Album Review: Korn - 'Requiem'

4 February 2022 | 1:00 pm | Rod Whitfield

"Short, sharp and memorable."

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Korn are a band that love to churn out new music. Requiem is the legendary nu metal band’s 14th long-player since the release of their debut in 1994, so doing the quick and easy maths, that’s an album every two years for more than a quarter of a century. Quite a schedule, especially when you consider they’re also a hard-working road-dog touring act as well.

Giving the fans a steady stream of new music is a good thing, of course. The problem, however, is it can tend to spread the creative quality a little thin at times, and after a devastating start to their career (for example, this scribe considers Follow The Leader to be among the greatest albums ever), Korn hit a plateau that they’ve never really been able to rise above. Although it must be said they’ve never dipped beneath it either. They’ve remained consistently solid for about the last decade and a half or so.

And this album is more of the same. It is a very solid, strong latter-day Korn album, not approaching their monstrous, ground-breaking early-career works, but maintaining a high, rather than stratospheric, quality. This time around, they’ve stripped things right back to the bare bones – the album consists of only nine songs, with only one being more than four minutes, and it’s all done in half an hour - they’ve come up with some excellent modern Korn songs. For example, Let The Dark Do The Rest and Start The Healing are two of the damn catchiest tunes they’ve come up with in recent times.

The songs on Requiem are short, sharp and memorable, the grooves and arrangements are simple (it’s somewhat of a shame that they don’t utilize the ridiculous percussive talents of drummer Ray Luzier a little more on their records. Check out some of his YouTube vids, both playing Korn songs live and not, he truly grows another set of arms and legs live, and is unquestionably one of the best rock drummers on the planet), and almost nowhere to be heard are some of the distinctive hallmarks of their earlier works, the bagpipes, the hip hoppy stylings, frontman Jonathon Davis’s unique, dissonant ‘scats’, the off-kilter arrangements and so on (the scat does make a very brief and belated appearance towards the end of closer Worst Is On Its Way).

This is, of course, perfectly fine. They don’t have to use this stuff every single album. They can simply do an album choc-full of strong songs, and that’s what they’ve done here.

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Don’t worry, Korn-heads, many of the characteristics that make this band what they are still make the cut here, the fatness and power of the grooves, the heaviness of the bottom-end, the hooks and big choruses, the dynamics and atmospherics and so on. They’ve just delivered it in a very streamlined way this time around.

Requiem is likely to please a lot of Korn fans across the globe, and as the wheel of time turns, will probably slot in nicely, if perhaps not overly distinctively, in their illustrious, bulging catalogue of releases.

In a nutshell, if you’re even a passing fan of this band, you’ll enjoy Requiem.