Music News

You Asked for It: Brian “Head” Welch

By Niki D’Andrea

It’s been almost four months since I started asking for submissions to this “You Asked for It” blog. In that time, we’ve received dozens of CDs from local bands looking to have their music reviewed. The idea behind this blog is that we will review every CD in the order it is received, and we’ll be completely honest about our opinions. If you’re a musician from the Phoenix metro area and would like to send your CD in for review, please send it to:

Martin Cizmar ATTN: YAFI c/o Phoenix New Times 1201 E. Jefferson Street Phoenix, AZ 85032

This week’s review is the new solo CD from former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch, whom Staff Writer John Dickerson profiled back in June.

Head Save Me from Myself (Driven Music Group)

This CD is highly anticipated by Korn fans, who’ve been wondering what Welch (now a Phoenix resident) has been up to since he departed the band in 2005. For the full story, read John Dickerson’s feature (linked above). The partial story is this: Brian Welch is now a devout Christian, and the songs on this album both tell the story of his transformation from debauched rocker to Jesus-lover and sing the praises of God. But before secular metal fans run screaming from the message, it should be noted that the music here is filled with as much gravity, grit, and in-your-face heaviness as any other nu-metal band out there today, including Korn, and the message is not as overt as some might think. For example, the track “Die Religion Die” could be misinterpreted as an anti-faith song by its title alone, but the lyrics actually relate Welch’s feelings that organized religion has somehow perverted or thwarted the message of God, and serves to remind us that God “dwells in us,” not “in buildings.” The song “Re-Bel” at first sounds like a call-to-arms for malcontent youth, but the lyrics are actually encouraging children to “rebel” against neglectful parents by turning to God for healing. Other songs, like the title track, are more explicit in their devotion: “I'm screaming to God, thanking him for saving me from myself...and am living for Him now.” Musically, the album sounds like some of Korn’s earlier work, minus Fieldy’s trademark down-tuned, molasses-thick bass lines. Welch played all the instruments himself (save for the bass -- recorded by three different musicians, and the drums, recorded by Nine Inch Nails drummer Josh Freese). Some of the best musical moments include “Loyalty,” which opens with what sounds like a sick kitten meowing and then explodes into a dark, haunting power ballad, and “Adonai,” which sounds like an epic, nu-metal number with distorted, spiraling guitars. The weak point is Welch’s vocals -- they’re not necessarily distinctive, and it sounds like vocal processors were used pretty liberally. But all in all, it’s a fine showing from Welch, and should appeal to fans of both Korn and Christ.

Brian Welch will be doing an in-store signing at Zia Records in Tempe tonight (Tuesday, September 9).

Next week’s review: Loose Cannon Blues Band.