Initially, KORN were never likely to be accused of brevity. From their 65-minute debut to the hour-long sprawl of 2005's "See You on the Other Side", the first big stretch of the band's discography was typified by often great but generally long-winded splurges of new material. Whether by nature or design, the last few KORN albums have represented a welcome sea change in the way they put their musical statements together. No one sensible is going to argue that "Korn" (1994, their first self-titled record), "Follow the Leader" and "Untouchables" are all highlights in a surprisingly consistent catalogue, but each of them would have benefited from some judicious editing. In recent times, KORN albums have been much snappier, and their songwriting has seemed sharper, more focused and less unpredictable as a result. In particular, 2019's intermittently harrowing "The Nothing" was easily identifiable as the most complete and streamlined KORN album yet, with every song hitting the mark, and some of them — the cudgeling "Cold" springs to mind — sounding far more potent and impactful than anything the band have released since the '90s. And so that trend continues on "Requiem", which is notable for being KORN's shortest album yet — nine songs, 33 minutes — but also for being another great example of how they have increasingly homed in on what makes their band great and have pursued that instead of endless experimentation and date-stamped collaborations. "Requiem" is one solid, convincing lump of high-grade new KORN music. Opener "Forgotten" is the perfect encapsulation of the band's late(r) career creative surge. All the KORN hallmarks are there, but its riffs are archly typical, and the chorus hook weaves the alien and the familiar together with sublime skill. Jonathan Davis sounds better than ever too, strident in the melodies, and genuinely unhinged when Munky drops one of those slamming, obsidian riffs. "Let The Dark Do The Rest" and "Start The Healing" are equally great: the latter is truly unsettling, for all of its positive aspirations, and both uphold the enhanced, in-your-face heaviness than KORN have embraced since the return of Brian 'Head' Welch. A slow-burn high point, "Lost In The Grandeur" is grimly gothic but blessed with some inspired tempo shifts and lethally intimate Davis vocal. "Disconnect" is a shuffling nightmare in waltz time, with a soaring but crestfallen chorus that sparkles above a tar-black torrent of guitars; "Hopeless And Beaten" is brilliantly grim and menacing, with scabby, doom metal overtones, warped vocal harmonies and some of KORN's most revoltingly heavy riffs to date. Meanwhile, "Penance To Sorrow" is a ghoulish and discordant but supremely catchy deep dive into Davis's emotional turmoil; "My Confession" is a lobotomized, mutant hip-hop strut, with more old-school KORN in its veins than anything else here; "Worst Is On Its Way" brings "Requiem" to a close with gleeful disregard for happy endings, but with absurd amounts of low-end oomph and yet another nailed-on keeper chorus. All you get here is the good stuff, flab-free and riffed up to the fucking eyeballs. Nine great songs, 33 deliciously morbid minutes: "Requiem" is further proof of KORN's extraordinary resilience and unerring vitality.

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