These past couple of years have been something of a rebirth for nu-metal godfathers Korn, whose studio output was starting to get a little stale until they did what all good bands of a certain age do and returned to the basics with their III: Remember Who You Are album. Despite the mainly positive reviews it later came out that recording the album was a bit of a nightmare for the band and their next album – last year’s The Path of Totality (click here for OneMetal‘s review) – mixed things up a bit by introducing dubstep into their bass-heavy metal and taking them off into another direction completely.
Regardless of what you think about Korn introducing dance music into their sound and The Path of Totality as a whole, when they got the mix right there was some worth to what they were doing and, let’s be honest, electronics are easy to produce in the studio but the true test of any good band is whether they can reproduce what they do in the studio in front of a live audience. So it’s lucky for Korn that they’ve always delivered when it comes to putting on a show and this time they’ve brought some friends along with them.
It’s a brave band who play new material for the first seven songs of a live show but that just goes to show how much Korn believe in what they’ve been doing of late, and they do pick the best songs from The Path of Totality to show off how slickly they can pull off the metal/dubstep crossover. Joined by several of the collaborators that added their stamp to that album – including Skrillex, Flinch and 12th Planet – the dubstep side of things sounds huge in the live arena and Jonathan Davis’ rougher live vocals add a bit more depth than on the polished studio versions, particularly on the excellent ‘Narcissistic Cannibal’.
But hardcore Korn fans will no doubt be getting this to hear the thumping live versions of selected classics from the band’s now-considerable back catalogue, and they won’t be disappointed. ‘Here to Stay’, ‘Shoots & Ladders’ and the ubiquitous ‘Blind’ all sound monstrously heavy, with drummer Ray Luzier sounding particularly heavy-footed with his bass drums. The band also throw in their staple covers of Metallica’s ‘One’ and Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’, which sounds remarkably better than its bland studio version, for a bit of fun, although the inclusion of the lurching ‘Predictable’ from their landmark debut album seems a little incongruous in amongst the singalong anthems.
So overall it’s a Korn live album that sounds exactly what you would expect a live album from Korn to sound like. The dubstep stuff sounds surprisingly better in the live environment than most electronic music normally does and although this isn’t likely to trouble No Sleep ‘Til Hammersmith or Live After Death in any ‘Best Live Album Ever’ polls, it is solid enough to keep the band’s momentum going until their next studio venture.