My first experience of the Jonathan Davis solo show saw me standing in a packed tent at Download Festival confronted by the sight of Davis atop a massive throne performing what could at best be described as an eclectic set. Since then, Davis has spent the majority of his time back in his day job as frontman of nu-metal titans Korn – a position he has held for the best part of two decades. Over the course of those twenty-odd years, the vocalist has become the face and voice of the alt-metal generation, earning massive respect across all areas of the scene thanks to his honest, emotionally gut-wrenching lyrics.
So, the first concern when an artist as iconic as Davis announces a solo record, is whether or not said album will just be a rehashed version of his day-band. Thankfully, while there are plenty of moments throughout Black Labyrinth where it’s obvious you’re listening to the frontman of one of the biggest metal bands of the modern era, there is so much more depth and diversity to the material on offer.
Again, as with my experience of his first solo show in the UK all those years ago, eclectic is the first word that springs to mind when listening to this collection. There isn’t a downtuned bassline in sight as Davis and his bandmates weave through a world swinging from ambient, chilled-out moments like “Final Days” to harder tracks like “Basic Needs”. Between those two extremes, Black Labyrinth takes you on a rollercoaster of a ride, at times dark and haunting and at other times almost poppy. “Everyone” is more like the angsty work we’ve come to know and expect from Davis while “Your God” pulses along to a thumping electro beat.
Check out Jonathan Davis' music video for the song “Everyone”.
It’s hard to pinpoint who exactly Black Labyrinth is targeted at in terms of audience. Obviously, Korn fans are going to buy this purely because of who it is but, other than that, who does this appeal to? Don’t get me wrong though, if you like expansive music, Black Labyrinth is an album with plenty of depth and twists and turns to keep you listening as you explore the vast emotional and musical landscape that is Jonathan Davis’ mind.
Black Labyrinth Track Listing:
01. Underneath My Skin
02. Final Days
05. Your God
06. Walk On By
07. The Secret
08. Basic Needs
10. Please Tell Me
11. What You Believe
13. What It Is
Run Time: 50:14 Release Date: May 25, 2018 Record Label: Sumerian Records
Try to work out “What It Is” by watching this video from Jonathan Davis.