Jonathan Davis and Fieldy distinctly impacted millions of American teenagers’ development in 1998 with Follow The Leader. Brash, brutal, yet not to be taken seriously…especially since tracks one through twelve were silence. Since the follow-up Issues, people matured and withered away. III: Remember Who You Are is Korn‘s boldest attempt yet to pull back in each piece of driftwood fans, twisting them into their grasp with producer alum Ross Robinson and a promise to return to roots. With the exception of Head, we had a full on nu-metal reunion to look forward to.
“Uber-Time” bleeds into “Oildale (Leave Me Alone)” phenomenally. We wanted a Korn that understood silence, understood that simplicity is more and production should always take the fourth seat to what hard rock and metal requires-weight. The straying guitar could have target in mind, yet just sways listlessly amid an ominous atmosphere until “Oildale” pummels the eardrums as we enjoyed it in 1998. (Note: The album was recorded sans Pro Tools and as a four-piece, as originally done.) Ray Luzier’s teasing cymbal tips collapse into the toms, backed by the highly anticipated barrage of Fieldy and Munky. It’s leadened enough to make those reunited with Korn forget that Ray was not on Follow the Leader, but came on board in early 2009 as their permanent drummer. “Pop a Pill” immediately and rightfully entrusts the album to Munky and Fieldy, backed up by Ray’s bombastic and reserved drumming. The trio twists rebar and steel throughout the album, leaving moments as on “Pops a Pill” for Jonathan Davis to mockingly, aggressively attest to his angst.
“Lead the Parade” supplies the closest remnant to early Korn’s rambunctious and carnivorous songwriting. “Twist,” “Cameltosis,” and “Hey Daddy” are prime examples of which the newfound track attempts to achieve, yet chases after this fleeting style before giving in to succumb to a traditional, safer melodic structure. Remember Who You Are is noticeably absent of this carefree indifference, which is the primary reason the album keeps us driftwood in its grips before the water reclaims us. Over the course of an album, without this, the intermissions, or even Davis’ bagpipes, leaves Korn III too heavy to carry on through and through. Slipknot successfully demonstrated this with “Circle” and “Vermilion Pt. 2” on their unparalleled, and similarly titled, Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses.
“The Past” shoves its focus on Ray and Fieldy, with Ross’ production uncanny. We can hear Fieldy’s signature bass thrashes, the way it remains light and dark simultaneously. Ray’s bridge into Munky’s solo suppresses cymbals, reducing the drumming to its ashen core. It is how I imagined the album would sound given the forewarning recording video. “Are You Ready To Live?” relives the Jonathan Davis that dominated rap-metal, proving that if he so desired he could still rapid fire a verse. The ending tugs the listener’s attention like a tesla 3 magnet, pulling your ears across the room to his whispers.
III: Remember Who You Are is one of the greater revivals of 2010, akin to Alice in Chains‘ of 2009. It may not fill all of those deep, dark crevasses of your expectations with the lack of bagpipes and nu-metal rhymes. Regardless, Korn’s 2010 release plunges the listener back into that inky lake everyone dipped into in the late-90s. Metal welcomes you home.