Korn were pioneers of funk soaked metal that defied categorisation and their eponymous first album arguably paved the way for bands like Slipknot and System of a Down. With extreme lyrics to match the brutally punishing music, this band changed the face of metal forever.
Before the headliners took to the stage hardcore punk stalwarts “Snot” were finishing their set. They were tight, energetic and entertaining, which is all you can really ask for from a support band. Their cover of Metallica’s “Hit the lights!” was a surprising but fitting addition to a selection of songs that caused a circle pit to open up in the middle of the packed crowd on more than one occasion. As the band left the stage they played the hypnotic, primal chant from “The Wolf of Wall Street” to cheers of approval.
When Korn appeared, it was in front of a stage sized replica of the disturbing, haunting cover of their self titled debut album. The crowd were deafening at this point. The healthy mixture of diehard fans and those hungry for some glorious nostalgia seemed to be anticipating the savage, blunt sound that Korn deliver so well. Their debut, self titled album was released over 20 years ago to critical acclaim among the metal scene and beyond. To celebrate, Korn are touring venues and playing the whole thing in order.
Opening track “Blind” sent the crowd in to a frenzy. Having practiced and performed these songs so many times before, their renditions of every track were as near to perfect as it’s possible to get in a live setting. “Ball Tongue”, “Shoots and Ladders” and the controversial “Faget” were delivered with the same fierce energy that made the band so popular in the mid to late 1990s. The last track on the album “Daddy” is probably still one of the most difficult and upsetting tracks within the metal genre. Lead singer Jonathan Davies wrote the song about his own experience of abuse and although the song still sounds as heavy as the rest of the album, it’s subject matter makes it far more serious and unusual than you might expect from a 90s rock song.
After a short break, Korn returned to the stage for an encore of deafening applause. Jonathon Davies was his usual reserved self between songs and seemed focused on delivering the best performance he could, rather than having any “banter” with the crowd. Before their final song, Davies did take some time to tell everybody how much he appreciated the fans coming out to see them. The real front man seems incredibly humble when compared to his snarling, aggressive stage persona. As the introduction to one of their biggest selling singles “Falling Away From Me” played, the crowd roared their approval one last time. There were no surprises tonight, other than the fact that this band and this album still sound as good as they did 20 years ago.