I am here to provide my full review for the solo album by Jonathan Davis–Black Labyrinth! I provided a small one the other day but this will be much more in depth with many different things in mind. Particularly the people in the world whom are posting their unprofessional, on the verge of disrespectful, basing their thoughts mostly on their taste & musical preferences instead of the facts in music mixed with their preferences. The looks on their faces make me chuckle as you can clearly see just how confused & off-putting they are by this album. But we will get into that when the time comes! But before I begin I want to say that everyone has a right to like or dislike art. That is the perk that automatically comes with experiencing art from our artists! I am not here to say that you must like what I like, I assure you! Because I believe there is enjoyment in disliking the art that we are faced with just as their is enjoyment in liking it! But I do believe that many people are simply uneducated on many levels and that is where their reviews are grounded within. That is what I would like to point out and in depth explain in hopes to help correct this habit done by this generation when it comes to their opinions on art.
I would like to begin with stating…..
Black Labyrinth is the debut Solo Album by Jonathan Davis, lead singer of the band whom came into the metal scene in 1993–introducing to the world and influencing the music industry to created a sub-genre within the metal genre that they coined Nu-metal. Because they had no idea what else to call it. Korn mixed elements and created a hybrid form of metal, funk, goth, & hip hop.
With that said, this should communicate to the people that the members of Korn are very open minded to creating musical sounds that are evolved. They aren’t/weren’t like the majority whom aren’t able to keep their mind open to music, by seeing the word music applies to all genres. The look of the band also communicates that each member is different from the next. This band is about variety, acceptance, truth, and freedom of expression! Art is seen everywhere & in everything!
JD isn’t a metalhead. He has been saying this for years but for whatever reason many people including even his biggest fans, I’ve noticed have lost themselves within their own perspective of this man! I’m not speaking of those of you who have been paying attention! But simply pointing out that many of you are completely wrong about this man and it explains why many people become disappointed in his delivery in both Korn or as a solo artist. You’re seeing him with glasses that are tinted with opinions based on your own perspective and you see them as laws! Stop it.
The first side project that JD ever did was his writing with Richard Gibbs for the Queen of the Damned Score & Soundtrack. But because of record label issues his vocals weren’t allowed on the Soundtrack Album. It wasn’t until 2007 that JD could even perform these songs, along with the reworked Korn songs that were released on the C/DVD known as Alone I play.
His band then that helped rework those songs were named The Simply Fucking Amazings. They toured, I believe from 2007-2008. It was then when JD had his live cam online that he appeared often and shared a few demo songs that we now have heard fully produced and finished on the album Black Labyrinth!
JD did most of the writing on Black Labyrinth. He wrote with the keyboard player, Zack AKA Horse & Upright Bass player Miles Mosely.
Many of the fans of KoRn/JD are expecting something like KoRn from JD’s solo album and I am here to tell you all that is a mistake! This isn’t KoRn. This is Jonathan Davis, whom is a fan of a eclectic wide range of music! He isn’t some metalhead just because he can growl or is the front man of a band whom only expresses a percentage of the metal sound as a band itself!
Brian “Head” Welch, is possibly the only extreme metal head in the band. As the rest of the members are all very eclectic. Fieldy, the bass player is more into hip hop but also favors more funk-styled music. While Munky is very eclectic as well, but perferring more of the alternative sound such as Soundgarden, or Faith No More to Black Sabbath but also Eric Clapton.
While JD was on his solo touring the reworked Queen of the Damned music he was so inspired he wanted to use similar sounding themes, instrumentals, from that and work it into his solo album. Let’s also not forget about KoRn’s infamous & unique Unplugged album which surprised many fans & made other people whom weren’t fans already pay more attention to JD’s true musicianship he showed with the release of MTV’s Unplugged Album for KoRn.
With the Unplugged Album came a great many things, such as the duet with Robert Smith, reworking “Make Me Bad” & The Cure’s “Inbetween Days” they put together, combining it into a beautiful hybrid of both! This is a moment that Jonathan Davis would never soon forget! Also came was the acoustic version of “Freak On A Leash” featuring Amy Lee as the guest.
These two projects coupled together I believe is the grounding force that pushed JD into creating his solo album, Black Labyrinth. He has already stated that a follow up is coming! As he wrote over 20 songs but 13 of them made it onto Black Labyrinth.
So sonic-ally speaking these are the reasons behind the choices in “strange” instrumental use. And Asian as well as indian music that is combined into making this what is typically called a “World music genre” sound on the Black Labyrinth!
Now, onto the lyrical content of Black Labyrinth. Many people need to learn how to do their research before they do a review particularly on a piece of art that they are confused by. Because your opinions are grounded in ignorance. Liking it or not is a side thing when doing a review. Showing that you know what you’re talking about and your opinions are rooted in both preference & fact is how a review needs to be presented. Or else you will find that your opinions will change later because you were confused by the art you saw. Once you figure it out and see the bigger picture of the art you were presented with.. then you will beable to give a much more clearer perspective on your view of the art you experienced.
To say that Jonathan Davis lacks passion? (As I’ve heard in some of these reviews) That is incorrect. To say that you weren’t inspired or moved by the feeling he presented or that you didn’t understand his message is much more the way to put it.
Jonathan Davis rarely lacks passion. Sure some songs show more passion than others. But that is seen in KoRn records. His solo album isn’t a business. KoRn is a business. So therefore the music you hear from JD as a solo artist is much more along the lines of what he wants to express to us and has more purpose as opposed to what he is expressing through KoRn these days.
Because he has more freedom, there aren’t deadlines. He doesn’t have to go through an entire band to get something he wants to do approved. Etc etc. He has been expressing himself using korn as a medium for over 20 years. He is allowed to get a bit bored with it from time to time. It’s just like a marriage.
You have to work to keep the connection, to spice up things in order to remember why you’re in it to begin with. As human beings we do tend to get wrapped up in ourselves all too often.
Here is a track by track explanation behind JD’s lyrical content on the Black Labyrinth as I would like for him to speak for himself!
In closing I absolutely love this album and I believe it is better than KoRn in alot of ways! I believe in JD’s wide range of taste & talent in music. I believe the problem in many people whom have reviewed it is their lack of knowledge in music in general, as well as lack of knowledge in who he is, and that the generation today has forgotten what actual music used to sound like. Listen to music from the late 80’s to the early 90’s it sounds alot like that! There is nothing bland, boring, or strange about it!
To listen to the album
Here is the acoustic version of “What it is”!