Korn III: Remember Who You Are is the ninth studio album by American metal band Korn, released on July 13, 2010.The band hired Ross Robinson, who produced their first two albums to again act as producer, and drummer Ray Luzier to act as permanent drummer, instead of a live fill-in as he had been previously. The album was recorded as a four-piece band, using no Pro Tools or editing, unlike Korn's more recent albums. Vocalist Jonathan Davis says the album is "simple" in that it is not as multi-layered as Korn's other recent albums, but "it's about the vibe."
After releasing their untitled eighth album in July 2007 through their two-record deal with Virgin Records, Korn took a ten-month hiatus so that the members could focus on different projects. Guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer started the recording of his side-project Fear and the Nervous System's debut album. In July, Shaffer reported on the band's MySpace page that the album would not be released August 8, 2008 as previously mentioned. Bass guitarist Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu recorded guitars for the as of yet unreleased StillWell debut album Surrounded by Liars. Vocalist Jonathan Davis recorded his first solo album along with his back-up band the SFA's who also backed Davis on his Alone I Play tour.
When getting back into the studio for the recording of the band's ninth studio album, Korn hired Ross Robinson, whom the band had previously worked with for the recording of their first two albums, Korn and Life Is Peachy, to act as producer. They also hired drummer Ray Luzier, whom they had previously toured with, to replace former drummer David Silveria permanently. This will be Luzier's first appearance on a Korn album. During this time the band was unsigned and funded the recording of the album and the Escape From the Studio Tour themselves.
Writing and recordingEdit
In the early stages of production, Luzier, Arvizu, and Shaffer wrote material for the album in Arvizu's garage. During this time, Davis has purposely kept himself away from hearing the band's new material, saying that after the band has arranged the songs along with Robinson he will start working on the actual lyrics. The band reported that they wrote about fifteen or sixteen tracks of original material during this time. According to Arvizu, the band had plans to play some new material on the tour but decided to abandon the idea due to the plethora of material that has been coming out during the band recording sessions.
After the conclusion of the band's Escape From the Studio Tour in late 2009 the band returned to the studio with Robinson to begin recording sessions. While the band's previous album had been more experimental and contained keyboards performed by touring member Zac Baird to give their music more atmosphere, the album was recorded as a four-piece band with guitars and lap steel by Shaffer, bass by Arvizu, drums by Luzier, vocals by Davis. Unlike the band's more recent albums, the music was recorded with an analog 24-track tape machine and without the use of Pro Tools, similar to the recording of the band's first albums. In addition to the songs already written by Shaffer, Arvizu and Luzier, Davis wrote eleven songs in less than five days shortly after, Davis recorded demos of his songs with guitar and bass recorded by himself over a programmed drum beat. The finished demos were then presented the rest of the band, who played the material live, to "add their own flavor to the songs," according to Davis. Shaffer later revealed that "The Past" and "Never Around" were based on re-written riffs from Davis's demos. While the band had access to a large recording studio, Robinson insisted that the album was recorded in a small 8' x 8' cubicle nicknamed "the catbox" originally intended for recording guitars.
Composition and themesEdit
In April 2009, vocalist Jonathan Davis revealed that he was planning to make the album a concept album, and that it was to lyrically revolve around the concept of five symbols that Davis identifies as the "downfall of man". One of these symbols is organized religion, something that Davis considered to be responsible for a lot of things that have gone wrong in the world today. The other symbols are drugs, power, money, and time. In September 2009, however, Davis said that his idea for a concept album was not turning out as he had originally intended. He proposes that, instead, he is just going to sing however he feels at that moment. Davis also feels the album will combine the "raw catharsis of early Korn records" with the "storytelling [of recent records]". He commented, "I wanted it to start out as a concept album but now there are other things coming up that I want to talk about. I don't know necessarily if the concept's going to stick or not ... It's weird. I've been humming my lyrics along with the band as they play. I haven't done that in forever. We'd usually do our parts separately, and then I'd do my thing over the music after the song was done. We've been writing altogether as a band this time. I've been freestyling all of these lyrics that aren't necessarily about the five things I initially came up with for the album's concept. It's total freestyling—complete stream-of-consciousness. I'm really digging it. I might just go with what's coming out of my body at that moment..."
Davis also proposed that the album will recall their early albums, using a vibe that does not sound over-produced. He elaborates, "We're not trying to do Korn II, or Life Is Peachy II, but it's just to have that vibe back where it's not too over-produced. Just slamming people's faces, like we did back, in '94, '95, and '96." Davis concludes that the album will be simple, rather than complicated as he proposes their previous few albums were. In April 2010 Davis revealed that topics for songs were "about me living my life for others when I shouldn't, people-pleasing all of the time, stress, guilt and all kinds of emotions we live with everyday that destroy us and tear us down. I write about all of the fake people around us and how I always try to fix other people's problems. I write what I feel, and it comes out naturally. I've got a lot of shit built up inside me; that doesn't go away.
