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Corey Taylor - Forum or Against'Em
The worldwide pandemic has resulted, next to the obvious health crisis we as a world are facing (wouldn’t be too bad to live on a bounty island now), in many negative side effects. The effects on the cultural and music industry are well documented. Artists have a tough time keeping their heads above water, some even were forced to stop as a band (Anathema), since their main income, touring, has fallen away. A lot of artists went out to find different ways to make their cashflows not run dry completely, but only a few made as large production as Corey “MF” Taylor did with his Forum or Against’Em gig at the LA Forum. Metalrage got out of hibernation to report on this unique event. Neurotic and a special guest reporter were able to tell you about it!
 
The whole program was more than 3 hours long, which was presented by Beez, seemingly a superfan of everything Corey Taylor touches. It wouldn’t surprise us if Corey would take a pee, Beez would find it “amazing”, “what a talent” etc. To keep a story short, while the few minutes are tolerable, he wears his welcome out shortly after those few minutes. This guy is just too much! Best term to describe Beez is skippable.
Before the concert starts we get shots from the bus ride towards the Forum, interviews with band members and Corey, a behind the scenes look at the making of the video of CMFT Must Be Stopped, interview with his wife and leader of the Cherry Bombs dance crew, his manager etc. Just a few interesting pieces you can find in this bit, the majority of the content is redundant and telling how amazing Corey is. It gets a bit uncomfortable, as if Corey is the second coming of Christ. He is really talented and a good vocalist, but this is clearly too much for us level headed reviewers. Then finally the show we were waiting for starts!
 
The set up at the forum is tasteful but not spectacular. Lights are good, the stage looks traditional and without any props, so nothing fancy, it is clearly the aim to get the music across without a lot of distractions. Personally we weren’t that familiar with his new music prior to the concert, except for the few singles that were brought out in anticipation to the whole album, so we were ready to be surprised by all the new stuff Corey released and of course silently hoping we would get some Stone Sour/Slipknot songs.
 
They kick off with the song ´HWY 666’, a song that was played a lot during the build up towards the show. It can best be described as a rock ‘n roll song on overdrive and with a tad more testosterone, basically Corey in a nutshell. What strikes immediately is the sound quality, guitar sound is spot on and also Corey is very well audible. This is excellent news for the rest of the concert, because for people who have watched Slipknot shows in the past, they know that sometimes his vocals get drowned in all the musical violence. The song is fun, gives energy and is an excellent concert opener. If there was a crowd, chances are big they would go frantic from the get-go.
 
After this we got treated on 3 other CMFT songs (‘Meine Lux’, ‘Halfway Down’ and ‘Silverfish’). They don’t have the same impact as the opener. It is all midtempo and especially ‘Halfway Down’ isn’t too strong, that the vocals were drowned a bit due to the guitar volume also didn’t help. The first cover of the night ‘Shakin’ an original from Eddie Money fit the setlist well, but also doesn’t break the monotony of the tempo.
 
Then the first Stone Sour song made it to the setlist ´Song #3’ one of the lead singles of their last album. The background colored red during this song, to emphasize the Hydrograd album it stems from. The song breaks the tempo a bit and is a welcome change. Then it is back to the CMFT album again with ‘Everybody Dies On My Birthday’; a punky balls to the wall song. Very nice to get the energy back into the concert! It isn’t too difficult, but definitely serves its purpose.
 
Following that was for us the high note of the concert commenced, the lights dimmed a bit and Corey got his guitar ready. The moment he started the first notes of ´Snuff’, the hairs on my arms immediately popped up. It is a powerballad classic and one of the better slower songs ever written by Corey. But this wasn’t everything! Directly after that ‘Taciturn’ was presented. A very very underrated song and it made me wonder how on earth I have always overlooked this song. The setting of the empty Forum was made for this song. You get the feeling that you are only there with the woman/man you love and he sings this song specially for you both. Goosebumps everywhere! What a great song!

After this highlight it is back to business as usual, with three CMFT songs of which ‘Culture Head’ is a personal favorite and brings you back to earth. Especially noteworthy are the backing vocals during this song. Backing vocals with a lot of band are normally cringeworthy in a live setting (looking at you Metallica), but these fellows show how good vocals can really elevate a performance. The other two songs ‘Maria Fire’ and ‘Home’ (a song Corey wrote for his wife) can be described as poor and decent. During the interviews ‘Home’ is being put forth as a big thing and we had high hopes for it, but after ‘Snuff’ and ‘Taciturn’ the song just doesn’t have the same impact. It flows in ‘Zzyxz Road’, which was very well done. The normal setlist, after a few covers and CMFT songs, end with ‘Through Glass’, which is played a bit more up tempo and is a staple in a Corey Taylor setlist. It remains a good song, but after all the midtempo songs a really uptempo brawler would be a better choice.
 
The encore consisted out of a cover (‘On The Dark Side’ – original of John Cafferty), ‘Bother’, ´ETBBS – European Tour Bus Bathroom Song’, ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’ and ended with the cover ‘Watchin You´ originally performed by Kiss. Besides the fireworks and the energy and dance crew during ‘CMFT Must Be Stopped’, the encore didn’t leave a lasting impact, which could be due to the fact there were no fans present. Perhaps in these settings an encore isn’t really fitting.
 
It could come across that the review is a bit overly critical on the performance of Corey and his band, but that wouldn’t be fair. The guys performed really well, the sound was spot on, Corey hit all the right notes, the instruments were clearly audible so the mix was excellent, it is just overall the new song material isn’t too interesting to fill a whole show with. It isn’t bad, mind you, but more diversity in tempo would have done the concert a huge favor. It just got dull at times and then you miss the audience quite a bit. Besides that we enjoyed it a lot and getting such a well produced alternative is just a big boon during these uncertain times. A job well done!