After 3 years the illustrious Korn return with their 12th studio album The Serenity of Suffering. The band has always been well received and in spite of changes in line-up and personal issues over the last 22 years, since piquing the public interest with 1994’s self titled début the band has largely gone from strength to strength. The last 5 or 6 years has probably seen the weakest offerings from the Nu-Metal upstarts, the cause of which could arguably be the departure of two original members - lead guitarist Brian “Head” Welch and drummer David Silveria. Head returned to the fray in 2013 and now, 3 years on we see Korn come back with what I can confidently say is a true return to form.
The album opens almost serenely with Insane’s first couple of bars but as expected, it very quickly descends into Korn’s signature grinding guitars and bipolar vocals which find Jonathan either growling like a feral animal, or cowering like a frightened child at a moment’s notice. These 13 (yes they have done the 13 thing again) tracks have similar elements to a broad spectrum of the bands previous material from Untouchables (check out the riffs on Insane & Please Come for Me) back as far as Follow the Leader (check out the riffs on Black is the Soul and Baby) and while maintaining their trademark heaviness they flit backwards and forwards within their own styles combining the best of their past to create an absolute monster of a record!
I always have to ask myself with any release, can I find a fault with it? Not really! If I was being very picky then maybe the vocals “it’s the voices in my head/it’s the voices in my head” during Everything Falls Apart are a little too comical to be serious, but it also makes them a little more haunting than they would have been if they were more serious!
The highlight reel of this album would be huge if I included everything, but the top pick of the bunch for me are the head banging circular riffs in Die Yet Another Night, A Different World featuring Corey Taylor who’s vocals lend yet another edge to an already ferocious album and the return of Jonathan’s (as my Mum still puts it) Tasmanian devil vocals on Rotting in Vain.
Overall the album is monstrous & uncompromising and represents Korn doing what they do best. It’s a must have for seasoned Korn fans and indeed, any nu-metal fan past or present as it’s a delectable feast of nu-metal riffage from the original nu-metal band.
Oh, and for the record (pun intended), I’ll be turning this one up to 11 for a very long while yet!