Korn - The Path Of Totality
Nu metal veterans go dubstep. Yes, really. But what's it like?
When rumours started swirling earlier in the year that Bakersfield metal gang Korn were to 'embrace dubstep', it was met with widespread derision across every corner of the internet. Though still pretty popular, their albums were a case of diminishing returns: a band slowly running out of steam. What would jumping on the ducstep bandwagon actually do for them? But it's a pleasant surprise that their full-length of electronic collaborations, 'The Path Of Totality', feels like Korn actually reinvigorated.
Of course, there's nothing subtle about any of the tracks on 'The Path Of Totality'. Collaborators like Skrillex and Noisia deal with bass-heavy squelches and pummelling drops: there's none of the subtlety or dynamic of the newer wave of British artists like SBTRKT or even Nero. But Korn's collaborators across the record give the band's sound an added element of heaviness: rather than distorted guitars and throat-shredding vocals, the torso-shaking basslines and womp-womp thump elevate vocalist Jonathan Davis' melodies to a new level, like album opener 'Chaos Lives In Everything' and the borderline terrifying 'Burn The Obedient'.
Not all of it works: Davis' lyrics sometimes feel stale, and he occasionally sounds too swamped by the production and overbearing electronic elements. But it's to be expected: this is a real experiment and a brave move forward for a band who've been in the same rut for a number of years, so we'd expect the occasional blip.
Looking back at Korn's career, it's pretty evident that they use the same techniques as many of dubstep's current stars: huge drops into heavy moshpit-friendly breaks and chillingly melodic passages, off-beat drums and an impressive sense of space within it all. So it's no surprise that 'The Path To Tonality' works so well: this is Korn updated, bringing themselves and realising they can still be relevant. This doesn't feel like a shameless punt at an emerging form of dance music, but rather a natural progression for a band who clearly have found a second wind.