Review Summary: An early indicator of what to expect in the coming years, although likely to polarise fans. A fine effort from a band attempting to re-invent itself.
Let's face it, dub metal isn't that new. Other bands in the hardcore/metal scene have tried it in the past (Skindred, Enter Shikari, Bring Me the Horizon to name a few) but this is definitely the first to receive such a degree of attention. While the first two examples use a minimal amount of influence and BMTH released their project as a remix album, Korn have fully devoted their attention to mixing the two styles together, with a large number of renowned dubstep producers collaborating on the project. And it works quite well.
I suppose of any band to change their sound in this way, Korn's is one of the most appropriate, as (ignoring Jonathan Davis' claims of Korn being "dubstep before there was dubstep") their low tuned guitars fit in perfectly with the incoming wobs and drops of the dubstep influences, and it is still recognisably a Korn album. Songs such as Chaos Lives In Everything, Narcissistic Cannibal and Sanctuary reek of the classic Korn sound, even if the guitars are a little lost in the mass of electronica.
The album has its flaws, obviously. The dubstep production often drowns out the guitars and bass, giving it a feel of a Jonathan Davis side project somewhat in some songs, and the bonus tracks are lacking in any real quality (you can tell that they weren't good enough for the standard release, although Tension sees the return of Davis' scat singing), and the slower tracks, such as Sanctuary, feel a little bit wrong, as personally I feel this style is at its best when it's fast and aggressive.
Rather predictably, it's the collaborations with Skrillex (who has a history in this sort of scene, being the former frontman of From First To Last and lending his skills to the production of other metal albums, including Bring Me the Horizon's 2010 album) that stand out: Chaos Lives In Everything, Narcissistic Cannibal (also with Kill the Noise), and Get Up! although album closer Bleeding Out (with Feed Me) is another pick from the album.
This album will not be welcomed by metal purists, and must be seen with an open mind as this is a relatively new (albeit not totally new) style of music which is far from seeing its best music.