LIVE: Korn / Hacktivist @ Brixton Academy, London

By Louis Kerry

One of the world’s most iconic nu metal bands are back on UK soil. Having spent 15 years blasting faces off, Korn are just days away from performing at the Reading and Leeds Festivals in what will likely be in front of a mix of rabid fans, high school leavers who have only heard of them from their older brothers and everyone wanting a decent space for Eminem.

Before they confuse an entire field twice over with their signature brand of undiluted metal, the band make a stop in London to play front of a crowd that are 100% diehard Korn fans.

Opening the show are UK rap/metal hybrid Hacktivist. Vocalist Jot Maxi has only just joined the band but you would never guess thanks to his boundless energy and sheer vocal aggression. If there’s one thing that you can always count Hacktivist on it’s that they will smash any stage you put them on, as they prove again tonight, impressing 5000 Korn fans in the process.

As the nostalgic smell of metalhead sweat filling the sold out Brixton Academy becomes unavoidable, Korn’s thunderous bass rings through the venue and the band pace straight into ‘Rotting In Vain’. Without a moment’s breath, the classic ‘Falling Away From Here’ follows as headbanging and mosh pits fully erupt all over the Academy.

For what is essentially a standard European tour, an incredible effort has gone into the production. Pulling out all of the stops, the Korn stage is complete with CO2 cannons, lighting boards and a giant video wall with shots that were reminiscent of a 2001 Windows PC demo loading screen. The shots of their dedicated fans from all over the world provide a moment of clarity on how much of a family the Korn community are.

Frontman Jonathan Davis is visibly enjoying himself, leading the “Crazy sexy English motherfuckers” into a frenzy. Having been a part of Korn for ten years now, drummer Frank Luzier has firmly found his feet, relentlessly delivering high energy drum fills whenever the moment is right, making each song his own. Fieldy still commands the band like no other on bass as his riffs pulse right through you on ‘Coming Undone’.

‘Y’all Want A Single’ still makes you want to throw your middle finger in the air, ‘Clown’ still sounds as sadistic as ever, ‘Got The Life’ provides the ultimate singalong moment and the riff to ‘Somebody Someone’ is still spine-tinglingly heavy.

They might all be absolute crackers of anthems, but playing the almost exact same collection of old songs tour after tour wears thin and only pushes them closer to that heritage act status. Aside from playing a few tracks from latest album ‘The Serenity of Suffering’, with such an extensive back catalogue, there is plenty of room in their set to include songs that they’ve produced in the last 12 years.

Ending on the double whammy of ‘Blind’ leading into ‘Freak on a Leash’ (as the whole room do their best/worst Davis beatboxing impersonations) the band’s performance is flawless. On point production, charisma that shines through and staggering musicianship with riffs so heavy that they force you into headbanging position. Tonight would leave any Korn fan frothing at the mouth.

If Korn perform this fearlessly at Reading & Leeds, then the real slim shady is not going to want to stand up afterwards.