The Path of Totality

by: Korn

Korn remembered who they were just in time to forget it all again on The Path of Totality, an unexpected left turn into dubstep and all manner of dark electronica from the kings of nu metal. Unexpected this move may be, but not unnatural. Korn always emphasized texture over riffs, so shifting from a gray guitar grind toward claustrophobic electronic collage doesn’t induce shock, apart from the shock that the album actually works. Korn’s cast of collaborators -- notably the Grammy-nominated Skrillex, but also Noisia, Excision, Feed Me, and 12th Planet -- does not redefine the band’s character but rather reinterpret it, retaining the same tempos, the same creeping minor-key melodies and riffs, the same sense of enveloping angst that have been present since their 1994 debut. The difference of arrangement -- heavy on skittish drums and electro walls of assault -- has the curious effect of making Korn seem not adventurous but rather mature: the content of Jonathan Davis’ rants matter less than his tone, and the producers have folded his vocals, along with Munky’s buzzing guitar, into a web that feels like Korn even if it doesn’t strictly sound like any other Korn album, not even the industrial-funk of See You on the Other Side. Despite all the electronics, there’s no mistaking The Path of Totality as a Korn album...and one of their better ones to boot. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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