Korn return with the intention of being heavier than the band has been in years with The Serenity Of Suffering.
In October 1994 Korn released their debut self-titled album and 22 years later the band is still intact and going strong. From Follow The Leader to finding God to finding Skrillex (of all people), Korn have had an amazing career in every way imaginable. Whether you are a fan of Nu-metal or not, you can’t deny that Korn has stood the test of time in that sub-genre and stand a head above many other nu-metal bands that have fallen by the wayside. And after co-headlining separate tours in 2016 with Rob Zombie and Breaking Benjamin, Korn now give their twelfth studio album The Serenity Of Suffering. Throughout Korn’s touring in 2016 Jonathan Davis has been promoting and selling his excitement for the new album and it really does come across as genuine. While Korn has had different variances throughout the past years dabbling in EDM and dubstep, it’s this new album that might make longtime fans happy. According to Brian Welch, “We want everybody to be smiling at the end of the process. So we do have other things to consider, but we’re gonna come out heavier than anyone’s heard Korn in a long time.”
After 11 previous albums many Korn and nu-metal fans are going to have a specific favorite time period and album of the band’s that they hold dear. But with the statement that Korn are going heavier than they’ve been in a long time, which for many older fans may not have heard in a while, can be something to get excited for who long for their reign in the 90’s and weren’t in love with the more recent venture in The Path Of Totality. In typical Korn fashion, the new music will not be about sunshine and rainbows and with song titles like “The Hating” and “Die Yet Another Night”, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. When you listen to the album you are quickly given two examples of Korn getting heavy and dark with the songs “Insane” and “Rotting In Vain”.
“Rotting In Vain” was released back in July of this year and according to Jonathan Davis is a song about being stuck in bad situations. The slapping bass from Fieldy comes in clear and while the verses feel slightly quieter as a buildup the chorus still feels strong and haunting. The heaviness doesn’t come in until a little over two minutes with the guitar riffs from Head and Munkey behind Davis’ scat singing. While this may not be the heaviest song Korn has done, it definitely feels heavier than what has been presented over the last few albums. “Rotting In Vain” is reminiscent of “Make Me Bad” in several ways with the rhythm and build into the chorus. Davis’ voice comes in clear through his singing and his bombastic embellished wordless shouts give that signature feel to what Korn is known for. The heaviness that Head was talking about comes in blasts throughout the album. It isn’t a consistent barrage but rather it goes in and out. While the opening two tracks are heavy, following tracks like “The Hating” and “Everything Falls Apart” have slower quieter moments that give a good opposition to the louder side. While they aren’t as heavy, they still feel like they belong in Korn’s ever growing discography.
It’s kind of like adding a tiny bit of salt when baking cookies. It makes the sugar taste sweeter by comparison. These slower moments in some of the tracks add to the mood and dark tone in the album while making the heavier moments stand out. As The Serenity Of Suffering goes on, you hear several examples of this. The ambient mood set by the guitars create a solid background that all leads to a breakdown where everyone loses it. It’s those bridges and breakdowns in the album that do come abruptly however. They tend to sound so much heavier and more overpowered than the rest of the track that it becomes disjointing to the song. Sometimes it works great, but other times they sound like two different parts laid on the same timeline. That being said, there are still more strong points in the album to make listeners happy, including the stand out track featuring Corey Taylor.
While The Serenity Of Suffering may not be the heaviest album in Korn’s 20+ year career, Head’s words about this album being heavier than anything they’ve done in a long time holds true. It may not stand along their greatest moments of their self-title, Life Is Peachy and Follow The Leader, but the album still has many tracks that hit hard and deep. Overall, The Serenity Of Suffering should satisfy just about any longtime Korn fan, especially if said fans have been wanting something louder than the band’s previous few entries. If you enjoyed A Different World and Rotting In Vain, you may find more songs you like in this album, whether or not you are able to scat sing along with Jonathan or not.