Album Review: Korn – The Serenity of Suffering

By Gabe Dooley, Contributor

[Roadrunner; 2016]

Rating: 4.5/10

Key Tracks: “Take Me”

Making fun Korn is pretty much a meme at this point. Yet, at the same time, look at the album cover for The Serenity of Suffering and try to say they’re not asking for it. It’s very easy to not take Korn seriously due to their corny lyrics and the uncomfortable vocal inflections of frontman Jonathan Davis, however, any artist’s effort should be approached with an open mind.

Believe it or not, if you can listen past the bland emotional lyrics, you might be able to make it through this album. Yes, the generic angry-sad lyrics on this thing have not progressed much past those of Korn’s early records; yet they thankfully are not as difficult to hear as some as some of Korn’s contemporaries, namely, Limp Bizkit. On this positive note, parts of this album come together to be admirably melodic at times, and the instrumental performances are undeniably solid. Songs like “Take Me” and “Next In Line” seem well arranged and produced, though not in a way that distinguishes this project from early works. Though that’s not always a bad thing; the album is certainly heavier and more intense than the band’s more recent efforts, making it likely to please some of their older fans.

Unfortunately, the fact is that if you don’t generally get down with the niche style of Korn and fellow nu-metal bands, you will most likely struggle to fully appreciate this album. The lyrics are often either too vague to understand or so in your face that they’re genuinely uncomfortable, and while discomfort can often be a great tool for the artist to impact listeners, the examples here on The Serenity of Suffering just sound too immature to do so. The themes of loneliness, depression and anger could have been expressed far more effectively if Korn had opted for some deeper or more unique lyricism. Nonetheless, with its decent instrumentation and well crafted production, The Serenity of Suffering could be worth a listen or two for those who enjoyed the nu-metal as it was in the late 90s and early 2000’s.

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