REVIEW: Korn – Requiem

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The nu-metal elder gods of KORN dropped their fourteenth studio album, “Requiem,” on February 4th, 2022, via Loma Vista and Concord. The band’s 2018 outing, “The Nothing,” showed that the ink in their song-writing quill was still very much in pristine condition, albeit rather dark in tone. The new offering further proves that their riffs still slap hard. The overall feel is a tad less dark, at least by the nu-metal standards, however. The band has never been a stranger to facing their inner demons, although the drug-fueled angst of their early landmark albums has matured over the years into a more sophisticated, introspective, and almost meditative approach and, of course, the sonic hallmarks of the classic KORN sound are still present: the massive low-end crunch, the diabolically slinky grooves, and the versatile vocal delivery of vocalist Jonathan Davis. On this album, he once again pulls some of those idiosyncratic scat vocals of his, as though echoing the 1998 hit, “Freak On A Leash.” For a band that has been making rather significant inroads into the collective musical psyche for almost 30 years, “Requiem” is nothing short of a spirited tour de force, gently reminding us that sometimes the weight of the years does not, in fact, pull you down but rather lifts you up.

The choice of the album title is rather curious, considering that “requiem” usually refers to musical compositions associated with death and mourning. In a way, it would have been a more appropriate title for the band’s previous album – the sentiment of which was more pronounced with loss and strife. This new outing seems to have a bit more zen-like approach to the subject. The title of the lead single, “Start the Healing,” might just as well hint at something. Driven by a tight staccato riff and somewhat poppy vocal hooks, the song nails a fine balance between the dark and the light. While the album cannot exactly be written off as a collection of positivity anthems, it definitely has a distinct aura of coming out of the dark. Maybe it stems, in part, from the way the album was conceived. Rumor has it that the outing was originally planned to be released as an EP, not as a full-length studio album. Apparently, much to our delight, the band’s creative momentum did not stop there but amalgamated into a full-blown selection of nine new songs.

After a few spins, I feel tempted to say that KORN‘s new outing feels like the follow-up to their magnificent album classics such as “Follow the Leader (1998),” ”Issues (1999),” and “Untouchables (2002),” what with the class-A songcraft, myriad catchy hooks, and sublime production. I would be genuinely surprised if “Requiem” were to be ranked outside the top 10 albums of the year in December 2022. It is a triumphant return to form, to the band’s signature alien funk – maybe even a future classic. The album is consistently so good that none of the tracks really stand out. If you’re looking for some catchy vocals, well, each track comes jam-packed with them. If tight riffing is more like your cup of tea, well, let me tell you, the album is basically infested with quality stuff. Like a true classic, the new KORN outing demands to be listened to in one go – just like their vintage outings did back in the 1990s. The album brings things to a close with a bit of Davis‘ signature “mmm dinga duh dingas” on the track, “Worst Is On Its Way,” and for a moment, you could close your eyes and imagine yourself partying like it was 1998 again.

Written by Jani Lehtinen

Tracklist

  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

Lineup

Jonathan Davis – vocals

James Shaffer – guitars

Brian Welch – guitars

Reginald Arvizu – bass

Ray Luzier – drums

Label

Loma Vista / Concord

Links

https://www.facebook.com/korn

https://www.instagram.com/korn_official/?hl=en