Live at The Hollywood Palladium
Er.... umm.... what is this?
Korn are one of those bands who have changed quite significantly since they hit us with their self titled debut back in 1994. Actually, thinking about that now, it’s hard to believe that album is almost two decades old. Ten albums on, and their most recent effort, 2011’s The Path of Totality, was a dub step fused metal mix that further divided fans, fuelled haters and had the die hards defending it with every breath in their body. Of course only being a single guitar band these days also has had an effect on the band’s live sound. Couple that with the band’s evolving musical direction, and live, well, who knows what to expect.
It was quite a surprise to see this one pop into my review box as I don’t recall seeing it on my release sheet radar anywhere along the way. Anyways, I was curious to see what Korn live these days is like given the musical shift and the fact that the last time I saw them in concert, the band’s line-up was all original members. Oh my, how things have changed indeed.
The first seven tracks are taken from the band’s most adventurous (read controversial) release to date. The Path of Totality was an album that I didn’t hate, didn’t love but when I listen to it, it feels like a guilty pleasure of sorts. There was something about that style that worked for Korn’s already hybrid rap metal (aka nu-metal) approach. But these seven live songs from that album had me wishing that I was listening to their studio album instead making my own crowd noises along the way for shits and giggles. Maybe they were entertaining from a visual perspective – I don’t have the DVD or BluRay that completes this package to review - but just listening to this as it is presented here is as boring as bat shit, plain and simple. I still have that guilty pleasure vibe when it comes to listening to the studio album but these songs simply do not translate to anything that is remotely interesting in a live sense.
The remaining nine cuts – well, technically eight as One is a one minute Metallica “cover” for want of a better word – are a predictable selection of hits that neglect more of the band’s more recent output. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing mind you but the sound for these is very muddy and bass heavy. At times, Davis and Co. sound like they are going through the motions even with the variations they have made to these long standing set list staples. Perhaps it’s to keep the songs interesting to themselves as musicians. Perhaps it’s to keep the songs interesting to fans. I’m not sure. Either way, whilst the crowd at the Hollywood Palladium sounds like they are into it, I’m sure not buying into this live release at all.
Overall, Live at The Hollywood Palladium sounds like a good bootleg or an average pro recording. The modern material live sounds like a shallow, scooped version of the studio versions and the classic stuff just lacks that magic that made them classics in the first place. I get that this is a special concert with guest appearances by Skrillex, Excision and 12th Planet amongst others and I get that this is a visual experience perhaps more than an aural one but I really think that Korn and I, at least in the live sense, have clearly parted ways. We almost did in the studio sense a couple of albums back, too. But as far as Live at The Hollywood Palladium goes, I’d recommend staying the fuck away from this as much as possible. There really is nothing redeeming about that at all. Maybe it was an off night or maybe I’m just not getting Korn live now but by the sounds of this, perhaps they’d be better off sticking to studio releases. Haters will love this.
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