Review Summary: against all odds, Kornstep prevails - sort of.
Although Korn’s lead singer thinks otherwise (let’s leave him to his delusions), dubstep was a thing before Korn existed. Believe it or not, experimentations with the dubstep genre have been attempted from non-dubstep bands before, and it is a trend that continues to grow – it isn’t a new, mind-blowingly original idea. Recently, popular artists everywhere have been experimenting with the style, from Lights to Bjork. Korn aren’t reinventing the wheel, they’re jumping on the bandwagon. With this knowledge, we can objectively listen to The Path of Totality
, lest we become disappointed. The hype for this album was so overblown that people were expecting either a vomit-inducing album, or something that would completely warp the face of dubstep, initiating a new age of Kornstep (although I exaggerate). Fortunately, neither occurred (although I would still call this Kornstep just for fun). Instead, they have surprised us by making a decent album. I suppose that is sort of groundbreaking, at least for this bland band.
In the past, Korn’s creepiness originated from their trademark scary guitar sounds, and Jonathan Davis’ always insane vocal presence. This time, utilizing dubstep to create colder atmospheres, their music is a bit more sinister. The new edge that they’ve gained is much more effective than their usual look-at-us-we’re-depressed BS. Then again, they’re still doing their usual nu-metal ear rape, but this time with brostep bass wobbles that are more annoying and ill-fitting than anything. Ultimately, despite the blatantly audible dubstep influence in the album, The Path of Totality
is more or less your typical Korn album. You’ll hear the clunking bass notes, the forgettable guitar lines, the vocalist’s spastic attacks (that are never on tune), you name it. Not surprisingly, The Path of Totality
is less groundbreaking than the band envisioned.
To be honest, Korn haven’t sounded this inspired in a long time. Say what you will about the album, but this is their first musical experimentation to even remotely work. It’s a ridiculous mess that feels like an overly fat slug that could explode at any second, but to be fair, that’s a fairly entertaining idea. In fact, the album is somewhat enjoyable if you can leave your brain on hold while listening to it. If there ever was a case of it’s-so-bad-that-it’s-sort-of-good in music, this is it. This is your brain on Kornstep.