Rap-rockers Korn are ready for a makeover. The ’90s survivors have been around for years; they’ve produced nine records since 1994 and have also outlasted nearly all of their peers that came up with them. It’s understandable that any group would want to explore other sounds, other sources of sonic inspiration after such a long time. Enter electronic/dubstep producer Skrillex.
By this point you have almost certainly heard of Skrillex, the performing name of one Sonny Moore. The undercut wunderkind has become the DJ du jour over the past few months. Moore’s exploding popularity within the dubstep world has made him into the public face for a genre which is generally faceless. As such, he’s the target of much acclaim and criticism alike. A handful of GRAMMY nominations here, a guide to help old people understand who he is there. He has a top selling EP and may also be “the most hated man in dubstep” today. What can’t be denied, however, is his ubiquity.
If there is any one, indisputable fact about the state of music in late 2011, it’s this: It’s Skrillex’s world and we’re just living in it.
There weren’t many signs that a Korn/Skrillex collaboration was coming. First, Korn frontman Jonathan Davis dropped a sample of “Get Up!” way back in March. Then we see Moore and Davis DJing together at Coachella. But eight months later, everything has finally come full circle and Korn’s The Path of Totality is here. So how does it sound? Let’s get a little insight from the nu metallers themselves in a track by track breakdown of the record they did for Billboard.
Now Skrillex wasn’t the only producer that Korn worked with while crafting The Path of Totality. Fellow sonic architects Noisia, 12th Planet, Excision, Downlink and Feed Me are all big name producers and all had a hand in crafting individual songs on the album. What The Path of Totality amounts to is an album of chugging metal married to walloping bass and heavy, “filthy” electronics. The Path of Totality is generous in that any given listener will likely know how they are going to feel about the record before they hear it. Are you turned off by the in your face, over the top attack of dubstep? Are you not already geared towards metal or towards the musical output of groups like Korn? Then you’re probably not going to like it. That said, there’s a lot for people into dubstep’s most contemporary strain who might want something with a bit more structure. And not for nothing, many critics have noted that this record features a band that sounds reinvigorated, more vital than they have in years.
But there’s another narrative going on with The Path of Totality outside of the musical quality of it. It’s authenticity. Is Korn just keeping up with the trends of the day, keeping themselves relevant by riding the wave of electronic music’s stratospheric rise in the US? Or are they authentic fans of a genre that just happens to be having its moment in the sun? Regardless of how you feel about Korn musically, the record is definitely a good case study in band marketing. Besides as far as Korn’s concerned they’ve always been dubstep. But what do you think? Are you going to grab The Path of Totality? Is this going to make you give Korn a second look? Let us know in the comments!