Sunday, August 8, 2010

Korn - III: Remember Who You Are

It would be a tad silly to not acknowledge the importance of Korn. Like it or not they’re one of the most influential heavy bands of the last 15 to 20 years, just think of the amount of bands both good and bad that have followed in the wake of their visceral 1994 self titled record. It reinvented heavy. But in recent years as Korn experimented with their sound and shed a member or two that acknowledgment took somewhat of a back seat.

And while previous records like Untitled and See You On The Other Side stunned in terms of experimentation for the band (opinion of course) they weren’t the towering presence they once were, particularly in the late 90s. As the title would suggest they have taken a trip down memory lane and what better means of doing so than enlisting the producer that brought them to life all those years ago?

The return of Ross Robinson, who produced the first two albums, along with a revitalised sense of being has ensured that III: Remember Who You Are is Korn’s best record in quite some time.

Remember Who You Are sees the re-emergence of Jonathan Davis’ thunderous screams and bellows, not heard since 2003’s Take A Look In The Mirror. It’s a welcomed return. On tracks like lead single 'Oildale (Leave Me Alone)' he roars through what will become a live staple thanks to its bulging chorus. Similarly, 'Pop A Pill' reminds us of how heavy, as well as groove oriented, Korn can be when they truly want to be. Also back is Fieldy’s dirty slap bass playing, a core element that was missed in Untitled – once an all too familiar component, it’s welcomed home with opened arms.

'Are You Ready To Live?' keeps heavily in common with the frustrated riffs and tweaks of Life Is Peachy, meanwhile 'Move On' astounds with keenly heavy riffage and Davis’ vicious vocals. Closer, 'Holding All These Lies' acknowledges some of Untitled’s stylistic toing and froing while taking much from the painful emotion of their debut.

The vital ingredient of this record is that it’s not a simple rehashing of the past. Korn aren’t young guys any more and their awareness of this along with the vague sense of reminiscence has ensured the record doesn’t in anyway sound contrived or desperate. They’ve accomplished the near impossible – made a reflective record that sounds and feels fresh.


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