CD Review: Korn – The Path of Totality

I’ve been listening to Korn for a long time, ever since some stoned out metal head my sophomore year gave me a cassette recording of his original Korn album. I couldn’t understand a word John Davis said for weeks, but I listened to it several times a day, until I could pick out every syllable. By the time I knew everything he wanted me to know, I was pretty much hooked. On Y2K night, I listened to Follow the Leader in my room in the dark, with flashing Christmas lights strung up everywhere to give the place kind of a club cave feel. I listened to the live broadcast of the Issues release concert on my Walkman while I scrubbed nasty greasy dishes at Checkers, and remember feeling very disappointed by all but one or two songs.

The point I am trying to make is that I have been following Korn since the beginning. I follow the offshoots, too. The SFA’s, Fear and the Nervous System, Head… I will admit that newer Korn stuff doesn’t appeal to me as much as Head (no innuendo intended).

The evolution of Korn has been one of innovation and refinement over the years, with production values and writing getting better and better, until its peak at Issues. Since then, my opinion of Korn has started to lessen, their stock has fallen quite a bit. Maybe it is because I am tired of John Davis’ pain and suffering, maybe it is because it feels like he’s not really trying much any more, I don’t know. Maybe they just don’t feel right without the Head/Munky duo, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because they’re fat and rich now and don’t actually have to try. Point here is basically, aside from a few songs here and again, the real Korn stopped putting out songs after Issues, and the crappy Korn took their place.

Another thing that bothered me about Korn is the John Davis says one thing, then does another, for instance, saying he would never mix rap and pop and such in his music again, then he goes off and does something like Totality… it’s just irritating.

Keeping all that in mind, I came in to Path of Totality several weeks ago fully expecting to hate it, having heard Get Up a dozen times on the radio. I completely expected to hear just a bunch of club music with some growls added on for the next numetal…. clubmetal. Dubmetal? The first time I listened to the album, I couldn’t even finish it. I guess I just wasn’t ready to make the effort.

Then, I decided to just listen to it while I was driving across Texas. Then I listened to it again. And again. I listened to it probably twenty times in a row, and I came to this conclusion: I like it.

Look at how bored Fieldy is... I see him hit the B string like twice in this song.

There are a few things that need to be said about this music. It is most definitely Korn, but not the old Korn or Take a Look in the Mirror era music. It feels a lot like Untouchables era music, which I admittedly didn’t care much for, but it is most definitely a better brand of music than Korn III music, which aside from a pair of songs, was a wasted copycatting of their old style, which actually failed in every facet.

Some songs in PoT are very catchy and worth listening to on their own, such as Get Up, Chaos Lives in Everything, Narcissistic Cannibal, Fuels the Comedy, and Tension. The album as a whole though, is hardly mosh worthy, and when played end to end is great for background music, but little else.

As far as John Davis’ vocals and lyrics, there doesn’t seem to be any real evolution from his earlier work. He’s still the same old guy, so don’t expect any innovation, though there is a slick bagpipe solo/breakdown in Bleeding Out that is worth catching, and really could afford to be fleshed out into its own song. The guitars are ok, but underwhelming in the face of the dub sampling, and the drums and bass are pretty much overlooked throughout the whole album. Fieldy must have just kicked back and drank smoothies the whole time they were recording.

The Path of Totality

1. “Chaos Lives In Everything” (feat. Skrillex)
2. “Kill Mercy Within” (feat. Noisia)
3. “My Wall” (feat. Excision)
4. “Narcissistic Cannibal” (feat. Skrillex & Kill The Noise)
5. “Illuminati” (feat. Excision & Downlink)
6. “Burn The Obedient” (feat. Noisia)
7. “Sanctuary” (feat. Downlink)
8. “Let’s Go” (feat. Noisia)
9. “Get Up!” (feat. Skrillex)
10. “Way Too Far” (feat. 12th Planet)
11. “Bleeding Out” (feat. Feed Me)
12. “Fuels The Comedy” (feat. Kill The Noise)
13. “Tension” (feat. Excision, Datsik & Downlink)

Overall Opinion:


4 Skullies

I do enjoy this album. I give it an easy four out of five skullies, though I really don’t know where Korn can go from here. It would be awful if this was where they stayed musically. It is a solid release, better than their last couple, and great to listen to during a long car trip.



~ by whatscene on December 9, 2011.

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