KORN's MUNKY picks 5 great non-metal albums for metalheads | Revolver

KORN's MUNKY picks 5 great non-metal albums for metalheads

From abstract post-rock to melancholic electronic music
_2022-0816-korn-munky-stevethrasher1.jpg, Steve Thrasher
photograph by Steve Thrasher

Revolver has teamed with Venera — Munky's electronic side project — for an exclusive colored vinyl variant of their debut album. Get yours from our shop.

Most people know James "Munky" Shaffer for his role in Korn, where he's spent the last 30 years delivering percussive riffs, needly doo-wee licks, and headbanging swagger to hoards of nu-metal true believers.

As a guitarist, he's one of the chief architects of an entire genre of heavy music, but Korn's output only speaks to one area of his musical expertise. This year, fans have been introduced to a much different, more cerebral side of Munky via Venera, the new experimental electronic duo he's created with composer Chris Hunt.

On their forthcoming debut (out this week via Mike Patton's record label, Ipecac Recordings), Munky and Hunt flick through several channels of dark, brooding, electronic soundscapes — with special guests that include HEALTH and VOWWS.

It sounds absolutely nothing like Korn, so we were curious to know which albums in Munky's record collection inspired him to chase this new sound. From abstract post-rock to melancholic electronic, these are five distinctly non-metal albums that Munky — nu-metal guitarist extraordinaire — thinks metalheads should know.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - F♯ A♯ ∞

I can't remember if it was a fan, but someone recommended it to me when I was in Europe. This was probably like 2002, or something.

I've always enjoyed soundtracks — even if I don't know the movie, because I can create my own movie in my head — so somebody said, "You like soundtracks? Well, you might like this, too."

The first thing that I loved about it was the spoken word part of "The Dead Flag Blues." The storytelling on it is so abstract and cool. This is right in my lane, this is in my wheelhouse right here.

I love this album. It wasn't so much the guitars, it was just that guy's voice, and what he was talking about. Before Chris and I started making a body of work, this record came up in the conversation. Actually, most of these records did.

Brian Eno – Ambient 1: Music for Airports

This was probably around 2005 — again, while I was in Europe. There's so much downtime, and when you rent a tour bus over there, the media servers come pre-loaded with a bunch of movies and music.

I was scrolling through all the stuff on there and thought, "Oh, Brian Eno! He's a producer, didn't he do some U2?" Seemed cool, so I clicked on it.

Next thing I know, this is the music I'm listening to the whole trip. It was just so drony and dreamlike that I fell in love. I'd put it on and stare out the window for hours.

Die Antwoord – Ten$ion

This was kind of recent, but a friend of mine, Danny Lohner, said, "You know these guys? They're from South Africa." He put on some music when I was at his house one night.

He turned it up and I was like "This shit is crazy!" They're so different and alien-esque, like they're from a whole planet of ghetto fabulous people that live in this lawless land.

I thought it had so much attitude and angst. It's fucking dope.

Cliff Martinez – Drive (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

This is from Cliff Martinez — I believe he was a drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers early on. He's done many soundtracks.

It's not easy for guys in bands to make that crossover from band to composer/film scorer, but the ones that do are really great at it.

I just love the synths in this, and the melancholy loneliness that you feel through the album. It translates really well in the music, I think.

Burial – Untrue

He makes a lot of interesting breakbeats, and there's these melancholic-type, drony field recordings that he'll put in there.

He'll go out to the train stations, record and then drop it in his track. It just creates this unusual cinematic texture. I love his stuff.

It just has this desolate, despair type of thing that fills up a part of me that I need as an artist. Chris was the one who turned me onto Burial. I'd never heard him before that.