Jonathan Davis has admitted that he thought SEPULTURA's 1996 album "Roots" was a "blatant KORN rip-off."
Asked if he's proud of the bands KORN has inspired over its 23-year career, the singer told Metal Hammer: "Yeah. SLIPKNOT were inspired by what we did, but they took it and did their own thing, which is fucking amazing.
"One that I thought was a big compliment, but I also thought was fucked up, was SEPULTURA's 'Roots' album. That was just a blatant KORN rip-off, and I had it out with producer Ross Robinson about that, because he just took our sound and gave it to SEPULTURA.
"My young brain couldn't handle it. But they were one of our biggest influences, so I guess they get a pass. And that's a classic album, so it's all good."
Davis was featured as a guest on the "Roots" track "Lookaway" — along with Mike Patton of FAITH NO MORE.
Asked in a December 2013 interview with DeadRhetoric.com if he was a proponent of the down-tuned guitar approach, like former SEPULTURA frontman Max Cavalera was, around the time when bands like KORN and the DEFTONES were just beginning to take off in terms of popularity, SEPULTURA guitarist Andreas Kisser said: "At the beginning, not much. I was skeptical of the low tuning because bands like KORN or the DEFTONES, they don't have the fast pace of SEPULTURA's music. I was concerned to lose that kind of fast ability and the picking, the heavy picking on sloppy, low strings. But there are so many possibilities of using heavier-gauge strings, which give that kind of tension, and you don't lose that ability to play fast. 'Trauma Of War', the song that opens the [last SEPULTURA] album ['The Mediator Between Head And Hands Must Be The Heart'], it's in low tuning, but it's a very fast song, but we don't lose that kind of ability. I learned how to do deal with that, and you open a lot of worlds in music, but yeah, at the beginning I was a little skeptical."
Speaking to Live-Metal.net in 2009, Max admitted that he drew inspiration from some of the so-called early "nu metal" bands during the songwriting process for "Roots". He explained: "SEPULTURA did [take] a little bit of an influence from KORN and DEFTONES in some areas. And the funny thing is that we influenced those bands from when they started out. I talked to the KORN guys and they said they listened to 'Chaos A.D.' religiously when they started — it was like one of their favorite records. So it's kind of a 360 degrees kind of influence — back and forth."
During an interview with ARTISTdirect, Max recalled working with Davis on the "Lookaway" sessions. He said: "Mike Patton was on the song, and Jonathan's a huge FAITH NO MORE fan. He was actually freaking out that Patton was there. He was really nervous, which was actually kind of funny. He kept chewing on his hair the whole time he was in the studio. Ross Robinson teased him at one point and told him to calm down. [Laughs]"
He continued: "'Lookaway' came out of a jam. It's a really heavy riff. Patton started singing this Indian chant, and it gave me goosebumps in the studio when he did that. It was so intense. He showed up in the studio with a Samsonite briefcase. I was like, 'Mike, what's up with the briefcase?' He said, 'It's what I need to record.' It had an echo pedal inside for his voice and a bottle of wine. He opened the wine and we drank it. At one point, the three of us were on the floor of the studio going crazy and making weird noises and sounds! Jonathan took it to another level. He's singing about people with a fear of pussy, which is a crazy concept. It came out as a really cool, obscure song on 'Roots'."
"Roots" was certified gold in 2005 by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) for U.S. shipments in excess of 500,000 copies.