CD review KORN ‘The Nothing’

(9/10) Korn, pioneers of Modern Metal, are one of the most influential bands in this specific genre. While other band came and left the stage, it’s the Metal veterans from Bakersfield being still in business.

Having gone through many ups and some intense downs, Korn grew as a band with a surprisingly stable line-up. The core, consisting of Davis, Shaffer, Arvizu and Welch, is the solid foundation of Korn’s success and drummer Ray Luzier is an old family member too, joining in 2007.

Korn stands for unique vocals, mighty riffs and a heavily pounding rhythm section. All this is present on ‘The Nothing’. The quintet sticks to their trademarks and fine-tunes their sound. It’s the love for detail and the great performance of everybody involved that makes album thirteen to one of the best ones the band ever released.

Korn’s new album starts in an unusual fashion. The sound of a bagpipe marks the beginning of this release, a start that slowly turns into a weird drum-based opening track, ending with sounds of pure desperation – ‘The End Begins’.

‘Cold’ follows and reflects the wide spectrum of Korn’s sound. Heavy modern riffing is a substantial part of a song that comes with a very melodic chorus and almost growled vocals in the verse. Harshness meets the sweet taste of melody.

Madness continue with ‘You’ll Never Find Me’, another sonic look into the abyss of a human soul. Again it’s melancholy and despair being the basic vibes of this song and you wonder to what extend the album is a catalyst for Davis to process the death of his wife Deven in August 2018. ‘The Nothing’ isn’t a happy album. It’s a longplayer that lives be the inner strife of humans, with ease and eternal gloom being the poles. In this sense ‘The Nothing’ is a carrier of emotion and turning the human soul inside out, reflected perfectly in songs like ‘Idiosyncrasy’.

Another smasher showing the width of Korn in 2019 is ‘Finally Free’. Compared to most of the other tunes this one is kept a bit calmer. The chorus is heavier than the rest of ‘Finally Free’ and although the song pretends to have a flow of ease it’s the outburst towards the end that shifts harmony to rage.

‘Can You Hear Me’ is more of an anthemic Modern Metal song, leading yout to the harsh riffs of ‘The Ringmaster’. Again it’s the area of tension that creates an emotional impact and an expression of madness. Each attempt of adding some light to darkness is torn apart by brutal riff assault, leading to an almost schizophrenic sound collage.

The emotional ride on the rollercoaster of madness continues with ‘H@rd3r and ‘This Loss’, the latter being a bittersweet song with rogue heaviness and fragile moments, resonating a search for harmony. ‘The Nothing’ is a restless album that ends with ‘Surrender to Failure’, the calmest and most harmonic moment on the album. It feels like surrender to the fight between light and dark leads to some inner peace, although the pained cries of Davis at the end shows again the inner disunity even in failure.

‘The Nothing’ is distracting, weird, challenging and fascinating. Korn adds an album to their offer that works right away and still features details, which blossom in black after spinning the album a few times. Korn is back, they are hungry and they go strong.


(9/10)

Tracklist:

  1. The End Begins
  2. Cold
  3. You’ll Never Find Me
  4. The Darkness is Revealing
  5. Idiosyncrasy
  6. The Seduction of Indulgence
  7. Finally Free
  8. Can You Hear Me
  9. The Ringmaster
  10. Gravity of Discomfort
  11. H@rd3r
  12. This Loss
  13. Surrender To Failure

Label: Roadrunner Records

Genre: Modern Metal

Release Date EU: September 13th, 2019

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