The Nu-Metalers from Bakersfield have gone back in time for their 12th studio album The Serenity of Suffering.
Korn was my break through band, back in 98 I listened to a lot of pop and mainstream shit mainly because that was what my friends at the time liked, but after the first listen to ‘Freak on a Leash’ I was converted, my musical tastes expanded and I became a proud metalhead. I of course went back and got hold of their previous releases and my love for the band grew, I became a follower.
I bought every album that came after and even saw them live, up until a fateful point in the groups career when Brian ‘Head’ Welch left and the band took a massive turn towards the dark side: Electric Dance Music. The following records, See You on the Other Side, Korn III and The Path of Totality, were infusions of Nu-Metal and EDM and not to my liking. I won’t say I lost any respect for Korn during those years but it felt like I’d lost my best friend.
Head returned to the band in 2013 and they made The Paradigm Shift and Korn shifted back towards the Nu-Metal sound but it was still to electric for me. Korn started to record The Serenity of Suffering in 2015 and almost immediately began teasing fans with cryptic interviews about it, I thought nothing of it until Head said to Blabbermouth it is ‘heavier than anyone’s heard us in a long time’ and The Serenity of Suffering contains their most intense music and vocal work. Instantly, I was enthralled again.
Korn released The Serenity of Suffering on the 21st of September to a lot of fanfare since they had given us the early tracks ‘Insane’ ‘Rotting in Vain’ and ‘A Different World’ in the build-up. Now we’ve all heard the singles so I won’t cover them except for one but that comes later.
‘The Hating’ is pure old school Korn, the opening is haunting, before a wall metal hits your ears, this is Untouchables era at its best. ‘Take Me’ is an amazing closer, only problem it’s in the middle of the album, but it doesn’t matter where its place is, this is a killer track with dark lyrics and the duo of Head and Munky’s guitars is any Korn fan’s heaven.
The only single I wanted to mention is ‘A Different World’ which features Corey Taylor of Slipknot, the reason why I want to talk about it is because I love this tune more than anything off The Serenity of Suffering, it takes the opening riffs off ‘Beat It Uptight’ (from Untouchables) to start, before it changes up and almost sounding like ‘Make Me Bad’ (from Issues) for the verses only tuned harder, but it’s the vocals here that stand out, Jonathan sounds awesome as always and works with Taylor’s growling in the background before Corey's almost crooning during the bridge before slowly turning it into pure Slipknot style rage like shouting. The video for ‘A Different World’ needs a mention to, I’ve included it below, check it out and try and tell me that isn’t a Tool rip off, not that I’m complaining, I’ll take almost anything while we wait for Tool’s next release.
Since it came out, I’ve heard a lot of other reviewers say that while Serenity is good, it misses out on top marks because it’s a little too safe by sounding too similar to previous albums.
While I agree that Serenity borrows a bit from some of the older releases Korn has done, I don’t think the band have done it to played it safe, I like to think they’re giving us what we want, Korn back to basics and heavy as fuck and I love it! This record made me almost feel 18 again, it got the blood pumping and I found myself singing along like I did back in the day.
I bought tickets to Korn’s live show here in London at the end of the year before I had even heard The Serenity of Suffering just because of what the band had been saying in the lead up and the strength of the first single along and now I’m glad I did, it’s going to be another awesomesauce show because The Serenity of Suffering takes us back to the good old days; it feels like my best friend is back in my life and I can’t be happier.