In this world of online trolls, releasing the first track from a new album is a nerve-wracking prospect, even for Korn - a band that are 20-plus years and 12 records into their career.
You spend months working on this s*** and you never know what people will think
They need not have worried - when the band dropped Rotting In Vain, lead single from new album, The Serenity Of Suffering, reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
“People seem to like it, thank God,” laughs guitarist James ‘Munky’ Shaffer. “You spend months working on this shit and you never know what people will think.”
The crux of the feedback is that Korn have gone back to their roots, and Munky agrees. “I feel like the song ends up somewhere around Issues and Untouchables,” he says. “That is a great era for me.”
Key to re-discovering their own identity was the band’s reunion with Brian ‘Head’ Welch. The guitarist left Korn in 2005, returning in time for 2013’s The Paradigm Shift, but Munky reckons the benefit is really felt on their new record.
We used a lot of our DigiTech pedals on our ’boards - they have that Here To Stay octave sound that is a staple of ours
“On the last record we were remembering things… ‘Oh yeah, you used to do that.’ We were reminded of our strengths. This time we were able to use them in all their glory.”
But it wasn’t just the full reintegration of Head into the mix that helped the band fire on all cylinders. Producer Nick Raskulinecz was also eager to rediscover the classic Korn sound, and that involved some pedal board experimentation.
“We used a lot of our DigiTech pedals on our ’boards - they have that Here To Stay octave sound that is a staple of ours. I love the DigiTech Synth Wah and I used a lot of Micro Synth pedal from Electro-Harmonix. You can hear the Memory Man on the verse of Rotting In Vain.”
Raskulinecz also encouraged Munky and Head to track together in the control room for the first time in their career.
Nick didn’t like editing, so we had to try and get through the whole song
“That added a whole life to the songs and helped us refine our parts,” says Munky. “Nick didn’t like editing though, so we had to try and get through the whole song, so if one us made a mistake we would start all over again. Head was like, ‘Can’t we just copy and paste it? C’mon man!’”
While Rotting In Vain is a good indication of the album’s general vibe, there are plenty of treats in store, says Munky.
“The opening track is called Insane. There are two riffs in that song that are pretty crazy. It has this heavy riff in the bridge section and then this next riff comes in and it blows your face off.”
The Serenity of Suffering is released on 21 October, and is available to preorder on iTunes.