Korn: The Path of Totality

Davis discovers dubstep. Civilisation shrugs.

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Where do former nu metal icons go once the genre they pioneered has been largely degraded into extinction? For Korn, that journey has involved bagpipes, kilts and other comical digressions.

Last year’s Korn III took them back to indie-label garage-rock basics. But this ear-bashing sequel strikes off in a bold new direction, recruiting producers from the heavy end of dubstep and electronica to clothe these Californian veterans in futuristic new robo-rythmic armour.

Happily defying expectations of clueless bandwagon-jumping, this dose of electro-punk Viagra proves surprisingly effective, lending a shiny new tumescence to Korn’s sagging nu metal weaponry. Admittedly the techno makeover feels contrived and cosmetic on several lesser numbers. But the best tracks are those featuring Skrillex, the divisive young rising star of industrial dubstep who manages to deconstruct Korn’s monster riffs and layered vocals into bass-shuddering Godzillas without sacrificing their integrity.

Chaos Lives In Everything and Narcissistic Cannibal already sound like future stadium-flattening anthems. With typical modesty, Jonathan Davis has hailed this album as a seismic evolutionary change in rock, forgetting that fellow hybrid acts like the Prodigy and Pendulum have been mixing heavy guitars and dubstep-style clusterbeats for years now.

Even so, Korn deserve credit for taking such a bold and broadly successful detour so deep into their career.

Stephen Dalton

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.