NEW YORK, NY—On a crisp November night in New York City, a slew of 20, 30 and even 40-somethings congregated at Roseland Ballroom to experience a new metal sound.
Named for the forthcoming album of the same name due Dec. 6, The Path Of Totality tour fused the authenticity of Korn’s nearly 20-year-old sound to perfection with fierce electronic vibes. For The Path Of Totality album, the band collaborated with dubstep and electronic producers, including Excision, Datsik, Noisia, Kill The Noise and 12th Planet.
When the seasoned, (now) four-piece ensemble approached the stage, the pandemonium ensued. A Korn concert is truly an out-of-body experience. (Disclaimer: I’ve seen them nearly 20 times, but who’s counting?) The crowd is one and the same—the loyal Korn cult followers that know the blood types and birthdays of each band member. Though Korn has weathered the departure of guitarist Brian “Head” Welch in 2005 and drummer David Silveria in 2006, the core competency of the band has stood the test of time. Lead singer Jonathan Davis, guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer and bassist Reggie “Fieldy” Arvizu made a solid investment in new drummer Ray Luzier, who is a visually-astounding performer and excellent drummer.
Korn prefaced its 16-song set with oldies but goodies, “No Place To Hide,” “Predictable” and “Lies,” spiraling fans into a fast frenzy. And while the mosh pits at Korn shows have gotten a little less violent and more compact, Korn fans still know how to party.
The band quickly shifted the spotlight to fresh material from the new album, including “Get Up,” “Narcissistic Cannibal” and “Way Too Far.” Crowd response to the new tunes was overwhelmingly optimistic, but the real rage ensued when the band returned to its roots. Carefully catering to popular demand, the boys brought it back with basic tracks “Here To Stay,” “Freak On A Leash” and “Falling Away From Me.”
Generally the set list selection was below par, particularly because the band’s mass catalog was rudely rebuffed for the sake of promoting the new album. At any other show this would be expected, but one thing Korn has struggled to realize is that the greater portion of its fan base simply do not care to hear new material. Fans are looking for the crazy chaos of the late ‘90s like the Sick & Twisted or Family Values tours. But Korn gets kudos for spreading its creative wings and pursuing pioneer status for a new musical genre once again. Additional kudos warranted for closing song choices “Shoots and Ladders,” “Got The Life” and “Blind,” as well the always crowd-pleasing Metallica cover, “One.”
While the next chapter of Korn chaos channels an experimental, daring foray into what could potentially be a passing phase of dance metal fusion, it could develop into this generation’s form of disco. Maybe it gets kids out into the clubs, but the sound has brief shelf life.