There’s no middle ground when it comes to Korn really. It’s agreed across the board as to how pioneering they were in launching the whole nu-metal movement, and how awesome their arrival was on the metal scene; with their ‘laggy band strings and really plundering the low end of heavy. Then when it comes to discussions of their back catalogue, opinions change and you get a load of… “haven’t put out a good album since blah blah blah…”, “still doing the same thing and haven’t moved on…”, “no longer relevant in today’s metal…” Well, this particular quadrant of TINAS Towers would like to say a huge and almighty “Bollocks” to all that. These Bakersfield boys have delivered time after time, and if you are after a review panning their latest curveball “The Path Of Totality”, we suggest you go look elsewhere.
We’d already had a taster of the new experimental approach, as anyone who wasn’t in hibernation earlier in the year would know about Korn’s collaboration with Skrillex for the thunderous “Get Up”, and more recently the infectious “Narcissistic Cannibal”, again featuring Skrillex and also Kill The Noise. So it’s no surprise that this album is up to it’s neck in Dubstep and Electronica, yet it’s still Korn kicking through, and what’s more it’s bloody good.
Skrillex also features on the album opener “Chaos Lives In Everything”, a beat laden crossover behemoth that should raise the rafters at any hedonistic club night. Jonathon Davies vocals are distinctive on their own, as he staccato spits out the verses before soaring into a familiar feeling chorus barrage. Skrillex is not the only collaboration on the album as we have numerous producers dipping their toes in this experimental Korn pool. Noisia features on “Kill Mercy Within”, very much “Untouchables” in it’s feel, but still one of the real standout tracks on the album.
Checking out who features on which track soon points out which collaborations work best, with both Skrillex and Noisia battling out for pole position, both allowing Davies and Co. to shine through without overpowering the tunes with the electronic aspect. “Burn The Obedient” and “Let’s Go” are massive; huge choruses and haunting melodies that are enhanced rather than overpowered by the mix. This album marks a massive move from the excellent “III:Remember Who You Are”; an album that was Korn true to their roots, stripped back and battering the low end of heavy. This is Korn leaping forward into 2011.
Korn and the various producers have managed to create a monstrous fusion of an album. It’s still ball-breakingly heavy, yet most importantly it’s still Korn. It will divide opinion. There will be those that love it, and those that hate it, refusing to move from their “Old School” Korn beliefs. This is Korn taking a risk and freshening up their punch.
With “The Path Of Totality”, Jonathon Davies has his middle finger up, and for anyone doubting Korn… That finger is raised in your direction. Brilliant stuff.