, plus postage and packaging
Sixteen years on from the release of their self-titled debut and at least five since any credible band willingly associated themselves with the tidal wave of charmless jock rock arse-drool that followed in their groundbreaking wake, Korn find themselves in a strange position. Still enormously popular with a huge worldwide fanbase, but increasingly airbrushed from metal’s big media picture, the Bakersfield band are either pioneering near-legends or an anachronistic nuisance, depending on whether or not you’ve stuck with them from the beginning. The glossy and experimental Untitled record of 2007 received a mixed response from critics and fans alike, and so there’s a certain logic to the band’s decision to reunite with the mercurial Ross Robinson and make a wholesale return to the classic, raw and super-heavy sound of those early records. Of course, the real issue here is whether or not Jonathan Davis and his comrades still have the necessary aggression and belief to make an old-school Korn record that counts, rather than one that sounds like middle-aged men trying to recapture the vigour of their youth. The good news for diehard Korn fans is that III: Remember Who You Are is an utterly convincing reassertion of musical values and unity of purpose that, just like Deftones’ brilliant Diamond Eyes, reconnects its creators with the intensity of the early days without seeming like a backwards step. By resurrecting and updating the needle-prick treble and churning bottom-end slurry that made their first two albums so distinctive, Robinson has breathed new life into Korn’s sound. They have never sounded heavier or more committed. The even better news is that this is, at the very least, the best album Korn have made since their debut. In fact, it may well be their best album yet, not least because unlike its eight predecessors which have all been either overlong or blighted by filler (or both), III is gloriously succinct: 10 great songs in 45 electrifying minutes. Beginning with the rolling riffs and clattering percussion of Oildale (Leave Me Alone) and the lurching hell-funk of Pop A Pill, it is immediately apparent that stripping away all the bells and whistles of recent times has reawakened something primal and truthful within Korn. Clearly revelling in the opportunity to stand toe-to-toe in a dingy rehearsal room and make a skull-flattening racket for the sheer hell of it, all four members of the band attack their respective tasks with foamy-lipped fanaticism throughout – heartening proof that not every rich rock star loses touch with the angry, fresh-faced zealot within. The seething snot-storm of Move On, the macabre electro-squelch of Let The Guilt Go and the fraught emotional ambush of the closing Holding All The Lies are the obvious highlights first time round, but the rest soon begin to resonate with equal power as it becomes plain that Korn mean every word and note of these songs. If you ever loved this band, there is a strong chance you will be wiping away tears of recognition and delight when you blast this album for the first, second and 38th time.