These are confusing, changing times. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump, instability around the world — most people are desperate for something reliable to cling on to. Which is why listening to ‘The Serenity Of Suffering’, the twelfth album by nu-metal overlords Korn, is akin to a comforting experience.
“Comforting” might be an odd adjective to describe an album which guitarist Brian ‘Head’ Welch has described as “heavier than anyone’s heard us in a long time”, but there’s something reassuring about the familiarity of this album. What that means is that if you’ve ever heard a Korn record before, you’ll be on well-trodden ground with ‘The Serenity Of Suffering’. There are sludgy, down-tuned power chords, there are whiny lyrics about how life is constantly unfair (reminder: Korn frontman Jonathan Davis is 45 years old), there is even that vocal tic where Davis sort of cackles like a disturbed demon — everything you need to max out your Korn bingo card.
But the crucial question remains: is it actually any good? No. Of course it isn’t. But that’s okay. In fact, it’s almost to be encouraged. Korn have now been a going concern for 23 years, and they operate in a genre that’s not received mainstream attention or acclaim since the turn of the century. There’s no point and no need for them to change what they’re doing. They’re not going to make any new fans, and ‘The Serenity Of Suffering’ will likely more than please the die-hards that have followed them throughout their career.
‘The Serenity Of Suffering’ doesn’t pull up any trees but it does the job. It’s a welcome return as far as Korn fans, and the rest of us can go on living our lives and thinking about more pressing matters. Now, does anyone know how to rescue a tanking economy?
Words: Joe Rivers
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