Korn triumph in Las Vegas
Venue: House Of Blues, Las Vegas
Support: Suicide Silence, Islander
Heaven forbid we insult anyone's faith, but, frankly, that's exactly what opening four-piece Islander  are doing; not making Christianity better, but making rock music so much worse. It doesn't help that their sound is an embarrassingly derivative blend of Korn, Deftones, Limp Bizkit and POD, but it's something more than that, something almost instinctive. Indeed, it's not until about halfway through their set that there's any noticeable mention of their beliefs, some half-heard lyric about the lord and saviour, but even before that you just know. Ah, Christian rock, that's why it sucks so bad. Jesus wept.
Thankfully Suicide Silence  are rather less wholesome and arguably more inspiring. Following the death of frontman Mitch Lucker in a motorcycle accident, in 2012, the band could easily have called it a day, but instead they seem to go from strength to strength, offering a relentless aural assault that owes much to Napalm Death without ever stealing from them. You Only Live Once from Lucker's final album, The Black Crown, seems particularly poignant tonight, new frontman Hernan 'Eddie' Hermida making it his own, but if anything material from last year's aptly named You Can't Stop Me is even stronger.
Tonight, however, is about one band and one album. In the 20 years (21 to be precise) since the release of their self-titled debut, Korn  have inspired some truly appalling music and have, rather unfairly, taken much of the blame. It's a generic sound these days, nu metal fast becoming old, but the fact remains that if it wasn't so brilliant in the first place then no one would have copied it. Few albums are so dark, so heavy, so painful, and, yes, so brilliant. Even fewer are so groundbreaking.
As you might expect, then, the House Of Blues is beyond packed, and as Korn open their set with Blind, the first track from said album, the roar of approval is absolutely deafening. The opening line, “Are you ready?” is all but drowned out. Fuck yes, we're ready! Moreso since this is probably the first tour on which the entire album has been played in chronological order, Blind, then Ball Tongue, Need To, Clown... Hell, you know it even if you haven't listened to it for a while. “All my life, who am I? All my life, who am I?” Certainly the crowd knows it! You can barely even hear those trademark bagpipes at the start of Shoot And Ladders!
In a way, it's kind of odd to be revisiting Korn the album, like running into an ex-lover or the kid who bullied you at school, or whatever it is that opens old wounds, but even with the harrowing final track, Daddy, there's a sense of celebration this evening. Two decades on it's just a really fucking good record, that other bands are still trying and failing to copy. Better still, Korn themselves move on at the end, encoring with Falling Away From Me, Here To Stay, Spike In My Veins and the inevitable Freak On A Leash. Sweet as...