Friday, October 28, 2016

Korn - The Serenity of Suffering (2016)

Ever since Brian "Head" Welch got back into nu-metal legends Korn, the band has been on a seemingly never ending path towards their glory days, regressing their music back to the 90's, while still holding a toe or two in the present. Their latest album, "The Paradigm Shift", was a cool little experience that dragged the band out of the mud, and into the shower. It certainly got my hopes up that the band would get into their second wind, releasing a bunch of great records.

The first signs definitely pointed towards the positive. When "The Serenity of Suffering" was announced, one could instantly recognize the nostalgia of the cover art, taking us back to the album "Issues", in which it borrows elements from. Like that was not enough, the first two tracks from the album, "Insane" and "Rotting In Vain", have tons of familiar Korn elements in them. We have to voodoo beat boxing, the crunchy and groovy riffs, and that mental feeling that the band nails so good when they are at their best. Both tracks are great, and opens up the album perfectly.

However, you could just as well just listen to those two tracks, because the rest of the album is more or less the same music being repeated over and over again. It is of high quality, but close to all songs have the same tone, sound, structure, and theme, so it is extremely easy to get lost, not knowing which song you are listening to. This makes "The Serenity of Suffering" a very dense album, one that feels much longer than its relatively short 40 minute play time. For a die hard Korn fan, that might actually be an advantage, but to me, it just feels like a chore.

There are though several small details that do make some songs more manageable, and more enjoyable. We got a small guest appearance from Corey Taylor (Slipknot, Stone Sour) in "A Different World" where he contributes with his own creepy vibe and some emotional screaming. Then we have "Everything Falls Apart", a song that is not driven by the riffs or a groove, instead it is the whole picture that drives the song forward, creating a cool mood that bursts out into a very repetitive, but effective, chorus. A very interesting song that truly stands out. Or how about "Next In Line", that contains one of the more melodic choruses that I have heard from the band in some time, mixed with some classic Korn breakdown goodness of course. It is weird at first, but it tickles your nerves just about right, forcing a smile onto your face.

While it does not have the same versatility as "The Paradigm Shift", "The Serenity of Suffering" is still another proof that the return of Head and the old school sound is still going strong with this band. It is a very dense record to get through, but the quality is there, and that is honestly good enough for me. The band is doing their thing, and they are doing it well. Now, I do need to see some more diversity in the next album, but until then, I am gonna enjoy the best tracks, because they do bring me serenity.

Songs worthy of recognition: Everything Falls Apart, Insane, Next In Line

Rating: 7/10 Different Worlds

More reviews of Korn
The Paradigm Shift

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