'Nu-metal' is a term that may often leaves a sick taste in the stomach of many metal purists, but there's no denying that nobody does it better than Bakersfield's own pioneers KoRn, who return to form with their new album III: Remember Who You Are. The band once thought to be dead, with the departure of founding member Brian 'Head' Welch and more recently drummer David Silveira, 2007's Untitled release was considered a critical and commercial disaster (though it did receive Gold certification). With the addition of now full time member Ray Luzier; original members Jonathan Davis, James "Munky" Shaffer, Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu return to the down-tuned sound that put them on the map to begin with. For this there was only one man for the job; producer Ross Robinson (the man behind 'KoRn' and 'Life is Peachy'). All of this fits perfectly with the albums title of remembering who KoRn are!
Track by track it is like being transported back to their early days, and that can only mean one thing, 'raw aggression. First single Oildale, the name of a neighbourhood close to Davis' hometown, is arguably on a similar level to the classic Blind, with it's darkened tone and headbanging riff it is classic KoRn, something that has been missing on the last few records. In spite of the frenzied nature of musical style there is a sense of focus on this album, as each song compliments the other in terms of sound as well as lyrical style. Pop A Pill demonstrates the funkier side of KoRn while still remaining as heavy as can be. Drummer Luzier is beyond impressive, displaying a more technical style to his predecessor, complimenting the frenzies guitar and bass combination. Move On; one of the more stripped back sounding songs, moves in and out of chaotic territory, with Jonathan Davis at first sounding calm before storming through a devastating chorus that could be seen as an attack on KoRn's critics and doubters.
The more slowed down The Past, allows room for Fieldy to shine, unleashing his signature bass style and create a disturbing dual sound with Luzier's drums, as Munky's guitar sound creeps in the background. the atmospheric punch of Never Around shows a brutality only hinted at in the past, further demonstrating their determination. If at this point you're not convinced that KoRn's anger fizzled out long ago, I suggest you listen to 'Are You Ready To Live', possibly one of the more brutal sounding songs Korn has ever written, made even more disturbing with Jonathan Davis' whispered vocal style and soft melodies, that instantly change to screams and violent drum sounds. Closing track 'Holding All These Lies' launches into an almost thrash metal tirade before straining itself for a heart whelming finale not to be forgotten.
With a new record label in Roadrunner and a newfound hunger, KoRn may just as well have delivered their best album since 'Issues'. Also stripping away the mask they chose to wear through their last few experimental records has given Korn a new lease of life, in remembering who they are.
Top Tracks: Oildale (Leave Me Alone), Pop a Pill, the Past, Are You Ready To Live?, Holding All These Lies