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Korn & Hacktivist at Brixton Academy, London - live review

Bakersfield’s nu metal icons roll back the years

Art for Korn & Hacktivist live at Brixton Academy, London

Last Year’s The Serenity Of Suffering saw Korn continue a rich vein of form, with many of the songs sounding like they could have been plucked straight from their early albums. The fact that Brixton Academy is sold-out tonight despite Korn having played in London last December, and that the audience features a wide-ranging scope of ages including plenty who probably weren’t even born when nu metal was the norm, proves that Jonathan Davis and co are pretty much as popular as they’ve ever been.

Before they hit the stage, though, HACKTIVIST [7] bring their djent-hop hybrid to a quickly filling Academy, performing with supercharged energy to win over plenty of those in attendance. Those thinking rap metal was dead are in for a pleasant surprise here: the venue is near-packed already, and the London band prove a perfect fit for the headliners.

While many bands at the middle-aged mark still slog away at the touring circuit to pay the bills, sporting midlife paunches and an apathetic approach to their craft, KORN [8] are not one of these bands. Jonathan Davis in particular appears in great shape in his patterned trademark kilt, bounding across the stage with enthusiasm and hitting the notes with a notable confidence that he lacked in his early years. And so he should; Korn are tighter than ever.

Tonight is essentially a greatest hits set, though new tracks like Rotting In Vain and Black Is The Soul get solid responses and blend into the set with ease. Falling Away From Me is dropped second song in, for Shoots And Ladders the bagpipe appears, and all the while the energy in the audience is electric – hot as hell, but revved up and bouncing off the walls.

As well as a stunning light show, behind Korn is a huge screen that flashes random imagery and illustrations, from geometric shapes and derelict buildings to a haunting merry-go-round, but they don’t even need the backdrop when the performance is this solid. A four-song encore closes with the inevitable Freak On A Leash as smoke machines explode and the audience belt back the words: going by tonight, Korn are still here to stay.