The twelfth studio record by Korn, The Serenity Of Suffering (Roadrunner) is second release with guitarist Brian “Head” Welch back writing riffs with his brothers, and it’s just like old times.
Spanning over 13 songs this record recalls many memories for “classic” Korn and even showing the old dog still has some new tricks, all thanks to the cues of producer Nick Raskulinecz (Rush, Foo Fighters, Deftones, Mastodon) who guitarists Head and James “Munky” Shaffer credit as bringing back their “SOUND”. From the opening track ‘Insane’ crushing rhythm guitars and guttural vocals blast you off on a riff filled journey, though sadly only lasting forty minuets. But that’s just enough to get whiplash from the constant head banging.
The band focused on making a guitar heavy album again. ‘Black is the Soul’ while having dialed down is Fieldy’s signature clicky bass tone guitar tone, even seen in studio footage sporting older basses from previous years to try and nail the ideas they heard in their heads for our ears to gorge on.
One thing I’ve noticed was the non-appearance of the Bagpipes, which is one major thing that sets Korn apart and has also been missing on the last two records. The single ‘A Different World’ featuring Corey Taylor of Slipknot/Stone Sour, who benefited from Head being present in the studio when he tracked vocals, finding the direction they wanted to take the song.
I find a lot of lyrical similarities to Issues (the album artwork is even inspired by that album) and as the title would suggest the songs deal with suffering, caused by others or even ones’ self. It took a little bit for singer Jonathan Davis to get in to the swing of things due to how deeply he’s delved in to electronic music, but after a little hard work and digging deep, his verses flow like blood from an open wound. Dark, self-deprecating, and full of melody lines such as “I love the way you hurt me, I love that you don’t care, my love is dark and twisted, and I scream when you’re not there” really hits the listener deep down. JD always hits it right on the nose. The second to last track almost sounds like a little brother to ‘Freak On A Leash”, with the way the guitars play in the beginning. Rounding out the album is ‘Calling Me Too Soon’, a fitting way to close out a sob session worthy album finally declaring “I don’t need you”!
This record definitely has all the makings of being an excellent Korn record.