Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Korn: The Path of Totality (2011)


I thought I'd start the new year off right, by addressing trve kvlt metal legends Korn. I've made fun of them lately. They seem to think their album title is so brilliant, deep, and God-damned clever, when they're not even the first band of 2011 to use it.

It's still no secret that I grew up as a fan of the band. Even their more recent work has been a guilty pleasure of mine--up until their last two albums. The untitled one simply left no impression on me, and I gave Remember Who You Are a better score than it deserved, a 3 out of 5, noting that with only one guitarist, they needed the electronic elements to prop up their sound. For The Path of Totality, they've taken the electronic elements to a new level.

Before listening to this, I wasn't even sure what dubstep is supposed to be. I've pretty well isolated myself from the majority of mainstream music, except (like Korn) a handful of bands I listened to as a teenager. Now I have a much better idea. This is so thoroughly electronic that it's hard to believe there's even a band there. It sounds less like Korn, and more like a Jonathan Davis solo album. It's hyper-artificial, right down to the over-processed drums.

With all that said, I actually like it. It's not unprecedented for me to like synths. The dubstep elements resemble what we in metal call heavy, in some ways, and the music is catchy. Sue me, but this is pretty good.

The Verdict: I recommend listening to The Path of Totality without the bonus tracks, because about 37 minutes is about as much of this artificial sound that I can handle. But for just that long, I found myself enjoying it. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. And after listening to this, I had to listen to something a lot more raw--that one's coming tomorrow.


  1. I loved KORN's first record. Loved it! I'll still defend it. People who refere to KORN as rap-metal had no idea what they were talking about. The following three records were kinda okay but really didn't capture my attention that much. I completely lost interest after that. I haven't evened bothered to listen to any samples of their music for years and years and years. Until now. This seems to be either a desperate bid for relevance or some kind of hero worship. If I were going to listen to dub step, it certainly wouldn't be from these guys.

    I can't believe Fieldy is still playing his bass like that. Holy shit, that is so lame!!! Also, that mic stand is probably the only lame piece ever put out by Geiger.

    "Give it up!!!" is just bouncing around in my head.

  2. It's probably a desperate bid for relevance. As I said, I kind of like it. From my research it seems they teamed up with the biggest names in dubstep, so perhaps that's the source of what quality can be found here.

    Will I look for or listen to any other dubstep? No. In the interest of full disclosure, I see this as kind of a curiosity in my collection, and it will remain that way.

  3. This isn't dubstep. It's a horrible and clownish caricature of the sound made popular in the US mainstream by Skrillex. Would you like "proper" dubstep? Probably not! I find it interesting though that you dismiss electronic sounds as "artificial", surely all recorded or amplified sound is "artificial"?

  4. In the strictest sense, I suppose it is. But surely you're not going to say that a recording of house music is equivalent to a recording of cello.

  5. Narcofili Sancti11:18 PM, April 16, 2012

    monkey is correct. The bullshit peddled by Skrillex that all the American fratboys are eating up is to dubstep what glam metal was to 80s heavy metal and what nu-metal was to alternative metal like Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tool, etc. (which doesn't make it so surprising that Korn hopped on the Brostep bandwagon).

    Dubstep started in the UK as an outgrowth of the garage/2-step dance genre. "Dub" both refers to the genre of reggae focusing on minimal grooves, deep bass, and ghostly melody fading, as well as to a style of remixing in reggae and electronic music (and less commonly in hip-hop) that creates a more minimal version of the original track. Dubstep, thus began as a darker, more minimalist version of the 2-step genre that emphasized deep quaking bass (that sometimes wobbled - but this was not a prerequisite). Of course the genre evolved into a sound distinct from 2-step/garage, but the new batch of shit barely resembles what it used to be.

    What I find so laughable is that people are trying to market Skrillex as the "heavy metal" of dubstep. Aside from the fact that his music is gimmicky and syrupy - screamo metalcore would be a more apt comparison - real dubstep producers like Vex'd had way more of "metal" sound.

    Check these tracks out. They are so much more menacing and heavy (not to mention, cinematic) than anything Skrillex could create:


    The less aggressive dubstep was also quite "heavy" in the sense of how deep the bass hits were. It also had a much better sense of groove than that fucking Skrillex and Korn garbage. Here are some classic tracks by Loefah, Digital Mystikz, and Skream: