It’s not easy to continue writing and recording urgent and poignant nu-metal material three decades after performing, while creating during a pandemic. However, Korn remains inspired. The band from Bakersfield, California, impresses with its latest project, “Requiem,” which is filled with visceral songs.
“When we made this album it was just so different,” drummer Ray Luzier said on the phone from Denver, “For the first time in this band’s history we had no reason to rush. There was no urgency, which was a good thing. We just got together to write some songs and it clicked. We love recording in the studio in Bakersfield. It has such a good vibe since it was where Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson recorded. We had the comfort of that studio and it was such a loose environment thanks to the pandemic. Songs just flowed out of us. We worked well together. It’s a new chapter for us.”
Korn wrote and recorded 17 songs and selected nine tunes for “Requiem.” “We went with what fit best and ran with it,” Luzier said. “Considering the circumstances of the pandemic, we made out well. We have nothing to complain about.”
Luzier and his bandmates made the best of a bizarre situation. “The lockdown was hard on everybody, but the great thing was I spent so much time with my wife and kids that never would have happened if it wasn’t for COVID,” Luzier said. “I’ve been on tour or in a studio for 30 years and for all of us to get closer with our families, that was a blessing. When it was time to get back to create, (Korn guitarist) Head and I, we both live in Nashville, flew to California to make this album and it was just a great time for all of us.”
Korn, which will perform Tuesday at the Spokane Arena, returned to the stage in 2021 and it was a trippy experience for the entire band, Luzier said. “It was like an out of body experience for all of us. I’ll never forget what it was like because we were so thrilled. We all missed touring so much. So many bands took playing out in front of fans for granted before the pandemic. Coming back to playing shows was a reminder of how fortunate we are. I can’t tell you how excited we are to perform every night on this tour.”
Evanescence, who have been close friends with Korn for many years, are co-headliners. Evanescence singer-songwriter Amy Lee is a huge Korn fan. Lee sang with Jonathan Davis for a version of “Freak on a Leash” for an MTV Unplugged special in 2006. Davis and Lee deliver a “Freak on a Leash” duet each night of their tour.
“Amy’s vocals make our song so haunting,” Luzier said. “We have so much respect for her and the rest of her band. It’s great having people so close with us, go out on the road with us. Evanescence is such a special band. There is no one like them and that’s saying a lot since how many unique bands are there?”
It’s uncertain if Korn, which also includes guitarist Munky and bassist Fieldy, will once again go with a back to basics approach when it records its next album. The “Requiem” sessions featured all five members writing in the same space while recording to analog tape with an album that clocks in at just 34-minutes.
“What we did worked out so well for us,” Luzier said. “I have no complaints. We love how the album sounds and the new songs are going over well with our fans. We’re in a very cool place right now. We’ll just have to wait and see what we do next time.”