," what do you think of? Probably the same things I do: Charvel guitars, slap bass, wearing your own band's shirts, and having a job at a carwash. But there is more to metal than just thrash, as the upcoming California band Corn proves. They play an innovative style of new-metal that doesn't just regurgitate all the familiar cliches we have come to associate with metal, but instead introduces a whole new set of conventions that we think will be met with both critical and popular acclaim.
Like Biohazard, it is kind of hard to say exactly what Corn sounds like because they are pretty much doing their own thing. The only band I could really compare them to is Bloodlet, because they both play down-tuned, sludgy songs about how you hate yourself. But unlike Bloodlet, who are kind of derivative and unoriginal, Corn adds a lot of elements to the mix that make them much more interesting.
Sometimes I think that they are an alternative band like Stone Temple Pilots because there are lots of parts where the singer talks about how nobody likes him, his stepdad is a fucking shitbag, and how he has low self-esteem. He probably got stuffed in his locker a lot in high school. But when the jocks would mess with him, instead of fighting back he would just put on a big forced smile and fake-laugh at them because he wanted to make it seem like he was above all of it and it didn't really bother him. He would just let them push him around like he didn't care, like he was soooo over the whole bully thing that it didn't phase him at all.
But actually, he would skip his last class ("Applied Math II") and go home and put his pillow over his face and scream as loud as he could "I FUCKING HATE YOU FUCKERS!!! FUCK YOU!!!!" because he saw this one cute semi-gothic girl that he likes watching him get stuffed in the locker. She wears cut-off denim shorts with those black-and-white tights underneath with Doc Martens, he ran into her once at a midnight showing of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and felt like they had a really good vibe.
Also I bet his stepdad is like the dad from The Wonder Years, and was really disappointed when his son said he didn't want to play football. He probably came home from work one day all pissed off because he does framing/roofing and his foreman is a fucking asshole, and was like "Hey if all you're going to do is sit around my house and listen to Slipknot, get me a fucking beer!" Then the singer for Corn is all, "Fuck you, you're not my real dad!!" And his stepdad turns all red and pushes him up against the wall and is like "You think you can take me on you fuckin' pussy?!" and slaps him. The singer for Corn starts to cry and his stepdad is like, "If you're gonna act like a little bitch then I'll treat you like one!!" and sticks his finger in the singer for Corn's butt. I am not sure but I think that's what the Corn song "Clown" is about.
But they also seem like they like metal, because a lot of the songs are really dissonant and heavy. I feel like they are probably big noisecore fans because on the record there isn't even a bass player. In the parts where most bands would have the bass, they just have these weird sounds that remind me of pieces of metal clanking together. It seems like something 7 Minutes of Nausea would do. They have a guy who plays with them live and does "noise/effects" and sometimes uses a bass to make the clanking sounds, I don't know how he does it. He's probably into circuitbending or whatever and rewired the whole bass.
This isn't finished yet, but I did this Corn poster in my "New Media III" class. I want to rework the highlights on the alien's skin when I have time (probably not until spring break).
Also, are they Mexis? I can't tell. Some of them look like it, but they could also just be wiggers who work outside doing manual labor so they are really tan. I don't really see a lot of Mexis with cornrows, and usually the only people you see with dreadlocks are rapey white pot dealers. They will ask you if you want to come over to their place to smoke some fatty dank nuggets and watch "The Wall" but really they just want to feel you up in their van, then when you're like "Fuck you, get off of me" they laugh and as you're getting out of the van, they're all, "Ass, grass, or cash, nobody rides for free!!" and drive off to go get some Taco Bell and find a pay phone so they can call all the people who paged them.
What's next for Corn?
At the risk of sounding like a fanboi, I think Corn could be next Infectious Grooves (another genre-bending California band who I will cover in a future edition of Bands to Watch For). They would need to develop a charismatic mascot like Sonic, Bubsy, or Poochie, but I think the alien I made for the poster above would work perfectly so that's not really a problem. I just feel like the time is right for new-metal to break through into the mainstream, what with Desert Storm and the failure of the DotComs making everybody so nervous about the future. Corn's anger and vulnerability mirror the way that we all feel in these uncertain times.
The only thing I see potentially holding them back is the singer for Corn's health. I'm worried that being in a young band that is building a strong local following has led him into an unhealthy lifestyle. Because their music combines intense minor key riffs with dark lyrical themes, it seems like it probably attracts a lot of troubled young adults with low self-esteem, which means it would be really easy for an older dude in a moderately popular band to have sex with them. Since he hasn't accepted Christ into his heart yet I can see how that would be really tempting and probably put him in a lot of really bad situations and lead to tensions in the band.
"Life Is Peachy" 7" (Wild Rags). This one is easier to find than the demo but I think the production is a little too polished, kind of like how the Excruciating Terror LPs weren't as good as the demos and 7"s because they were overproduced.
Corn has a demo and a 7" out. Both are excellent but I recommend the demo if you can find it. It's especially rad if you have a good system in your car. My friend Carlos, who made the "Blind" video at the top of the page, has a bomb-ass system in his Integra GS-R. We'll put the demo in his tape player and go to the Everett Mall and just chill in the parking lot or drive up Casino Road. Every time one of the bass drops hits people are all, "Damn what is that, it must be Def Bass Krew!!" but then the singer for Corn starts screaming and they're all like "Oh snap, I didn't know rock could bump like that!!" and we're like "What's up now, bitches!!" and give them the gasface.
Corn on MySpace