A comfortable continuation of anger and energy

Three years after The Nothing, Korn’s last slab of down-tuned riffs, pounding rhythmic bounce and dynamic vocal intensity, Requiem has arrived in early 2022 as their solidly satisfying fourteenth album.  

 For the first time in the band’s near-30 year long history since emerging from Bakersfield, CA, vocalist Jonathan Davis, drummer Ray Luzier, guitarists Brian ‘Head’ Welch and James ‘Munky’ Shaffer have been faced with a multitude of show and tour cancellations due to the effects of COVID-19. In an act of creative resourcefulness, this allowed Korn to spend far more studio time on songwriting and experimentation through processes that have unearthed different modern textures within their music. While no longer a part of their live personnel, (being replaced by Suicidal Tendencies’ Roberto ‘Ra’ Diaz), Korn’s longtime bassist Reginald ‘Fieldy’ Arvizu lent his signature down-tuned fret rattle to Requiem, an album that wastes no time in delivering mosh-worthy breakdowns, catchy choruses, and surprising sonic features.  

 Opening track Forgotten gets things going with the dark funk of a down-tuned guitar riff underpinned by drumsticks on a snare rim that creates a sense of anticipation for imminent heaviness. When the band displays their full force after its ten second intro, we are reminded of the seismic musical power of their early years, which was apparent on 90s tracks of theirs like Blind and It’s On!. 

 As is the norm for Korn, most of the album’s verses centre around eerie and unsettling atmospheres built from creepy guitar passages, thick bass, and off-kilter drumming. Above these tense compositions, we hear the edgy voice of Davis, an iconic frontman who still appeals to angsty teens through continuing to sing about life’s confusion, emotional damage, and other pains of the soul while being past the age of 50. He recently explained this simple approach to Music Feeds, revealing “if we made records trying to make everyone happy, they would suck.” His seasoned voice swells in choruses on Requiem, often surprising the listener with its aggression and size. As heard in Freak on a Leash, and Twist, a welcome return of his trademark scatting and vicious gibberish can be heard on Requiem’s final track, Worst is On its Way 

 Apart from Forgotten, which was released as one of Requiem’s three singles alongside Lost in the Grandeur and the groove-laden future stadium hit, Start the Healing, two other tracks that waste no time in the directness of their hard-hitting intros are Disconnect and Penance to Sorrow. Disconnect cleverly blends ethereal chords of distortion in a style that’s almost post-metal, while Penance to Sorrow maintains Korn’s creepiness while its verses echo the musical melancholy of a band like Linkin Park.  

While largely being defined by unconventional musicianship and headbanging catharsis, many of Requiem’s songs still revolve around an intro-verse-chorus-verse-bridge-breakdown pattern that seems to work as a comfortable formula for the band and their fans. While Requiem offers the next evolutionary step in Korn’s three decades of alternative/nu-metal trailblazing, the album’s title lives up to its verbal definition as ‘an act of remembrance’ by reminding fans why they fell in love with the band in the first place.  

 

  1. Forgotten
  2. Let the Dark Do the Rest
  3. Start the Healing
  4. Lost in the Grandeur
  5. Disconnect
  6. Hopeless and Beaten
  7. Penance to Sorrow
  8. My Confession
  9. Worst is On its Way