Korn – Live At Montreux 2004 – [DVD]

Wednesday, 08 October 2008

With the deluge of poor, uninspired and generally confusing moves that the band has made of late (Untitled was the worst yet and seemed to sound the demise of the group as fans know them), it’s difficult to envision Korn as the once aggressive and cathartic “nu metal” kings they once were. The decline has certainly been swift; to date, drummer David Silveria and guitarist Brian “Head” Welch have left the band (presumably for health reasons and religious epiphanies respectively), the group’s newer material has none of the bite that their self-titled debut, Life Is Peachy, Follow The Leader or even Issues had as they begin to develop more static, craven and gothic strains (beginning with singer Jonathan Davis’ work on the Queen Of The Damned soundtrack, in truth) that find those members that have remained with the band (most notably heavy-slapping bassist Fieldy) either tripping or being hamstrung by electronics. Because these new sounds are so upfront and pervasive in the mixes of these new songs, older fans have been understandably turned off and many have moved on. The difference in style as well as the wait for anything recognizable are precisely the reasons why Korn`s performance at Montreux will make those dispossessed fans cheer and newer ones listen up.

Korn`s 2004 performance on the stage at Montreux was actually the embodiment of a series of “lasts” for the band. First and foremost, it was one of Welch’s last performances with Korn and one of the last times fans would ever get a “classic” set from the band. They don’t bother with neutral, first or second gears in this performance and instead slams squarely into overdrive with “Right Now” closely followed by “Break Some Off.” With the audience left reeling, Korn settles into a greatest hits-dominated and livewire groove as Davis wrings every ounce of catharsis in his body into the mid-set that includes “Got The Life,” “Falling Away From Me,” “Blind,” “Shoots And Ladders,” “Freak On A Leash” and “A.D.I.D.A.S.” and sends the crowd into a frenzy the likes of which the Montreux Jazz Festival has never seen before. While battered by the onslaught, neither band nor audience backs down or retreats to a corner either as the hits keep coming and Davis (virtually weeping from the exertion by the time the band reaches a fantastic cover of “Another Brick In The Wall”) leaves a pint of metaphorical blood on the stage along with a literal gallon of perspiration. After “Faget,” the singer is drained and hung on the ropes, but still the band knocks out a couple more songs before the lights go out to ensure that no one in attendance is left wanting.

It’s been said before of other bands, but in Korn’s case, their set at Montreux was the last great gasp before descending (in their cases, very quickly) into mediocrity. The show at Montreux captures the band where people would want to remember them: working hard to show appreciation to their fans who got them to where they are rather than working hard to make back ground. As a keepsake and remembrance, the Korn Live At Montreux 2004 DVD is a document to be treasured by fans.


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