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Often sloppy but shows potential

By Daniel J. Katz

The Family Values tour last year puzzled me -- why would you combine Korn and Limp Bizkit, who smoothly fit into the neo-rap-metal genre, with industrial bands like Orgy and Rammstein? Apparently, it was to pave the way for Korn’s latest discovery: Videodrone, which has released a self-titled album on Korn front man Jon Davis’s Elementree Records. Videodrone will open for Korn and Rob Zombie tonight in Worcester at the Centrum and tomorrow night at the Civic Center in Providence.

Videodrone’s sound mixes the raw noise and discordant sound that have made Korn famous with futuristic effects and droning vocals reminiscent of Orgy or Marilyn Manson. “Ty Jonathan Down” begins very encouragingly with a dark and eerie combination of synthesized drums and keyboards. Then guest vocals by Davis and a depressingly repetitive guitar line show up, and suddenly the song loses its effect. Many of the songs on the album suffer from the same problem: They’re arranged well, but they center around redundant and unsettling chord structures and have tunes that don’t go anywhere.

There are several decent tracks. The chorus of “Alone With 20 Bucks” could use some work, but the song has some good contrast and the verses are backed very nicely. The bustling sound and subject matter of “The Devil’s Sweepstakes” could easily be slipped onto Rob Zombie’s album (and it would be a vast improvement). And “Lucifer’s Stained Dress” is an excellent song with samples and a high hat that almost sound like (gasp) electronica.

My philosophy on this album is simple: Videodrone tries to be an industrial band and a neo-metal band at the same time, but it doesn’t do either of them as well as bands that specialize in one or the other. However, the industrial side of Videodrone shows a lot of promise, and it suggests that the tutelage and influence of Korn may be holding them back. If you particularly like Korn, Kid Rock is a safer bet, and Orgy fans should look to Gravity Kills or Stabbing Westward. But if you’re into both, then Videodrone may be worth a listen.

And if you’re heading to the Korn/Rob Zombie concert, get there early. Videodrone may not be perfect, but they’ll be the most sophisticated band there.