It started with a moderately paced snare drum beat. Then came a burst of a seconds-length guitar riff over and over. Next came the bass, a deep low boom in the background of the snare and guitar. Followed by a second guitar riff complimenting the first but on a slightly more technical level. The collection of sounds gradually builds in tempo creating a level of suspense for what was to come next. Finally, the gritty, growing vocals of Jonathan Davis confidently declaring “Are you ready?” completes the opening seconds of Korn’s first track off their debut self-titled album and sets in motion a string of outstanding tunes (on that record alone) and a growing catalogue of similarly exceptional outings.
This one intro defined the band and their style and, no matter at what stage someone became a fan, this simple, yet effective opener would be remembered as the moment Korn was born! Now, all bands have ups and downs across their musical output, however, Korn has managed to consistently produce good to great music meaning that even their lower moments, for the most part, have remained been pretty good.
Now with their 14th record just released, the question has to be asked, “Does it continue Korn’s crowd-pleasing output, or is this a rare dud?” Well, Requiem opens with “Forgotten” in true Korn style with a distorted, yet funky guitar riff building to the heavy, headbanging beat we all know and love. The track slows somewhat when Davis’ vocals kick in but it is short-lived as the song bounces between the variants in the disjointed way that only Korn can make work. It is a by-the-numbers tune that is unequivocally Korn, but this does not make it bad, quite the opposite in fact, as any Korn fan will be salivating at every note!
This is kind of the case for each tune on Requiem, given the uniqueness of Korn’s sound, but there are still some epic moments to enjoy that will fast become fan favourites. Take, for instance, the soundscape that is “Let the Dark do the Rest.” Once again, it is Korn to the core yet utilizes every musical trick in their arsenal—from the hypnotic guitar riffs to the deep basslines and Davis’ notable melancholy vocals. In all honesty, the same evaluation can be applied to “Start the Healing.”
Later in the record, “Hopeless and Beaten” is the darkest part of Requiem. Whist Davis is a master at portraying the negative aspects of life in his lyrics, this track encapsulates the darkest depths of his mind. The lyrics are complemented by a heavy, yet slow doom-filled melody. The album eventually closes with “Worst is on its Way,” a slower pace than the preceding tracks but still with the heavy tones that Korn does oh so well. This is complemented by Davis’ unique style of beatboxing that arguably no Korn album should ever be without.
Requiem really is a great addition to Korn’s expansive back catalogue and whilst it doesn’t reach the dizzying highs of records such as Follow the Leader, it in no ways falls outside of the “good-to-great” spectrum. Simply put, Requiem has everything any Korn fan could want from an album.
Requiem Track Listing:
2. Let the Dark do the Rest
3. Start the Healing
4. Lost in the Grandeur
6. Hopeless and Beaten
7. Penance to Sorrow
8. My Confession
9. Worst is on its Way
Run Time: 32:41
Release Date: February 4, 2022
Record Label: Loma Vista Recordings