REVIEW: Korn – The Path of Totality

Artist: Korn
Album: The Path of Totality
Label: Roadrunner Records
Genre: Nu-veggie-step

Out of all the trendy nu metal bands from the early 2000s, it’s pretty easy to tell that Korn had one of the more interesting and distinctive sounds. Perhaps it’s because they had a few years head start than their colleagues, but that matters not. What does matter, however, is that Korn have somehow found a way to continue to be relevant. Over the years they advanced their sound ever so slightly, and truly avoided putting the same album out twice. They’ve had their ups and they’ve had their downs, but it doesn’t seem to have shaken the band. On the latest album they’ve decided to take their talents from a dead scene (nu metal) to a burgeoning one (dubstep). I’m not sure anyone could have seen that coming.

Thinking about the primary musical forces in Korn’s career, it’s somewhat obvious that Jonathan Davis’ voice has been element number one for a lot of years now, and for good reason. Jon’s voice is one of the more interesting and unique voices of the last twenty or so years, and is a voice with loads of character. Unfortunately his vocal performances haven’t always been the best (see: the two Korn albums before The Path of Totality). On Totality, however, Jon’s voice appears to be in top form–perhaps as good as it’s ever been in his near twenty year career.

Beyond Jonathan Davis’ voice, the other important aspect of Korn’s sound has been their sense for thick, heavy grooves. This time, however, instead of being pretty much only down-tuned guitars the band has opted for a wide mix of hardware and software instruments, mixing guitars with synths, drum pads with physical drums and triggers, etc. Despite this, the music still feels very similar to older Korn albums. They’ve maintained their knack for slow, thick grooves and lackadaisical melancholy. With the help of such producers as Skrillex, Noisia and other dubstep producers they’ve found a way to perfectly transpose Korn’s former sound into a standard-issue dubstep sound, but not to the point where it is completely different from what Korn has been known for since ’94.

The Path of Totality is a fantastically produced and mixed album that brings a pretty fresh mix of familiar ingredients to the table. They’ve taken a similar (but larger) step than bands like Morbid Angel (whose Illud Divinum Insanus was lackluster at best), and seemed to have done a much better job at it. At times it’s purely dubstep, at times the old Korn sound really rears its’ head, and at others it feels more like a Pendulum-esque drum and bass track (their song they did with In Flames, “Self Vs. Self”, rings a bell). The Path Of Totality never strays too far from the path, but it also avoids sticking too close.

Korn are likely to see a lot of hate from the lingering nu metal fans, as well as the haters they’ve had forever (you know, the tr00 metalheads who hate nu metal because it “sucks”). Probably an extremely fair tradeoff for the massive amount of new fans they’re about to receive from this solid release. Say what you will about selling out or being trendy, some bands just know how to do it right. Korn prove time and time again that they’re no pushovers. If for no reason other than you’ve likely never heard anything quite like it before (and probably never will again), The Path Of Totality is definitely worth checking out.

Score: 8/10
Review written by: Jordan Munson (check him out on Twitter)

Check out the video for the fourth song, “Narcissistic Cannibal” below:

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2 Responses to “REVIEW: Korn – The Path of Totality”

  1. Liam Pesce says:

    I’m in firm agreement, good review broseph.

  2. Thanks for reading dude!