Why Korn's "The Path of Totality" Could Incite a Revolution…
Fri, 20 Jan 2012 10:27:50
Korn's tenth album, The Path of Totality, is in a league of its own.
Like Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine, it's an earth shattering collection that alchemically combines two seemingly disparate worlds—dubstep and heavy metal—into something utterly revolutionary. Nevertheless, musical revolutions don't happen overnight; they need a catalyst.
The Path of Totality is it.
Legendary Korn singer Jonathan Davis has professed his love for electronic music since day one, and the band's industrial tendencies coursed through 2002's Untouchables, 2005's See You on the Other Side, and most notably on 2007's Untitled. Simultaneously, Reggie "Fieldy" Arvizu's warbling otherworldly bass began to rattle listeners like a dubstep drop way back in 1994 on Korn's landmark self-titled debut. So, this musical concoction works on so many levels, yet Korn did something dangerous.
Traditionally, you're not supposed to fuse dance music and heavy metal. It's about as taboo as it gets for both genre's diehards. Ravers don't want angry metal in their electro, and most rock fans want what they're accustomed to—not club tracks.
EDM has certainly taken over our modern musical landscape, but bringing metal into the mix needed a certain Midas touch that only Korn has. Modern electronic music isn't based on selling albums but filling festival grounds whereas rock music always starts with a record. Bands become road dogs to support that initial record.
These days, guys like Skrillex and Deadmau5 fill headline spots once reserved for acts like Coldplay and Radiohead, and neither of them have a proper platinum album plaque. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Korn has sold 35 million records worldwide. There's a simple convergence point though. The EDM audience craves an experience—a release of energy under the bright lights and throbbing bass blared through a club or fest. Where Korn always succeeded the most is providing an even richer experience than that young electro crowd's used to.
Korn specializes in catharsis, and that specialty has become perfected on The Path of Totality. Path's opening collaboration with Skrillex, "Chaos Lives in Everything", roars with a wave with dubstep madness and James "Munky" Shaffer's powerful polyrhythmic riffing. Shaffer weaves in and out of Skrillex's production deftly piloting the song. At the center, Davis slips from an unforgettable refrain into one of his most intense freakouts nearly whispering, "Gonna take you, gonna break you, gonna rape you, gonna fuck you bitch, frown. Sometimes I worry, sometimes I'm sorry, sometimes I just want to kiss that frown". Shaffer's guitar ramps up again, and the effect is infectiously intense like "Divine" or "Faggot" from the first album but in a complete different manner.
Shaffer revs up "Kill Mercy Within" with one of his catchiest and most corrosive riffs to date as Davis launches into visually vibrant lyrics colored by NOISIA's shimmering production. "I'm not terrified anymore," he croons. He has no reason to be or to give a fuck about anyone's expectations. Excision's wonderful darkness bleeds through "My Wall" as Davis wretches demons directly from the heart. The massive singles "Get Up!" and "Narcissistic Cannibal" both featuring Skrillex are on par with "Got the Life", "Freak on a Leash", "Here to Stay", and "Falling Away From Me" but with a pronounced new darkly danceable vigor.
The most impactful moments are "Way Too Far" with 12th Planet and "Bleeding Out" with Feed Me. "Way Too Far" is space rock of the highest order on par with the likes of Pink Floyd, while "Bleeding Out" is a grinding and churning crucifixion narrative showcasing Davis's best lyrics. In the end, this is a revolution-in-the-making. I bet the next album will be their equivalent of The Downward Spiral.
See our review of Korn's record release show here!
See our review of The Path of Totality here!
Jonathan Davis talks the album here!
See celebrities and musicians share how they discovered Korn here!
See our exclusive video interview with James "Munky" Shaffer of Korn about The Path of Totality here!
Watch our video interview with James "Munky" Shaffer of Korn about "Narcissistic Cannibal" here!
Watch the lyric video for "Narcissistic Cannibal" here!
Watch Munky remember his favorite Edgar Allan Poe story here!
See Jonathan Davis and Munky remember Life Is Peachy in this exclusive interview here! Read our exclusive interview with Jonathan Davis of Korn about electronic music here!