American heavy weight metal band and nu metal pioneers, Korn return with their brand new album. Released on the 13th of September, this is The Nothing.
Released via Roadrunner/Elektra Records, The Nothing is Korn’s 13th full length studio album. Number 13, released on the 13th – could be unlucky for them, or us. For the first time in a fair few years though I am optimistic. That optimism comes mainly off of the back of the two singles released in the build up. Well, actually probably more down to just one. The second single, Cold, is really good. A proper top quality Korn song like those heralded songs of old. You can our read thoughts on it here. The first isn’t bad either. That song is called You’ll Never Find Me and you can read the full review of it here.
So, the Bakersfield boys sound like they have recaptured a bit of their old form, continuing on in the vein of their last release, 2016’s The Serenity of Suffering. That was the album that saw the band move away from dubstep and back towards metal after a few years of utter shite. I must admit though, optimism aside, any new Korn music does put me a little on edge. I have little trust in them as a band anymore and always worry that at any point, the next release might just be JDevil spinning decks with some random rapper spitting bars over it. Yes, I know it’s harsh and I should probably get over it but, hey, once bitten and all that.
Still I want them to impress. I am hopeful and I love the song Cold so, with a glass half full, let’s check out The Nothing.
The Nothing is 44 minutes long and carries on the 13 theme by having 13 tracks on it. Overall? It isn’t bad, and there are some highlights, but it isn’t great either. Good, with some very good songs, but there is plenty of forgettable stuff here too. Occasionally it feels a little forced and, because of that, a little unauthentic. Rather than an album where Korn rediscover themselves with brilliant new music, it sometimes feels like Korn trying to rediscover themselves by just repeating things they have done in the past.
Take the opener for example. The End Begins is a cracking bit of music with Jonathon Davis on the bagpipes, a funky drum beat and crunching riff. It’s really good and then Davis breaks down into cry singing, with 10 seconds of crying at the end. I always loved how he poured his heart and soul into his older music but this doesn’t sound real. I can’t say it isn’t, and if I am wrong, I apologise but it sounds lacking in authenticity to me. After that, we head straight into the two singles starting with the anthem, Cold. I have waxed lyrical about this track before and will continue to. It’s a banger. It’s followed by You’ll Never Find Me which certainly has moments but also lapses.
The Darkness is Revealing has a great intro riff and drum beat. I am not too keen on the broken riff in the verses or the vocals actually though the chorus is great. It comes off the back of a slow down adding massive impact when the guitars crash back in. The heavy vocals near the end are excellent too. It’s a strong song. Idiosyncrasy is a little different. It starts with an almost Slipknot styled guitar and drum section before getting into a well sung verse and a viciously growled prechorus. The chorus is a little flat this time round though. The ending verse is a little weird, lyrically and singing wise before the chorus closes us out. I’m not too sure about this one, might be a grower though.
The Seduction of Indulgence is a pretty terrible short song of around 80 seconds. Yes, lyrically it gets very personal but it isn’t a good listen. Finally Free has a good chorus but that’s it. The slowed down sections don’t sound great and there appears to be a lot of backing layers that make everything sound a little confused. Can You Hear Me starts off with heavy 80’s sounding effects before a crunchy riff joins in. It has more than a little of Gary Numan’s Cars to it’s start. I really like this one actually. It’s a great song with solid singing, strong lyrics and good music. Even the effects are used sparingly so they add to the song rather than becoming it.
The Ringmaster sounds very familiar but that’s okay because it is great. The drums are fantastic and the high tone lead line sitting over the chugging riff is excellent. This one is up their with Cold as one of the best two on the album. Gravity of Discomfort again has a familiar sounding start with a heard it all before riff and drum beat. It isn’t a great song. It is probably the most forgettable song on the album so far and epitomises filler. Interestingly it is listed as written completely by the album’s producer Nick Raskulinecz and an independent singer song writer called Lauren Christy.
[email protected] picks the quality back up a bit with an interesting song. The vocals are great and the lyrics are strong. There are some excellent riffs shooting off and a nice heavy vocal section near the end. The Loss has some of the best intro drumming on the album as we get another really strong song. It’s chock full of emotion and exciting passages. Korn have always been good at big album closers and while this lacks the epicness of songs like Dirty or No One’s There, it has a lot of the qualities. It isn’t actually the album closer as there is a 2 minute long outro type of track called Surrender to Failure. It’s passionate and emotional but I don’t like it. It would have been better to end on The Loss.
So, overall a mixed bag. There are some crackers on here. Cold, The Loss, The Ringmaster and [email protected] are top quality Korn songs, like those golden days. Around those though, there is a lot of instantly forgettable, amazingly average stuff. Gravity of Discomfort isn’t a good song. The Seduction of Indulgence doesn’t work for me and the outro, The Seduction of Intelligence isn’t good despite their clever intentions and meanings. I wanted to love The Nothing. I don’t. Instead the best I can muster is that I like it and that’s fine. There is a lot on the album that will go down well with new fans and plenty for old fans too. It isn’t vintage Korn, those days are probably gone., but we do get a handful of bangers so I’ll take that.
The Nothing by Korn (Roadrunner/Elektra)