After two albums worth of getting back to basics and cutting to the emotional core of the Korn sound, the maligned Californian nu-metal band delivered another set of top-notch work with 2022's Requiem. By now, the cringe-inducing inclusions of hip-hop and funk are set aside for real songwriting without forgoing a near-constant blast of heaviness in the process. With Requiem, singer Jonathan Davis and his cohorts seem keenly aware of their unique position in the minds of fans (and especially haters), so they never need to address either side anymore. They continue self-discovery in a typically harrowing fashion, but here it's all with the aim to 'start the healing.'
Korn's previous two records, The Serenity of Suffering and The Nothing, were both produced by hard rock miracle worker Nick Raskulinecz, who always brilliantly hones the sound of his records to the band's strength. Despite being now up to album #14, they have treated each of the recent ones like a rebirth, the first discovering their past selves and the last ruminating on being stuck in that place. Now, Davis' lyrics plead for moving on, reflecting on his losses and long-battled demons.
The Verdict on 'Requiem'
At only 32 minutes and nine tracks long, Requiem is tightly constructed and shows a new light to the group. After numerous middle-era flops and critical failures, the perceived narrative through this recent trilogy shows a band reborn and rediscovering themselves and the music they play. They focused very intensely here after trying to find themselves, and the result is a plainly great metal album, nothing less or more. Fans, of course, should be as pleased as before, but the real test is the view of the detractors; with Requiem, they might actually appreciate the shred of nuance buried in these crushing riffs and dark meditations.