I’m not sure what things look like over at Korn HQ, but I like to imagine that in a year with well-received releases from contemporaries like Tool and Slipknot, someone stood up and called for the bagpipes to come out of mothballs. Am I saying that Korn’s The Nothing (Roadrunner Records) is up to par with Fear Inoculum? Nah, man. Is it up to par with Slipknot’s We Are Not Your Kind? Well, that depends on you, true believers.
See, with both We Are Not Your Kind and The Nothing there are more than enough moments of the bands sounding like their vintage selves but without succumbing to redundancy or just being a warmed-over rehash. And folks from the cheap seats will scream out at the top of their lungs that these albums are the definition of playing it safe, but do you really want for these pioneers to stray too far from their recipes at this point? Believe me, I’ve listened to The Path of Totality enough to know that I don’t need Korn trying to redefine themselves this late into the game. Sorry, Mr. Skrillex, your services will not be needed for the time being.
Instead, Nick Raskulinecz makes sure that the Bakersfield boys have the right environment to write punchy and very well produced jams that could fit right in with albums like Take a Look in the Mirror or Korn III: Remember Who You Are. ‘The Ringmaster’ and ‘Can You Hear Me’ open with riffs that clearly state that Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Shaffer are as comfortable as they’ve ever been trading riffs in the pocket. Jonathan Davis is still in the business of mashing together clean vocals with throaty growls and odd scat moments on ‘Cold’ and ‘The Darkness is Revealing.’
Again, it may not aspire to reinvent the wheel, but The Nothing seems to be checking off all the boxes of what we want in a Korn record today.
7 / 10