Korn is offering its longtime nu-metal fans a curveball with "The Path of Totality," their 10th studio album out Tuesday (Dec. 6). Instead of following last year's "Korn III: Remember Who You Are" with more of the same, the rock veterans recruited electronica and experts like Skrillex, Excision and Noisia to create an innovative hybrid of metal and dubstep for their intense new full-length.
"The basis of our band has always been about experimenting and pushing the envelope," says frontman Jonathan Davis, who sat down with Billboard.com alongside bandmates Munky and Fieldy to discuss the album. "We didn't expect it to turn into a record. We were just trying something new out, see what happened." What happened was a dense record full of incisive themes, like "Illuminati," which takes on the U.S. government, and the relationship dissection "Let's Go."
Check out Korn's track-by-track breakdown of "The Path of Totality," and tell us which song is your favorite in the comments section below.
1. "Chaos Lives in Everything" (feat. Skrillex)
"It's just me noticing at the time that chaos does live in everything. There's drama everywhere."
2. "Kill Mercy Within" (feat. Noisia)
"They sent us this riff they had written on a keyboard -- you wouldn't normally write a riff like this on a guitar, because it's sort of all over the neck. And this was challenging to recreate, but that riff is something that I've never heard anything like."
3. "My Wall" (feat. Excision)
"The wall is about… I wake up every morning and I throw my wall up, and by the end of the day it's torn down, somehow, by somebody, by some thing or some drama. It's just tearing it down."
4. "Narcissistic Cannibal" (feat. Skrillex & Kill The Noise)
"Lyrically, I think a narcissistic cannibal is someone who has just such an ego and is so into themselves that you can watch themselves just eat themselves alive… and I've seen lots of people like that."
5. "Illuminati" (feat. Excision & Downlink)
"I feel like Obama's an Illuminati puppet… it's basically dragged this country down into the worst it's ever been. 'You've built this house of shame' -- the White House used to be, everybody looked up at the White House and America and everything, and now I think it's like a house of shame."
6. "Burn The Obedient" (feat. Noisia)
"We were thinking of album titles, and that always stuck out in my head. You know, 'burn the obedient': basically, if we really did that, this world would probably be a lot better!"
7. "Sanctuary" (feat. Downlink)
"That was originally called 'November,' and it was a throwaway track, but I always loved it and I kept telling Downlink, 'We're gonna do it, we're gonna do it.'… It came out amazing, I love it. It's really melodic. It's about being introverted."
8. "Let's Go" (feat. Noisia)
"Noisia sent us a 16-bar riff, and I loved it because it was a different tempo… It's about relationships. The first thing's like, 'I'm over you, I'm over you,' next verse is like, 'Okay, God, I need you, I need you.'"
9. "Get Up!" (feat. Skrillex)
"That was the very first song we wrote of the experiment, so that song means a lot to us. That was the first time we did it… It was really just a work in progress. We didn't know what the hell we were doing, we were just going with what felt right."
10. "Way Too Far" (feat. 12th Planet & Flinch)
"I didn't really have hope for that track to begin with, then it really came around. We laid the vocals down, just smooth. I love the groove, the tempo of it. And it's huge -- it's one of the hugest tracks on the album."
11. "Bleeding Out" (feat. Feed Me)
"I capped a rat out of my tree. At my house, where we smoke, there's a tree over, and the rats like to eat the berries. And I hate the rats, and I hate when they drop off and hit one of my kids or we're out there smoking and one drops in our hair. I pulled out my .22, and I have these varmint rounds… and I capped that [rat] and watched him bleed out. That inspired me to write 'Bleeding Out.'"