Korn – Korn III: Remember Who You Are
Release Date: 2010Jul26 (US)
The title of Korn‘s ninth album says it all. Over the past few years, they have systematically lost members, experienced popularity decline, and invited songwriting contributions from The Matrix and Atticus Ross. They returned to another Ross from their past: Ross Robinson, producer of their first two albums. Both parties symbiotically benefitted from their relationship, and his spark rekindles the band’s brightest flame since the 1990s.
Of course, there is lots of ground to recover. After the intriguing mysterious pointlessly detractive intro “Uber-Time”, the band is still plagued by—to coin the very title of their last good album—issues. Right off the bat, we get the following bit of poetry from lead single “Oildale (Leave Me Alone)”: “Look at you / Feeling all good / You can’t resist / You have to be all / Up in it / Don’t it feel great / Talking shit / I let it go”. Yes, it gets worse; yes, it is egocentric to the nth power; no, it cannot sustain for the duration.
At least it sounds better than anything released in the past decade. For the first time, I did not miss Head’s second guitar. Korn‘s second most distinguishable feature—Fieldy’s thick, groovy bass—again sounds inspired, allowing room for Munky to explore his instrument. He reportedly used many older, hollow bodied guitars like 1956 Telecasters to track some of the rhythm parts, and Robinson definitely brings a more spontaneous character to the proceedings.
They seem tentative to let newly-integrated live drummer Ray Luzier show his chops until “Are You Ready to Live?”. It features some of the best percussion on the album, but too much repetition and lilting concluding vocals slow the momentum. “Holding All These Lies” is a fitting closer, though, echoing the last tracks on their Robinson-produced albums—“Daddy” (from Korn) and “Kill You” (from Life is Peachy)—and again climaxes Davis’ unbridled emotion into tears.
The album is entitled Remember Who You Are, so let’s move down the checklist: Jonathan Davis again cries at the end; they generally percolate with more unchecked angst than your average suburban teenager; they still sport Adidas garb; and once again, endangered children are splayed across the layout. Maybe this third incarnation of the groove metal stalwarts will someday shock us all by not only remembering who they are, but believing in what they can potentially become. Korn III is a step in the right direction.
FCC: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 (WRUV was serviced with a clean copy)
Try: 3, 8
02. Oildale (Leave Me Alone)
03. Pop A Pill
04. Fear Is A Place To Live
05. Move On
06. Lead The Parade
07. Let The Guilt Go
08. The Past
09. Never Around
10. Are You Ready To Live?
11. Holding All These Lies