Korn has been through both the highs and lows of their career. Fans will remember the golden early era Korn, back when nu-metal was all the hype. Others will remember their experimental phase with contempt, especially their brief excursion with dubstep with The Path Of Totality. Since then, the band has slowly been honing their sound once more, and with another new album on the horizon, things are looking good with the new single 'Rotting In Vain'.
Progression is most easily seen when a band takes the elements that were loved of previous sounds and crafting something new, those ideas in mind while still finding a new direction to take. 'Rotting In Vain' isn't exactly progressive. Nothing necessarily new is found within the track, but it does take previous elements of Korn's music and builds a well-constructed jam.
I'm a sucker for when electronic music comes together with heavy music (thanks, Linkin Park). This is no Hybrid Theory, though; no band does that blend of heavy and electronica better than Linkin Park. The electronics in 'Rotting In Vain' are much more upfront and act as a replacement for, say, another guitar line (not to mention the guitars are drop tuned lower than a typical Linkin Park song). That being said, the melodies the electronics serve really add a lot of dimension to the song. The guitars wouldn't sound quite as immense as they do without them. It may not be the primary part of the song, but they definitely serve an important purpose.
It can't be unsaid that the riffs on this song are massive. The first riff that kicks in right after the intro buildup is immense. You can feel the earth shaking as if at a live show and the crowd jumps as this mental riff kicks in. The instrumental really kicks you in the face. The finally riff before the last chorus that is riddled with a phaser and the deep synth imitating it is perfect, too. The instrumental is a classic, epic alternative metal jam, electronics helping that come a little further. The vocal melodies support this too, though they do feel a little overdramatic. The growled vocals in the bridge could've been replaced by something a lot better, but it's Korn we're talking about here.
Speaking over overdramatic, take a look at that music video. The more I watch it, the more lost I feel. It doesn't seem to contain much meaning - just the band playing in an old, creepy house with a well-dressed man (played by Sons Of Anarchy actor Tommy Flanagan) doing some creepy things. It's one of those videos that piles in a lot of edginess in order to seem like it has meaning, where in reality they stuck Jonathan Davis in a bathtub with leaves and told him "pretend these leaves are hurting you."
Musically, Korn seems to getting back to that hold they had on metal they had in their prime. 'Rotting In Vain' feels fresh and big, still undeniably a Korn song but also feels new. With the new album The Serenity Of Suffering dropping in October, hopefully the album lives up to the hype this song has raised. If it does, we're in for a big one.
Rating: 85 / 100