I’m honestly a little disturbed with myself right now. I don’t know if I’ve just been pummeling myself with so much new music that I can’t seem to tell the difference between good and bad any longer, if I’m getting soft in my middle-old age, or if I’m just fucked up in the head at the moment. I mean, it’s bad enough that I even bothered thinking about reviewing a new Korn record — but it’s worse that I like it.
I will fully admit that I set out to review this record with thoughts that I’d be able to spew venom all over it. I’ve never been a Korn fan and I’m 100% positive I never will be. Of all the nu-metal bands out there, I always thought these guys had one of the more unique sounds, but I still always considered them pretty cheesy. And for all intents and purposes, the genre pretty much died four or five years ago with only a handful of the really successful bands, or the really shitty ones that can’t face the grim reality that they should hang it up for good (Fred Durst, I’m talking to you on all accounts!) still staying true to the sound. Even Korn experimented with 2007’s Untitled record.
Needless to say, when I listened to this at first, then again, then again, I was continually shocked at how much I enjoyed it. Down to a four-piece band and hiring Ray Luzier to drum, they put aside all the bullshit layering and electronic experimentation and got back to what made them a success in the first place — pretty straightforward hard rocking nu-metal. They brought in Ross Robinson to produce, just as they had for their first few records and by heavens, it’s like 1996 all over again.
There are some very good tracks here, like the angry ”Let the Guilt Go” about finally releasing all the demons of past problems that are fucking with your head. And ”Are You Ready To Live?” which goes from nu-metal to a creepy spoken passage to a damn good emotional chorus. And ”Oildale” is the best single they’ve put out in ages.
The thing with Korn these days of course is that they’re playing a style of music that’s no longer popular, so at this point in their career, there really is no place to go but down. And while I realize that I like the record, though I haven’t liked any others — there’s still very little room to gain new fans and all the room in the world to lose the ones they still have. To me, though, this feels like their best record, 16 years after their debut. Good for them, I suppose. Now I need to pinch myself to make sure I’m still alive.
Pick up Korn III: Remember Who You Are over at Amazon now.
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