During the recording of the album guitarist James Shaffer used several vintage guitars, echos, long delays and reverbs as well as employed fingerpicking during certain instrumental passages. Producer Ross Robinson also involved Shaffer with creating different guitar sounds by experimenting with effect pedals, beating the guitar with a drum stick or shaking Shaffer while he was playing. Shaffer also commented that "When we did the first two records, we broke the music down to a completely emotional beast. Through the years, we started to experiment with vocal harmonies and more orchestrated pieces. Recording this album, we brought that knowledge into the raw emotion of what we already knew. You hear the melodies and layers, but it still comes from a very primitive Korn." All drum parts by Luzier were recorded without the use of a click track allowing the band to change tempo during different parts of the songs. Robinson often confronted Luzier stopping in the middle of takes and confronting him wondering why he was wasting his time, according to Shaffer this was done to make Luzier understand the obstacles Korn had to overcome. Luzier commented "The first week or so, I was having a hard time with it. I wanted to strangle the guy. He was punching cymbals, kicking stands, screaming. On a couple of tracks on the record, you can actual hear him yelling. He would come up and push my arm on a fill. It was intense." Luzier also earned the nickname "Dr. Octopus" during the recording process because many of his drum takes demanded the Luzier would cross his arms to reach different drums and cymbals. Luzier also commented much of his playing were different then his previous work, particularly the album's first single – "Oildale (Leave Me Alone)" – which according to Luzier described "[that] groove is so weird and odd for me to play, so I would come up with my own ideas but Ross would alter them. Some of them he would try to take in another direction, or if I was hitting the kick on the down, he would say, ‘What if you put all the kicks on the upbeats and hit the downbeat with the floor tom instead?’ The “Oildale” song is just that. The main groove of it is me hitting the floor tom and all the kicks are on the upbeats" Vocalist Jonathan Davis also remarked that he "didn't stack four or five vocal parts like I usually do. I'm singing one part for every song, which was scary. It's just me and the microphone, and you can really hear the emotion." Bagpipes can be hearing in the end of the song "Lead the Parade". You can hear it when Jonathan hum. This is the only one song that Jonathan playing on bagpipes.
Title and packagingEdit
During the recording process the band referred to the album as Korn III – a reference to the band's early material – later the title of the album was extended to Korn III – Remember Who You Are. Davis explained that meaning of the albums title with: "It comes down to one question: 'Who the fuck am I?' It's about remembering where we came from. The title sums up everything I'm talking about lyrically." Shaffer also commented that "You can lose focus of why you wanted to start playing music in the beginning because you can get caught up in the money and the fame and the traveling. It’s kind of like, ‘OK, let’s hit the reset button." On May 14, the artwork for the album was revealed on Roadrunner Records official website.
In August 2009, Korn announced plans to release a three-track EP featuring an instrumental demo from the upcoming album. The EP was released digitally exclusively to premium-paying members of Korn's website on September 28, 2009. The band also allows premium-paying members of their website to view live studio production sessions via webcam. Guitarist James Shaffer revealed in an interview that the band intends to embark on an eighteen-month world tour to promote the album, starting in February. In January 2010 Kevin Lyman revealed that Korn would headline the Rockstar Mayhem Festival tour, throughout North America along with Rob Zombie, Lamb of God and Five Finger Death Punch. Jonathan Davis later revealed plans for the Ballroom Blitz Tour, a concert tour featuring 2Cents, held in smaller venues similar to that of the band's first tours. On May 27, Roadrunner Records released a free MP3 download for the song "Are You Ready to Live?" but only for a 24 hour period. On March 27, 2010 they performed the first single from the album, entitled "Oildale (Leave Me Alone)", at their show in Anchorage, Alaska. On July 1, 2010 the band were musical guests at Jimmy Kimmel Live where they performed "Oildale (Leave Me Alone)" and "Let the Guilt Go".
In July a number of viral videos were released by the band, the first two videos included amateur footage of crop circles and unidentified flying objects, while the second two videos included news footage of the phenomenons identifying its location as Kern County. The Korn logo could also be seen in one of the crop circles. On July 7 the band announced Korn Live: The Encounter, A Concert for Korn III: Remember Who You Are, a live concert filmed on June 24 at the crop circles. The concert would be premiered via HDNet on July 11, and the day after via MySpace. The unusual setting for the concert was inspired by Pink Floyd's 1972 Live at Pompeii concert, the 80-minute concert included several new songs from the upcoming album, as well as older songs and fan favorites. Davis noted that "the setting and the mood took us into a totally new direction musically. We took the opportunity to stretch out and experiment with the performance" while Shaffer described it as "a new frontier musically for Korn".
Release and receptionEdit
In an interview in October 2009 guitarist Shaffer revealed that the band had discussed several different options to release the album, with or without being signed to a record label. Shaffer mentioned releasing the songs three at a time on the internet, on a USB key or on CD, or possibly all three options. In December 2009 Davis revealed that the recording of the album is complete and that the album is targeted for a June 2010 release. In January 2010 a video of the band recording the song "Are You Ready to Live?" (under the demo title "My Time") was leaked, uploaded copies of the song and video, which has been described as "old school Korn", were quickly removed by the band's management.
On March 15, in the announcement of the Ballroom Blitz Tour, the album title was also revealed to be "Korn III: Remember Who You Are". In March 2010 Shaffer revealed via an online chat with fans that Korn had chosen to sign with Roadrunner Records, this was later confirmed by Davis who called the label "a good home [for Korn]" and added that "they're one of the last real, respected labels left... We looked at all the other options and didn't want to go down that road again." Davis also explained that the band ultimately decided to abandon the idea of releasing the album independently, "We could do it on our own, but it's so complicated with all the business aspects and marketing and all that other stuff that I'm never really into..."
The album was released on July 6, 2010 in Japan, and Australia and Germany three days later. The album was to be released on July 13 in the United Kingdom, the same day where it was shipped to North America and New Zealand, but this date was pushed back to July 12. The album was finally released on July 20 in Mexico.