To understand the significance of this record one must be accustomed with Korn's fall from grace, an unfortunately abysmal output since the departure of iconic guitarist Head in 2005. His return eight years later brought about a fair release with 2013's "The Paradigm Shift" but this record marks what many may of thought not possible, a genuine return to form that rests between the monstrous wall of sound aesthetic of "Untouchables" and the rawer attitude of "Taker A look In The Mirror". If Korn had been pumping this sound out for the last ten years this record really wouldn't of made any waves with me because in reality its that far gone. Their major contributions to music happened around the turn of the millennium and the Nu Metal sound isn't whats pushing boundaries anymore. With such an absence of quality its a real treat to get back a band who's polarizing identity makes most people either love or hate what they are about.
There's nothing ground breaking here, Korn are busting out the simple verse chorus song structures, dropped chord riffs and Jon Davis is still singing about his teenage angst pains. The real surprise is in how well it all comes together. JD is simply infectious with his passion and harmonious singing, the lyrics may be the usual rhetoric of emotional pain and self loathing but he elevates every moment with a performance reminiscent of his youthful days, spanning many of the tones hes done before in new and imaginative ways as well as pushing his demonic screams to new depths. In its simplicity I found myself quickly picking up the words, singing along, something I do very rarely with new music. The only disappointment on the vocal front was a feature from Corey Taylor of Slipknot. Ive always found collaborations in Metal to bit a little lackluster.
Behind him a sonic assault vehicle of slamming, grooving brutality emanates between the three guitarists. Bassist Fieldy's slapped guitar rattle isn't as prominent but the low growl of his base can be heard throughout with a powerful density considering the competition from the down tuned seven strings. Head's riffs are illuminated by the records sublime production, giving them a ground shaking wake when he pummels out the icon Korn grooves. Monkey's high pitched, shrill guitar noises and melodies, which are a staple mark of their sound, find themselves a little downplayed. Rarely the lead they are often complimentary to the rhythm guitar with short bursts of chords in between or playing a more atmospheric role. The balance serves the records tone but it would of been nice to hear something a little more driven by those oddball melodies the duo conjure, in its counterpart each song has its break out which re-writes the "heavy" that Korn can go too. With them Ray Luzier does a terrific job hammering down on a thunderous kit and shows a great understanding in the heavy moments however it the lighter breaks there is a distinct lack of variety one might of expected from former drummer David Silevria.
The record is solid from start to end, there isn't a weak a link in the track listing and across them all Korn delivery almost everything you'd love to hear. Its refreshing and exciting to hear them find what has been absent all this time. The records production deserves much merit for its successes. The wall of sound and highly compressed guitars make a dense, sonic experience that's simply gorgeous. In particular songs a light layer of synth drops into the heavy moments too, a very nice touch. At this point the record is still new to me and with each listen I love each song more, unable to pick a favorite, I hope it holds up as its certainly a contended for one of my favorite records this year. The future seems bright now for Korn, if they can keep what worked here going and innovate their sound anything is possible!