Jane's Addiction's Ritual De Lo Habitual
Review by Greg Prato
Ritual de lo Habitual served as Jane's Addiction's breakthrough to the mainstream in 1990 (going gold and reaching the Top 20), and remains one of rock's all-time sprawling masterpieces. While its predecessor, 1988's Nothing's Shocking, served as a fine introduction to the group, Ritual de lo Habitual proved to be even more daring; few (if any) alt-rock bands have composed a pair of epics that totaled nearly 20 minutes, let alone put them back to back for full dramatic effect. While the cheerful ditty "Been Caught Stealing" is the album's best-known track, the opening "Stop!" is one of the band's best hard rock numbers, propelled by guitarist Dave Navarro's repetitive, trashy funk riff, while "Ain't No Right" remains explosive in its defiant and vicious nature. Jane's Addiction always had a knack for penning beautiful ballads with a ghostly edge, again proven by the album closer, "Classic Girl." But it's the aforementioned epics that are the album's cornerstone: "Three Days" and "Then She Did...." Although Perry Farrell has never truly admitted what the two songs are about lyrically, they appear to be about an autobiographical romantic tryst between three lovers, as each composition twists and turns musically through every imaginable mood. And while the tracks "No One's Leaving," "Obvious," and "Of Course" may not be as renowned as other selections, they prove integral in the makeup of the album. Surprisingly, the band decided to call it a day just as Ritual de lo Habitual hit big, headlining the inaugural Lollapalooza tour (the brainchild of Farrell) in the summer of 1991 as their final road jaunt. Years later, it remains one of alt-rock's finest moments.
Korn's Follow the Leader
Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
More than anything, Korn are about sound. They write songs, but those wind up not being nearly as memorable as their lurching metallic hip-hop grind. They have yet to exhaust that sound, and that's why their third album, Follow the Leader, is an effective follow-up to their first two alt-metal landmarks. Not that it offers anything new -- it's the same sound, offered in a more focused forum than Life Is Peachy, but not sounding as fresh as Korn. In fact, it begins to wear a little thin toward the end of the album, but guitarists Head Welch and Munky Shaffer find enough tonal variations over the course of the album to keep it interesting, and vocalist Jonathan Davis nearly matches them with his cavalcade of voices. If the songs themselves don't leave much of an impression, it's because they're not supposed to -- they're simply vehicles for the metallic grind, which provides all the visceral rush any Korn fan needs.