Standing in the Path of Totality: Kelley Nymph on Korn’s new album

On Tuesday, my all time favorite band Korn came out with their 10th studio album, The Path of Totality. What did I think of it? Did I love it? Hate it? What do I think of Korn now? I’m going to tell you. I don’t write reviews often, so I’m not doing to call this a “review” per se, it’s just my take on Korn’s latest release.

            There are those Korn fans who always say the first album was the best and nothing can ever top it, there are those who say Follow the Leader was the peak of the band’s career (it certainly was an album which propelled them to the top of the charts in the late 90’s, as I recall), and there are the fans who whine and moan about anything the band does which is different or experimental. The latter will probably be the most upset group. I truly feel like Korn’s sound has undergone a metamorphosis into something similar to what it was, but yet completely different at the same time. Leading up to the album’s release, Jonathan has been disenchanted with the rock music scene. He was even quoted in a recent RollingStone article bluntly saying, “Rock has been so fucking lame lately.” I must admit I agree with him. I never really listen to the radio these days, and whenever I do, it seems it is always the same 10 songs which all sound essentially the same. Most of the new music I get into is by word of mouth or the internet, and most of those bands aren’t even played on radio stations in Baltimore.        

            Rather than complaining about the current state of the scene, Korn instead did something about it by adding a dubstep edge to their sound. The result, I have to say, is incredible. I saw Korn play at the 48Hour Festival inLas Vegasthis past October and they played one of their new songs—I believe it was “Get Up”. It was distinctly different from the rest of their set, but still had that distinctly Korn feel. In the interview I referenced earlier, Jonathan also expressed his excitement for the electronic scene. As many Korn fans probably know: Jonathan Davis was very into the New Romantic music of the 80’s, a genre which—in my opinion—helped to shape the electronic scene we know today. It just seems natural to me that he would have taken an interest in the electronic scene, knowing this. The influence is easily heard on the new album, especially in the track Sanctuary, which honestly reminded me a bit of Depeche Mode blended with the more recent group And One.

            This album is probably the first one since Follow the Leader that I can listen to over and over and over again all the way through without skipping songs, but I will say that my favorite tracks are Fuels the Comedy, Narcissistic Cannibal, and Chaos Lives in Everything. Fuels the Comedy especially strikes a chord with me, feeling lyrically reminiscent of previous tracks like Clown and Faget. However, Fuels the Comedy is one of the bonus tracks on the Special Edition copy, so if you don’t buy that one, you will never experience the glory of that song. 😛

            One thing I did have a problem with the first time I listened to the album was the fact that the bass was so intense that it sometimes overshadowed the rest of the song. I am a lyrics person at heart and I had to listen to some songs over and over to make out the verses. This is only a small complaint though.

            I know there are those who won’t like the new stuff, and there are some people out there who are determined to hate that Korn went in a different direction, but it’s time to get real. Who likes to hear the same shit over and over again ad nauseam? That’s already the problem with music on the radio; it’s become stagnant and uninteresting. Without innovation, without being brave enough to say, “Hey, let’s try this instead” nothing would change. I applaud Korn on being bold enough to take the risks that they have taken, and hope more artists out there will also have the guts to do the same.

            Overall, I am pleased with the album, and look forward to seeing what else Korn does in the future—especially with their live shows. Reports have indicated that Korn will be restructuring their live shows since the new album is so different from their previous sound and that they will have multiple sets. This is something I certainly look forward to seeing. Keep on rocking guys, you’ve still got it.

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