koRn

support Hacktivist
author PP date 08/05/14 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

It's funny. Whenever I think of koRn, I think of a relic from the 90s and early 2000s nu-metal movement, who despite being pioneers in the genre have passed their best-before date several multiples over. When I heard their last few albums had integrated dubstep into them, I dismissed them without second thought without even listening to them because, well, who really listens to koRn in 2014? Apparently a ton of people because the Amager Bio show tonight has been sold out for months in advance, given the small size of the venue and the continuing popularity of the nu-metal veterans.

Hacktivist

Hacktivist

So, what do you get when you put together djent, metalcore, nu-metal, Sonic Boom Six, Skindred, and the inherent multiculturalism on the greater London area? Presumably something like Hacktivist from Milton Keynes, UK, whose two vocalists alternate screams and hip-hop styled vocals over experimental djent guitar structures and supremely heavy and crunchy instrumentation. The sound is murky and muddy due to bad sound tonight (which is a rarity at this venue), but that doesn't prevent Hacktivist from taking good use of space on the big stage. The two vocal approach might not make much sense otherwise, but the way the two vocalists bounce across the middle and trade positions makes their show that much more lively. There's a sample of a Jay Z collaboration with someone I can't remember in one of their hit songs, which works fairly well, as does "Innovate" from their EP that finishes a set of very interesting, yet odd experimental music that's either hyper futuristic or retarded. I can't decide which it is.

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koRn

koRn

Returning to my original point about koRn being out-of-fashion in 2014, this is actually to their advantage because they are, as I say it, sneaky good as a result. You go to a koRn show not expecting much, but they blow you away pretty much every time through a stage show that's part insane, part energetic, and part enormous drum structure that demands your eyeball attention for most of the show. The band opens with "Falling Away From Me", and the packed venue immediately transforms into a sea of headbanging that never ceases until the end of the show. The sing along is loud and voluminous for the old classic, which makes it a perfect opener for tonight.

On stage, we see dreadlocks swinging all over the place, crazy bass techniques on display (upside down playing, weird opposite-hand tapping, etc), and of course the insanity-driven performance arts style appearance of vocalist Jonathan Davis. His mic stand is a sight to behold in itself, but the way he grabs it, swings it back, then paces back and forth across the stage makes me think he belongs to a mental institution rather than to a band, not to even mention his weirdo facial expressions and spastic movements that come at unpredictable times. I guess that explains why koRn write such unique and inimitable music even in 2014.

The drop the bass stuff from dubstep that I was initially skeptical over works well, especially in collaboration with the laser light show that transforms the venue into a crazy nu-metal meets dungeon rave party. But let it be made clear here that koRn are at their very best when Jonathan Davis leans down to scream with full power, where the rest of the band lets their dreadlocks loose in humongous headbangs over crushingly heavy riffage. If such a sequence is preceded by a tingling guitar teaser like on their classic tracks "Freak On A Leash" and a number of others from the old days, all the better. That Davis eventually returns with a bagpipe on stage does not help reduce his image as a crazy person whatsoever, by the way. Later, a drum solo ensues, and while it's fairly unremarkable at first, the final part is so fast I can't almost believe my eyes at what's happening in the flashing center of that crazed construction.

koRn

The set started incredibly aggressively with great energy both from the crowd and the band, but died down a little in the middle when they explored some less popular material. That said, when the 90 minutes are over, I have to say that I leave the venue very satisfied, and not least surprised over how good koRn still are in 2014.

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Setlist:

  • 1. Falling Away from Me
  • 2. Twist
  • 3. Got the Life
  • 4. Love & Meth
  • 5. Narcissistic Cannibal
  • 6. Dead Bodies Everywhere
  • 7. Spike in My Veins
  • 8. Get Up!
  • 9. Did My Time
  • 10. Shoots and Ladders / Somebody Someone
  • 11. Coming Undone
  • 12. Here to Stay
  • --Drum Solo--
  • 13. Never Never
  • 14. Freak on a Leash
  • --Encore:--
  • 15. Clown
  • 16. Blind

Photos by: Peter Troest

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