Korn - The Path of Totality
03-Jan-2012 Label: Roadrunner/Warner
Executive Producer: Jonathon Davis
Playing time: 37.51
Reviewed by Brian Giffin
Korn hasn't really been able to take a trick over the last few years. Once at the top of the rock pile, they've watched as protegees and contemporaries like Deftones and System of a Down went on to bigger and better things as their own star faded. 2010's Remember Who You Are was a credible effort at returning to their roots but was widely ignored by all but the most dedicated of fans. Now on album number nine they've gone back completely the other way toward the electronic experiments of the mid- to late-00s. This time it's an entire album of colloborations with dubstep artists. It may not be as groundbreaking and forward-thinking as Korn wold like to believe considering they've pulled this sort of caper before (though not to the same extent), but what's surprising is how well it actually works, at least to an degree.
Korn's style of syncopated heavy rock has always been closer to hip hop than the metal tag they were lumbered with (unfairly both for them and actual metal bands) and it's probably no surprise at all that Jonathon Davis' vocals work better with the background of beats and bleeps than they do on most of his band's more straight-forward albums. The mash-ups come together pretty fluidly and "Chaos Lives in Everything" and "Kill Mercy Within" open the album with a heavy and dramatic punch. From that point on however The Path to Totality just sorts of glides along in the same gear and considering there were seven different dubstep producers at hand there isn't a lot of variation between the tracks. "Let's Go" and "Get Up!" for example, along with a dearth in creativitiy from Korn's viewpoint, also sound remarkably similar at the hands of Noisia and Skrillex, respectively. The combination of dub and rock does work, as noted earlier, but only enough to keep The Path of Totality afloat until the end, which comes in the shape of "Bleeding Out", the album's clear highlight with a mixture of textures and subtleties woven throughout. Davis even adds some bagpipes to good effect.
Really, The Path of Totality won't win Korn any new fans, will probably drive some more away and it's likely both dubstep and rock crowds have had some difficulty understanding it, going by some of the purely negative reviews this album has accrued. But while it's nothing truly spectacular, it also isn't terrible. Essentially, it's Korn doing what Korn has always done: polarise. Whatever else they do, they're brilliant at that.
1. Chaos Lives in Everything (feat. Skrillex)
2. Kill Mercy Withing (feat. Noisia)
3. My Wall (feat. Excision)
4. Narcissitic Cannibal (feat. Skrillex and Kill the Noise)
5. Illumanati (feat. Excision and Downlink)
6. Burn the Obedient (feat. Noisia)
7. Sanctuary (feat. Downlink)
8. Let's Go (feat. Noisia)
9. Get Up! (feat. Skrillex)
10. Way Too Far (feat. 12th Planet)
11. Bleeding Out (feat. Feed Me)
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