Korn embrace the future on The Path of Totality, their tenth full-length studio album and second for Roadrunner Records. Infusing dubstep anarchy into their signature sound, the legendary quartet stand on the cusp of a musical revolution for both hard rock and electronica. Korn are no strangers to revolution though. In fact, they've been purveyors of heavy music's progression since forming in Bakersfield, CA in 1994 and becoming one of the most influential entities that the genre has ever seen.
Their legendary self-titled debut took the world by storm with its schizophrenic metallic catharsis. No one had ever played heavy music with such personal lyrics and funked-out grooves. Immediately, they earned a place in the hearts of fans across the globe. However, their third offering, 1998's Follow the Leader, bridged the gap between hip hop and heavy metal more seamlessly than any album before or after, and it solidified them as inspirational innovators.
Numerous acts "followed the leader", and heavy metal underwent a renaissance in the early 2000s with Korn at the forefront. Slipknot, Staind, Disturbed, and countless others nodded to the group as an inspiration. In addition, they've garnered two Grammy Awards— one for Best Short Form Video for "Freak on a Leash" from Follow the Leader and one for Best Metal Performance for "Here to Stay" from 2002’s Untouchables—and sold 35 million albums worldwide.
However, they're ushering in a new horizon for heavy music with The Path of Totality. Collaborating with dubstep heavyweights Skrillex, Excision, Downlink, Noisia, Feed Me, 12th Planet, and Flinch, Korn have constructed a hypnotic hybrid of dubstep and metal. Bouncing from polyrhythmic guitar pummeling into drastic electro drops, the music is dark, dangerous, and definitive Korn. "It's future metal," declares vocalist Jonathan Davis. "We're mixing metal and electro music, and you're not supposed to do that. Since day one, Korn has always been all about going against the grain, experimenting, and trying to take music different places."Shaffer affirms, "You need to be pushed out of your comfort zone to take chances. We were able to do that by collaborating with all of these brilliant writers and challenging ourselves. We're still pushing ourselves to grow."
In 2009, Davis began to envision the place where Korn would venture next. A lifelong electronic music fan and DJ, he'd cruise Beatport and fervently download the latest tracks from various underground dubstep artists. Last year, his obsession intensified. Speaking to his band mates James "Munky" Shaffer [Guitar], Reggie "Fieldy" Arvizu [Bass], and Ray Luzier [Drums], the four agreed to tread new ground and incorporate dubstep into a couple of tracks. Davis called longtime Korn fan and rising electronic music star Skrillex to join the band at his studio for a collaboration. After merely three hours, "Get Up!" was born. A staggering deluge of wobbling synths, bludgeoning riffs, and propulsive hooks, the song instantly became a 21st century arena-ready anthem in the vein of "Blind". Korn released "Get Up!" in May 2011 and it caught fire online, selling over 200k digital downloads. "You can't help but get excited when you hear that song," smiles Fieldy. "That's how we knew we were on to something."
There was no question. Korn knew they needed to do an entire album following this muse. The band would record with dubstep DJs back in Davis's home studio in Bakersfield during inspired sessions. Vocals were actually tracked in the singer's home theater or in closets and hotels everywhere from Korea to Japan. The record came together at light speed. Before they knew it, the eleven songs comprising The Path of Totality were complete. "It was a very different recording process," Fieldy adds. "In fact, it was the most easy and organized album that we've ever done. We got a bunch of different flavors from the DJs. Instead of picking up a guitar or bass and jamming out, we'd get inspired by these weird sounds and work around them. It's a new approach to an old formula." Davis continues, "Everything simply fit with this record, and we were able to achieve our goal. It's a rebirth."
Ultimately, Korn's rebirth starts at The Path of Totality. "I want people to experience something sonically that they never have when they listen to this record," Shaffer states. Davis echoes that sentiment, "I want to trail-blaze. I want to change things. I want to do things we're not supposed to do. I want to create art that's different and not conform to what's going on. We didn't make a dubstep album. We made a Korn album." — Rick Florino, October 2011