Korn
The Nothing


2.0
poor

Review

by Simon STAFF
September 14th, 2019 | 156 replies


Release Date: 09/13/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Nothing sits on the wrong side of creativity and nostalgia.

It was bound to happen at some point this year, wasn’t it? As we approach the final quarter of 2019 and put an end to the decade, this year has not only proven to be a pretty staggering one for quality music, but an excellent send off for the ‘10s. In particular, some of this year’s biggest and best music has come from rock and metal; a resurgence that has seen music’s paradigm of popular music tipped on its head as we watch a band like Tool knock Taylor Swift off the top of the charts, or Rammstein selling out tickets for the biggest tour of their career in mere seconds. It contradicts the notion that these genres are dying out. But more to the point, these two bands in particular have managed to smash almost unbeatable odds by delivering albums that, at the very least, meet God-tier levels of expectation. Even bands that have been away for but a few years have come back into the fold with a ferocity that has caught me off guard. Yes, in hindsight, 2019’s quality output is certainly attributed to the old-timers of the scene, and it makes the year stand as one of the decade’s best for music.

So, where does that leave Korn? Well, the return of Brian “Head” Welch in 2013 did wonders for Korn’s, by then, flaccid career. The Paradigm Shift and The Serenity of Suffering both proved to be admirable returns to form that, at the very least, sent a spark of life back into the band’s sound. After listening to The Nothing though, I’m still a little shell-shocked with how badly they’ve dropped the ball here. It’s a spectacle that not only sees Davis and co. dropping the ball, but watching as that same ball rolls off a cliff with Korn jumping after it. At the album’s core, The Nothing is trying to tap into the band’s troubled roots. That’s essentially the theme being ran with here. You can’t get any more on the nose than “The End Begins”, which hears Davis whimpering and crying until the intro fades out, and “Cold” which seems to indicate the struggles he’s having with accepting the terrible past he had with his father. And look, there could well be an earnest offering being presented to its fans here, but it’s hard to overlooked the cynicism that it’s actually hearkening back to “Daddy” – coincidentally, one of the most infamously revered pieces from their catalogue. It’s the biggest problem with the entire record; it oozes a pseudo emotion that lingers throughout the album’s entire 45 minutes. From the corny recording roll at the end of “You’ll Never Find Me” that hears Davis yelling and knocking stuff over, to the theatrically exaggerated vocal performances that are littered throughout the album. It’s constantly trying to remind you that these guys are bringing the most emotive experience of their entire career.

Even if you were able to shun the overripe stage shows of Davis, by the halfway mark of the album, it’s hard to reason with the fact that the instrumentals and their compositions are recycled and completely flat. It’s humdrum writing: typical Korn chugs with the usual guitar leads they’ve written a thousand times before. However, considering that this is Korn in 2019 – their 13th album – it’s a record that tries to implement the wonky clean chorus of recent years with their “roots”. The biggest problem with The Nothing is that it couples all of the band’s tired writing habits with their modern issues, only now, because they’re aiming at a sound from 20 years ago, it implements NU-metal rap breakdowns with tacky ruthlessness. With that said, the music is the saving grace, despite even that being completely uninspired. At the album’s best, it runs on average Korn riffs, but at 14 tracks there’s not a single moment that stands out as an artistic highlight. There’s daring moves on here, sure, but these segments fail horribly, also. “This Loss” literally backs up the stage play comment from earlier, stripping their NU-metal chugs down for a wall of vocal harmonies and scintillating electronics with bizarre results.

Overall, The Nothing is a huge step back for the band. The Paradigm Shift and The Serenity of Suffering were far from perfect, but they rode a line that balanced a contemporary vision with their stapled characteristics. This tries dearly to be nostalgic yet fresh, but the finished product just comes across forced and derivative. I’ll give the album its credit, it’s consistent in tone and doesn’t fall off the rails like Take a Look in the Mirror, but it should also be said that that consistency runs in between dull and bad.

FORMAT//EDITIONS: DIGITAL/̶/̶C̶D̶/̶/̶V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶/̶/̶T̶U̶M̶B̶L̶E̶R̶ ̶B̶U̶N̶D̶L̶E̶

PACKAGING: N/A

SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES: N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: https://www.kornwebstore.com/



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user ratings (224)
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
ValenDreth (4)
Take a ride through the corn maze of life with Jonathan Davis. Korn is back....

willhun15 (4.5)
Korn keeps proving time and time again they are here to stay with 'The Nothing'...


Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2019


15702 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I'll no doubt get burned at the stake for this one, considering how well received it has been, but this thing is not good.

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Ghosteen

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2019


10389 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Probably will be better received than mine. Yeah this is trash your 2 is being very forgiving.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2019


15702 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lol i look forward to reading it. i don't find it offensively bad, it's just sad to hear what they've resorted to here.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
September 14th 2019


15702 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

and i can't mention the critical reception this album has got enough. it's like i'm hearing a completely different album

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2019


10389 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

I feel bad for the Roadrunner PR team

gereinc
September 14th 2019


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think you should get your ears checked. This is one of the best records of the year.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2019


10389 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

obvious troll being obvious?

ProPrayer
September 14th 2019


21 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Agreed. Huge step back from The Serenity of Suffering, that was easily Korn's best LP in years. Extremely disappointed with this, I loved the first two singles.



Thalassic
September 14th 2019


3465 Comments


Yeah TSoS is way better than this.
Not that this is unlistenable or anything, it just feels kinda dull.

gereinc
September 14th 2019


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Giving it a 1 is trolling

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
September 14th 2019


10389 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

Oh sweetheart, you have much to learn

zaruyache
September 14th 2019


21393 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0 | Sound Off

This album bangs aotyyyyyy

Digging: Death Toll 80k - Step Down

DarkSideOfLucca
September 14th 2019


14855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow I really disagree with all of these 1s and 2s. On first listen I prefer their last two releases, but this is still fucking awesome imo

gereinc
September 14th 2019


12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That’s because you’re reasonable

Thalassic
September 14th 2019


3465 Comments


I don't feel a 1 on this either, but if others do...who cares?

DarkSideOfLucca
September 14th 2019


14855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I CARE

Thalassic
September 14th 2019


3465 Comments


WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE DON'T CARE

WHAT
YOU
THINK


OOOOOOWWOOOOOOWOOOOWWOOOOOOWWWWW

Kusangii
September 14th 2019


2417 Comments


Wow that's edgy

auberginedreams
September 14th 2019


6359 Comments


Out of the big three of nu-metal (Slipknot, Linkin Park and Korn), Korn is the one I could never get into. They have some decent songs/ideas but oftentimes their stuff just sounds awkward, tacky and gimmicky.

DarkSideOfLucca
September 14th 2019


14855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That’s fair. I personally really can’t get into Linkin Park - one of my best friends who has the cover of hybrid theory tattooed onto him hates me for that lol



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