Korn – The Path of Totality
- Henry Northmore
- 25 November 2011
Blistering new dubstep direction from the nu metal overlords
They’ll forever be known as ‘the godfathers of nu metal’, but on Path of Totality Korn have taken a massive side step. Sure, the guitars are still heavy as hammers, but they’ve 'gone dubstep'. And we’re not talking the odd breakbeat, this is a full on dance/metal fusion that has more in common with The Prodigy or Pendulum than their peers. But heavier … far heavier.
Lead singer Jonathan Davis has proclaimed their new sound ‘future metal’ and it’s a brutal collision of styles as harsh electronica fights downtuned guitars and Davis’ dark vocal growl. They’ve taken the dubstep side seriously, drafting in some of the biggest producers the genre has thrown up (Skrillex produces three tracks, Noisia another three with the likes of Feed Me and Downlink making up the rest). Some of it does fall into the ‘lowest common denominator dubstep’ category -- the generic bass wobble, the amped up beats - but there’s something strangely addictive about every track. It’s a gamble that has paid off, each element makes the other feel fresh. Korn take dubstep to heavier, darker territory than it’s ever been before, while the various producers make Korn sound modern and unique. An impressive feat for a band 18 years into their career and on their tenth album.
The purists (both metal and dubstep) will probably hate it, but if you are willing to have your brain assaulted from every direction by a new Frankensteinian metal/beats hybrid, you’ll find an album packed with pure adrenaline. Lead single ‘Get Up!’ is the stand out track: big, belching electronic beats mashed together with stuttered guitar riffs and Davis’ super creepy vocals painting it blacker than black.
There’s little change in tempo and it’s perhaps not as innovative as Korn might think (there's the aforementioned Prodigy, Linkin Park went synth heavy on last album A Thousand Suns and Brit mob Enter Shikari pioneered the trancecore sound) but you have to admire the risk they’ve taken. We should never forget how ground-breaking Korn were. They were one of the first bands to weld hip hop beats to thrash guitars, leading to the nu metal revolution. A fresh and exciting step in the evolution of Korn. And, fuck yeah, it’s gonna sound awesome live.