Frontman with nu-metallers Korn, Jonathan Davis has just unleashed his solo album Black Labyrinth. For 25 years he has been the focal point of Korn with his crazed vocal tones and style, his heartfelt and pained lyrics and a whole lot more. So what does he have to offer without his nu-metal brethren backing him up?
“Underneath My Skin” is not a surprising start to the album, it sounds very much like Korn with a slight dance electronics element and is easily likable on first listen. “Final Days” has a tribal sound to it at first with it a woodwind instrument and percussion entrance. His vocals remind me a bit of Marilyn Manson on this one at the start. It definitely has that middle eastern and Indian influence throughout but doesn’t really go anywhere.
A faster pace awaits us with “Everyone” and it’s filled with a killer Korn riff that wails in the background. Again it’s very electronic but industrial at the same time. The guitars throughout make this the best thing I’ve heard so far. “Happiness” starts with a cool but electronic riff, it reminds me of some of the stuff on Korn‘s album Untouchables. Again this a pretty cool track although he does sound like he’s recorded the vocals underwater. A pounding drumbeat kicks off “Your God” and I like this track from the start. Again this is very electronic but very rock at the same time. It’s a theme I think will be running throughout the whole album, which is a shame as I was expecting something more than the norm from this.
A killer riff kicks off “Walk On By” and gets things off to a stomping start. The drums sound crisp and punishing throughout this track and there is a slight change in vocal style which is nice to hear. “The Secret” sounds like an electronic ballad sung underwater but really kicks in once the chorus hits. I love this track. This is the first track I identify with personally up to now. The rest has been a bit hit and miss so far. “Basic Needs” sounds like a rusty machine trying to ignite at first but once it gets going is not a bad track but very weird.
At first, it sounds like the opening to a horror movie and then “Medicate” turns into that horror movie. This track is awful, it sounds like a lot of medication was taken before working on this one. “Please Tell Me,” please kill me more like. What a waste of 4 minutes of tape it’s not until 3 minutes in there’s some hope in this track. Spoken word with a female voice opens up “What You Believe” before a real groove orientated riff starts beating through and then turns to shit. I don’t really have much else to say on this track it’s a throwaway.
“Gender” sounds a little like an 80s pop song surrounded by an Indian rhythm section and all matter of weird instruments. This is experimentation gone mad. A piano starts off “What It Is” and when the vocals come in they are clear and sound great. The chorus rocks on this and this is now the albums best track which unfortunately it took a whole album to get too. How clever is it of him that this is the video he releases to promote the album.
Final thoughts Jonathan Davis – Black Labyrinth
Personally, I am pretty disappointed with this. I was expecting more from this album, I wasn’t expecting a huge departure from Korn but making an album that sounds like Korn with machine-like influences is a bit shit, to be honest. The album reminds me of Disturbed frontman David Draiman‘s Device album, which is basically Disturbed with a machine-like feel. Try harder next time Jonathan.