Musically surprising

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis has spent 25 years fronting a band known for his unique vocal whine and heavy low end. So after 12 albums of the same lyrical content, what can he do differently to separate himself from what has been part of his stock in trade for such a long time?

Despite the quite negative outlook – expecting little more than a Korn album – Black Labyrinth is musically surprising. While the album opener sounds like a lightweight take on the vocalist’s day job, the surprises begin early with second track ‘Final Days’ holding a Middle Eastern flavour with some great percussion and instruments that evoke a totally different image of his songwriting ability.

From here Davis does his best to make sure you know who is singing, covering some of his usual ‘woe is me’ lyrical content but with a positive and powerful outcome in his approach. Musically this approach is different enough to keep it interesting, yet there are Korn-a-like moments with tracks such as ‘Happiness’ or ‘Basic Needs’ and ‘Your God’. You would be mad not to expect these moments; after all, the entire project is built around one of the main influences of early nu-metal.

The music that Jonathan Davis has written is most interesting, some parts pop, others carry a very electric beat, but all intertwine in a way that keeps the album at least interesting and at times unpredictable, even with a mid-section peppered with slower tracks.

With such a low expectation for this album, the surprises were welcome, and while it isn’t really pointed towards the Korn audience they will be the only ones even bothering to pick it up. In saying that, Black Labyrinth is a decent recorded document of just where the vocalist’s talents lie if he chooses to flex his musical talents beyond what he is known for.

  1. Underneath My Skin
  2. Final Days
  3. Everyone
  4. Happiness
  5. Your God
  6. Walk On By
  7. The Secret
  8. Basic Needs
  9. Medicate
  10. Please Tell Me
  11. What You Believe
  12. Gender
  13. What It Is