Sound — 8
Before April of this year, I was never much of a Korn fan. I liked "Falling Away From Me", but that was pretty much it. Furthermore, being a teenager, I was well aware of how dubstep sounded, as many of my peers saw fit to blast it out of the Sixth Form stereo at any given opportunity. I hated it. As such, when Korn announced they were collaborating on a song with a dubstep producer, I was unenamoured. One thing I didn't like meeting with one thing I wasn't keen on didn't have high hopes for me. When "Get Up!" was released, I listened to it out of a mixture of polite curiosity and morbid fascination. Would it be as horrible as I'd imaged? Or would it surprise me? Happily, it was the latter. "Get Up!" is a fantastic song. It's catchy, it's heavy and, most importantly, it's different. I loved it, and couldn't wait when Korn announced a whole EP of Korn-step (to coin a term). Even better, this EP soon became a full-fledged album. So, how does the album shape up? There are a total of 8 different producers on this album: Skrillex, who features on 3 tracks; Noisia, who is also on 3 tracks; Excision, who appears on 3 tracks alongside Downlink, who also does "Sanctuary"; Kill The Noise, who has one track with Skrillex and one on his own; 12th Planet, who did "Way Too Far"; "Feed Me", who appears on "Bleeding Out"; and Datsik, who appears on the bonus track "Tension" with Excision and Downlink. The tracklist is thus: 01. Chaos Lives in Everything (feat. Skrillex) 02. Kill Mercy Within (feat. Noisia) 03. My Wall (feat. Excision & Downlink) 04. Narcissistic Cannibal (feat. Skrillex and Kill The Noise) 05. Illuminati (feat. Excision & Downlink) 06. Burn The Obedient (feat. Noisia) 07. Sanctuary (feat. Downlink) 08. Let's Go (feat. Noisia) 09. Get Up! (feat. Skrillex) 10. Way Too Far (feat. 12th Planet, Flinch & Downlink) 11. Bleeding Out (feat. Feed Me) 12. Fuels The Comedy (feat. Kill The Noise) 13. Tension (feat. Excision, Datsik & Downlink) Now, I've never listened to any of these producers before this album (with the exception of one Skrillex song), so I have nothing with which to draw comparisons on how their tracks sound in relation to their usual work. No matter. With so many different producers, this album feels more like a compilation than an album in itself. That isn't a complaint, however. The variety present within the record is very welcome. The dub-heavy tracks, such as "Narcissistic Cannibal", are nicely balanced by the less dub-heavy ones, such as "Way Too Far". For me, the best producer is Skrillex. Skrillex produced two of the three single released thus far; Get Up! and "Narcissistic Cannibal", and these are two of the best songs on the album. I can't pick a "bad" song or a worst song from the album, really. Of course, I prefer some songs to other. The two previously mentioned Skrillex songs, "Illuminati", "Sanctuary" and "Way Too Far" are my favourite tracks so far, each of them sounding very different from the others. That's what I like about this album. Like I mentioned earlier, I've heard dubstep before, and that seemed to be incredibly repetitive and boring. "The Path Of Totality" is anything but boring.
Lyrics — 8
I like Jonathan Davis' voice. I think it fits Korn's music incredibly well. I mean, it's not the best voice out there, but it certainly gets the job done. I'm happy to say that he has not lost it. For example, the song "Let's Go" remind me of "Make Me Bad", which was recorded in 1999. Furthermore, his vocals seem to fit in with the dubstep. There's very little screaming on this record (take that as a positive or a negative) and I don't think there are any songs where you think "meh, vocals don't work here". Lyrically, it's fairly bog-standard Korn. There're no major changes in lyrical direction, so far as I can tell. "Get Up!" is apparently about the recent economic downturn. Of "Narcissistic Cannibal", Davis said: "It's about me watching people who are so narcissistic destroy themselves. They basically eat themselves alive because of their narcissism. That's the gist of the story." So, nothing ground-breakingly new or anything. There are some lyrics that I do really like, though. In "Illuminati", Davis sings "They're taking over now, eating up our souls somehow, Taking over now, Parasites, they run around, The culprits won't be found, They lie behind this mask of wealth, They're taking over now, Illuminati they hide." Those lyrics work well with what's going on in the background of the song. Another one I like is "Way Too Far", the chorus in particular: "Sometimes I take things Way Too Far Irrational feeling I just try too hard But what goes up, must come down The problem is I have not found because One little problem goes Way Too Far" Very nice.
Overall Impression — 9
It's difficult to sum this album up, really. I love it. Not every Korn fan is going to like this album, just as not everybody who likes dubstep will like it. Basically, you just need to give it a go, even if you think you'll hate it. You might be surprised. I was. Overall, I'm very impressed with this album. It's not perfect, it's not "album of the century" (But, then again, very few albums are), and it's not going to revolutionise music. It's just a damn good record. I'd be perfectly happy for Korn to experiment with dubstep in the future again, providing that what they did didn't stagnate. I suggest you go and try it now.