I woke up to an email today from Roadrunner Records. Some of you might not be familiar with the label, so the easy description is "If they're badass metal, they're usually signed to Roadrunner." Their roster includes the likes of Korn, Slipknot, Murderdolls, Devildriver, OPETH, Chimera, and many many more. Also Nickelback for some reason which makes me snicker.
On to the point. Included in the newsletter was a mention of Korn's new album, Path of Totality. I've been a Korn fan since 1990-something, so I was definitely interested in what Jonathan Davis and co. had up their sleeves with this new release.
Each and every track on the album features (at least one) prominent artist from the techno/dubstep world. This is definitely something I'd file under "artistic growth" as the band seems to be taking a new direction. In fact, the band seems entirely missing. After a preview of every single track on iTunes, this album seems to be a Jonathan Davis solo album with music by Excision, Skrillex, and Noisia.
Typically, I'd be all for artistic growth. I love when bands don't stagnate, when they produce new and exciting music. Listening to the progression Eminem has made between the Slim Shady LP and Relapse is truly beautiful! Three Days Grace seems to be putting a sharper edge on even their "made for MTV" tracks with each album. As I type this, I've got "Ghost Walking" by Lamb of God on repeat, and their brutality is truly amplified with each new album to the point that I'm very, very excited for their new release, "Resolution" on January 24th. Happy birthday to me, haha!
Sadly, this form of artistic growth doesn't seem to be growth at all. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that "Path of Totality" isn't a Korn album at all. Not one track actually featured members of Korn. In fact, this is a Jonathan Davis techno album. Sadly, this album makes me feel that Korn is going the Path of Metallica. They were absolutely amazing in their early years, but as they progress in their craft, they're abandoning what earned them so many fans in the first place and simply becoming.. soft. Soft is ok. I like soft. Who doesn't like a little Keith Sweat or Marvin Gaye now and then? Evanessence is one of my favorite bands. But when I listen to Korn, especially this new album, all I can do is shake my head and hit stop.
This isn't to say the new album is bad. Jonathan Davis still has one of the most incredible male voices in metal. If you like techno and dubstep, this could easily be one of their better albums. If you go into it with no expectations, no memories of the past, this is a beautiful form of expression in artistry and personal growth. If you hear Korn album and immediately think "kinda techy guitar work, brutal drum tracks, and some Jonathan Davis vocal rage.. just what I needed!" you, like me, are in for some serious disappointment.