When music brings in international influences, interesting things start to come back. Korn's Jonathan Davis plays with foreign influences in Black Labyrinth and creates some interesting flavors in the process.
The first thing you'll notice about Black Labyrinth is how unconventional it is. Right from the beginning, Davis employs a certain off-putting effect. 'Underneath My Skin' has this weirdly happy vibe to it that seems to contrast almost everything else about the track, including the timbre of his voice. The effect is creates isn't bad, but its definitely an acquired taste. He does it again in 'Happiness' and 'The Secret,' the latter of which is perhaps a bit more jarring as the melodies just don't seem to suit him, but the inescapable message of the track definitely leaves a lasting mark. There are times where Davis sticks to what he's familiar with, though: the damning 'Everyone' brings epic, dark riffs to the table, as does the dark track about addiction, 'Medicate.'
Elements of Indian music is a major part of Black Labyrinth. Its first appearance is in 'Final Days,' and serves as the basis of the track, the Indian instrumentation helping elevate the mysterious nature of Davis' voice. 'Basic Needs' is more of a best-of-both worlds type of track, the first part dealing mostly with a dark, atmospheric element before Indian music meets metal at the end for a rare but epic blend. The percussion in 'Gender' serves a big role in the track, as the haunted, creepy song rolls along with that familiar weird optimism. Even tracks without the Indian elements find ways to be experimental: Davis channels Nine Inch Nails in the chaotic 'Please Tell Me,' while closing track 'What It Is' deals with weirdly colloquial lyrics but still manages to bring an epic conclusion to the record.
Jonathan Davis plays with foreign influences in Black Labyrinth, relying on his timbre and elements of Indian music to make for a pretty unique experience. It's definitely a unique album, and while it may be a bit of an acquired taste, once it sets in you'll really enjoy something special.
Favorite Tracks: Basic Needs, Everyone
Least Favorite Track: The Secret
Rating: 77 / 100
Stream or buy Black Labyrinth on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: