Korn
The Path of Totality


3.0
good

Review

by fish CONTRIBUTOR (43 Reviews)
December 1st, 2011 | 42 replies | 4,088 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The definition of "guilty pleasure", ultimately undermined by lazy songwriting

When Korn first announced they’d be making a dubstep album, the reaction they received was understandable. Fans cringed and tapped their heads in confusion. Non-fans looked on in amusement. Having only just released an album that attempted to return back to the aggressive and raw sound of the self-titled debut that preceded their increasingly stale noughties’ pop-metal, this was quite a U-turn. Ditching the idea of renaissance practically immediately was one thing, but what abomination would a bunch of all-but-washed-up middle aged ex-nu-metallers be able to make of a genre they seemed to know barely anything about? As far back as the first cave-bro who decided to try to mash together the worst aspects of these two genres like an 8 year old desperately trying to force the blue sides of two magnets to stick to each other, the hybrid ‘genre’ of metal and dubstep has always sucked. A band such as the likes of Korn obnoxiously and ignorantly jumping on into the bro-party as if to milk the unexpected commercial success of “Get Up!” or to condescendingly stuff ‘electro’ down their fans’ throats as if they were actually experts in the subject all along could surely only end in one more, unnecessary, catastrophe.

And yes, taken from the standpoint of anyone who wrote off this album from the start, or anyone who wants to take music seriously, it’s a calamity. The ‘blops’ and ‘wubs’ are exactly what you’d expect from the brostep producers the band decided to collaborate with, Jonathan Davis is still whining out the same melodramatic lyrics that he’s been churning out for well over a decade and once again their music is overproduced, glossy and formulaic.

But this album isn’t meant to be taken seriously. Of course The Path of Totality was going to be formulaic. Of course it wasn’t going to be particularly artistic. Of course Korn knew nothing about the roots, history and ins-and-outs of the genre they were messing around with. But it doesn’t matter, because if you ignore your prejudices and presumptions and take it for what it is, it’s fun as hell. Lacing catchy vocal melodies with the metal-tinged ‘womps’ of producers such as Skrillex and Noisia has never been properly done before outside of remixes, and it gives a surprisingly fresh dimension to the stale pop-metal of Korn’s latter years. Because that’s all The Path of Totality really is- a regular Korn pop-metal album infused with a shamelessly brash electronic flare. That’s all their music needed to make it relevant and interesting again. Songs such as “Chaos Lives In Everything”, lead single “Get Up!” and “Narcissistic Cannibal” are true dancefloor anthems and probably the best and most significant songs Korn have come out with in recent years. Filled with huge choruses, catchy melodies and aggressive electronic riffs that sure, aren’t anything especially imaginative, but that are still perfect in execution and fulfilling in their purpose; and that’s all that matters.

Where The Path of Totality does fall down is due more to its actual songwriting than the electronic element. For every aforementioned song, there’s a filler track. A track devoid of the liveliness and power that others bubble with. A track that feels as if it were rushed and thrown together in order to beef the music up to a ‘full’ LP as soon as possible rather than a leave it as a small collection of successfully enjoyable experiments. “My Wall”, “Sanctuary”, and various others all adhere to the formula but with dull riffs and uninteresting hooks make no attempt to live up to the energy and sparkle of the others. It’s easy to forget, with all of the talk being around the electronic element, that it’s barely been a year since Korn III, and The Path of Totality consequently seems to be the result of a phase or a fad, stemming from Jonathan Davis, and it suffers because of it. Whereas The Path of Totality could have been a small yet solid collection of energetic ‘dub-metal’ tunes, too much of it feels half-arsed and rushed. At its core, the songwriting is probably the weakest of any Korn album from the past years, relying too heavily on the novelty and on the guest producers to make the songs remain interesting at all. This novelty has seemingly blinded Korn, resulting in at least half the album being completely and utterly uninteresting. Since the songs collaborated with Skrillex, Feed Me and Kill The Noise are by far and away the best, this reliance is pretty obvious. Come the time when the party is over, The Path of Totality will be outdated and irrelevant.

The Path of Totality is therefore a mixed bag, containing a group of entertaining tracks that will delight many (albeit still infuriating some), but scattered with other underwhelming, hashed together and unnecessary tracks, stuffed with their own ‘bleeps’, ‘blops’ and melodies but doing nothing with them to excite or interest. Whether a phase, a mid-life crisis, a commercial cash-in or an honest drive to try something new, The Path of Totality showcases Korn attempting to rebrand a sound that has been becoming progressively more predictable and irrelevant, but failing to put the required time and effort in to make it work like it should have.



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user ratings (843)
Chart.
2
poor
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Alex561 (2.5)
    It's more machine now than man....

    Axel Thunderflex (2.5)
    An unbiased review of Korn's 10th studio album...

    Abhishek1411 (4)
    Jonathan Davis is good in trying (successfully) something 'new' every time. And "The Path ...

    Will C. (2.5)
    Korn has come to a fork in the road, and a difficult decision had to be made. I guess Korn...

  • smiders (4.5)
    With “The Path Of Totality”, Jonathon Davies has his middle finger up, and for anyone ...

    Philip Whitehead (4)
    An early indicator of what to expect in the coming years, although likely to polarise fans...

    pizzamachine (2.5)
    against all odds, Kornstep prevails - sort of....

    Deviant STAFF (0.5)
    Korn IV: Forgetting who you are...


Comments:Add a Comment 
fish.
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011



21577 Comments


Take two...

http://www.roadrunnerrecords.co.uk/korn/premiere/

All those lovely poses, gone ;_;

Digging: Septicflesh - Communion

DropdeadWHA
December 1st 2011



569 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Should of been a J.D side project instead of a full Korn album I think.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011



21577 Comments


yeah, it definitely feels like this is something davis forced onto the band

KILL
December 1st 2011



70599 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

m/

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

Acanthus
December 1st 2011



9537 Comments


Hey, this looks familiar!

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What happened to the original?

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011



21577 Comments


deleted due to lack of a proper stream (at the time)

bloc
December 1st 2011



34679 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

BACK FROM THE DEAD

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

Acanthus
December 1st 2011



9537 Comments


It's like a zombie!

pizzamachine
December 1st 2011



12571 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

*moans*

Acanthus
December 1st 2011



9537 Comments


It's a cannibal!

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011



21577 Comments


lost all the nice comments from before ):

greg84
Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2011



7317 Comments


I listened to it yesterday and it was actually quite good. Cool review.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2011



30882 Comments


I ask again, what is a blop?

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

taylormemer
December 1st 2011



4913 Comments


Even I know what a blop is Dev c'mon.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2011



30882 Comments


Yeah, it's the sound a baby makes when you hit it

I don't know what its doing being bought up here though

taylormemer
December 1st 2011



4913 Comments


It's all about the blops and the wubs. m////////

linchpin313
December 1st 2011



813 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pos...once again

bloc
December 1st 2011



34679 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Dev doesn't know anything about the step yo

Acanthus
December 1st 2011



9537 Comments


Kornstep is too unique, too original to be confined by previous genre terminology.... Korn are the original bloppers!



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