Jonathan Davis - Black Labyrinth

The first clue Black Labyrinth is not a new Korn album arrives with the second track "Final Days," which sways to a modified raga groove and includes other sonic elements that sound more out of India, than Bakersfield. However, the very next piece, "Everyone," surges with a bass-y, hard rock riff, which leaves no doubt it's a Jonathan Davis song. Even though Davis is credited with playing sitar on this album, don't ever get the premature impression Black Labyrinth is Davis' world music exploration album.

Nevertheless, Davis covers familiar lyrical territory with Black Labyrinth, most notably with the anti-religious rant "Your God." At one point, Davis whines, "Your god has abandoned me," as if he hasn't ever heard any of Depeche Mode's more overtly atheistic musical moments. With "The Secret," Davis complains about someone that's done him wrong. "I feel like I can't ever get over it," he repeats. It's a song he's already sung many times before, albeit with different words and melodies. But the song, nevertheless, remains the same. "Basic Needs" is another song incorporating Indian musical elements, in this case relegated to the song's outro.

By the time one gets to "Please Tell Me," where Davis asks, "Please tell me what the f*** is going on," it all begins to sound a little like one continuous Facebook rant, where a friend turns his/her newsfeed into a forum for constant complaining. Only in Davis' case, he's mainly using his first solo album for this purpose. If this was a new lyrical approach for Davis, we might be more in tune with his troubles. But at this point, he begins to sound like a broken record. We've heard this album before, only under the band name of Korn.

One called "Gender" is truly creepy. It begins with the song's protagonist announcing, "Came in your window like a ghost." It continues with a chorus that starts with: "Can I wear your skin? /Can I have it now?" This is yet another track that incorporates Indian musical elements. This gender jealousy appears to be driven by boredom, more than anything else, because Davis admits, "I need a new motivation." Once again, this is much more creepy than curious.

The album closes with "What It Is," which opens with an acoustic piano part. It sounds a lot like those Guns N' Roses songs where the group incorporated Elton John-ish keyboard parts into their songs. This one also finds Davis singing, rather than vocalizing like some angry monster per usual.

While there are some new wrinkles in the cloth Jonathan has created with Black Labyrinth, the album is mostly more of the same kinds of songs we've come to expect from this Korn frontman. If you already love Korn, you'll likely have no trouble warming up to these new songs. If you're not already in the Korn camp, however, you'll find Black Labyrinth interesting, but unessential.

Jonathan Davis - Black Labyrinth

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