Almost 30 years since their formation, Korn continue to demonstrate their versatility while staying true to their signature sound – and their latest work, Requiem, is proof that the group shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Following up on their critically acclaimed 2019 release The Nothing, Korn's 14th album Requiem marks a solid return to their musical foundations with the added benefit of more time and experience allowing the rockers to master the record expertly down to 33 minutes of the band's most nuanced music to date.
Produced by Korn and Chris Collier, the 9-track album includes the smash hit single "Start the Healing," in addition to previously released tracks "Forgotten," which Rolling Stone called "explosive," and "Lost In The Grandeur ' which was released just days before Requiem's release as the final taster of the record.
The album sees how vocalist Jonathan Davis, guitarists James "Munky" Shaffer and Brian "Head" Welch, bassist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu and drummer Ray Luzier continue to push the boundaries of the rock, alternative and metal genres, all while simultaneously remain a pillar of influence for legions of fans and generations of artists around the world.
Credit: Tim Sacenti
Born in unusual circumstances during the COVID lockdown that left the group nothing but time to create the record without constraint, it was only fitting that the album's title alluded to the circumstances in which it was made.
"We thought of Requiem as a reference to all the people we've lost to COVID and all that stuff, almost as a way to remember them," Jonathan Davis told Tone Deaf.
"There were so many different meanings to the meaning of the title [each member] and it just seemed to fit. And one thing about the band, we don't really think about things – we have gut feelings – so we strive for it, and that's where it came from."
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The extra care in Requiem is felt throughout the record, with Davis saying the band was able to experiment with a variety of production elements in a way they were previously unable to.
"[Die Zeit] gave us the opportunity to take my time to play around with six mics," he said. "I wanted, I wanted to really get into it and really experiment and take the time to work with it."
"We also used analog gear and we have our own studio here in town so we could use tape because nobody uses tape anymore – and all those things just added to the magic of this record."
He added: "It's a really amazing record, it's short and sweet. You can just sit there and listen. It keeps your attention all the time and I love it."
And while Requiem represents a whole new level of musical clarity for the group, the tracks remain true to Korn's signature sound – particularly in what makes for the perfect throw-in to close the album, Davis' infamous scat vocals, featured on the closing track appears, "Worst Is On Its Way" serves as a throwback to their megahit "Freak On A Leash".
Born during a tumultuous time when Korn had a host of hardships to deal with, including several members contracting COVID, as well as Reginald "Fieldy" Arviz taking time off from the group to "heal" after being in "Bad Habits" had slipped away, it's easy to see where much of the album's fearful energy is coming from.
Speaking of Fieldy not appearing on the album, Davis admitted he's not sure how the bassist is currently doing during his hiatus.
"I hope he's okay, hope he's okay," Davis said, "I mean, I don't know. I hope he's good. But you know, he'll be good if he can be good. And that's all I can hope for him."
He added sharply, "You know, you can make anyone do anything they don't want to do. I hope he can do it. He's my brother, but sometimes tough love has to prevail."
Requiem is out now.
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