Korn’s Path of Totality Tour – REVIEW

On Korn’s Path of Totality tour they came to the Congress Theater in Chicago. With them came Kill The Noise, and J Devil. You can check out our review after the break!

Korn’s Path of Totality Tour – REVIEW

On Korn’s Path of Totality tour they came to the Congress Theater in Chicago. With them came Kill The Noise, and J Devil. You can check out our review after the break!

The Path of Totality tour started the devastation in Boston and made its way into Chicago this last Friday leaving nothing but the rubble of what was once a classic Chicago venue in its wake. The 44/+ stop tour is in support of nu-metal band Korn’s tenth studio album release of the same name. The VIP presale understandably sold out and created a line two blocks long to get in.

As everyone filed in and found their spots on the slanted concrete floor, opening act J Devil began his set. A doleful, looming sample plays over small quips of noise building ever heavier to the first drop. J Devil, being Korn singer Jonathan Davis dubstep side project, combines a veritable blend of dance and acid sounds with modern stylings of dubstep. Most of his songs included audio samples from interviews and documentaries on the subject of satanism, serial killers, and other such unplesentires. Jonathon puts on a killer live show interacting with the crowd the way a more traditional band’s frontman would. Marching side to side on stage and singing along with the lyrics in his songs puts him further ahead of a lot of other electronic artists out there who are commonly bound to home base behind their dj table. J Devil is a solid combination of musical styles that appealed to the dance kids and the metal kids with a phenomenal live show that had more energy than anyone else in the EDM (electronic dance music) game.

After a ridiculously long set change (or at least what I would perceive to be a long set change for an artist that doesn’t have any live instrumentation) the mastermind behind Kill the Noise, Ewun takes stage. A delicate piano intro begins the set and slowly starts swirling its way into a wobbly, shredded heap of electronic shards. KtN stays true to the standard dubstep formula of 140 beats per minute and song structures, but also incorporates a lot of sampled material as well. Ranging from Slayer to Metallica to Queen, all the way to the Russian folk song Korobeiniki (better known as the theme from Tetris) are sliced and smashed into Ewun’s tracks. Slamming kick drums stay on the half notes of the beat as 8-bit synth lines dance over the them. KtN’s light show was incredible with a large LCD screen acting as a backdrop for the stage. Colorful, surreal imagery flashes on beat along with large audio equalizers pumping to each kick and snare hit. Mid-set Ewun did something which seemed slightly unorthodox, at least in the eyes of someone who is more fluent with rock and roll and metal shows; he played in its entirety, without remixing, a song by fellow dubstep artist Skrillex. First of the Year poured out of the PA and the entire crowd erupted in cheers and dance. Is this the equivalent of an electronic artist covering a song? Turning down a chant for one more song, the stage goes dark and finally comes to a calm. Throughout the electronic musician community Kill the Noise has been gaining a lot of support from other artists and fans and for good reason. Kill the Noise’s latest ep Kill Kill Kill is definitely worth a spin if dubstep is your thing.

A long time ago in Bakersfield, California a band was forming that would forever change the way heavy music is played. Several multi-platinum records later Korn are still doing just that today. Creating trends rather than following them, they have always stayed ahead of the game and eighteen years of Grammy’s, gold records, and million of fans has proven that they’ve done just that. Their 1999 release Issues sold more than 570,000 copies world wide and during the week of its release was even able to keep Dr. Dre’s 2001 and Celine Dion’s greatest hits album from ever reaching number one. Guitarists James ‘Munky’ Shaffer and (former) Brian ‘Head’ Welch helped revolutionize heavy metal by bringing the seven string guitar over from its jazz and folk roots to use it for riffing and low tuned rhythmic chugging. The extended range of the seven strings brought a whole new sound to metal and is still a staple amongst heavy music to this day. Korn’s live shows have always been punishing and intense from start to finish with bassist Reginald ‘Fieldy’ Arvizu’s bass up front and loud in the mix. For the entire duration of the band’s career, singer Jonathon Davis has stood center stage, with his custom made H.R. Giger mic stand, and lead the crowd to sing along and have an experience they’d never forget.

Opening their set with Predictable off their self titled release, Korn starts a fantastic trip down the metal memory lane. Dedicating the first quarter of their time in Chicago playing older tracks from both their debut and sophomore release Life is Peachy. New permanent drummer Ray Luzier (ex David Lee Roth, Army of Anyone) is a phenomenally solid fit. Perfectly on time drumming and a kick drum that sounds like a damn bomb going off make for a air-tight backbone for Korn’s set. James Shaffer and touring guitarist Wes Geer’s tone was as thick and growling as it rightfully should have been. It’s good to hear a band still using tube amplifiers live as it makes for a much warmer and fatter tone versus the more common-to-today modeling processor amps that just don’t sound the same live. They lack the punch of a traditional valve amplifier and don’t give you the smack in the chest like a mic’d speaker cabinet does.

Midway through the set singer Jonathon Davis mentions their newest release Path of Totality which is a blend of the classic Korn sound and the raucous, buzzsaw tones of dubstep. The album has already been receiving rave reviews from critics and sold 55,000 copies in its first week debuting at number ten on the Billboard Top 200. On the album, Korn teamed up with such noted dubstep artists as Skrillex, Excision, Downlink, and 12th Planet to created a heavyily textured, audibly auric electronic sound which wraps itself around crushing rhythms and catchy vocal patterns blending everything into quite a musical monster. The most notable tracks off of Path, Get Up and Narcissistic Cannibal translated very well live and had every hand in the air and body moving. The crowd gave up an exceptional response to the newer songs. The set thereafter bounced back and forth within Korn’s old and new library making that every classic was played. The crowd shift from dancing to moshing from song to song hereon out.

With a successful night of punishing bass that made it hard to breath at times, I’m surprised that the Congress Theater wasn’t run out of town on a rail from noise complaints. Kill the Noise was a solid guest to have on the tour and I recommend looking his stuff up if dubstep is your bag. Jonathan Davis proves once again he’s multi-talented with his J Devil set. As always Korn shook the walls right down to the ground leaving nothing but dust and about 2,500 really stoked fans. If the Path of Totality tour hasn’t already leveled your city, I suggest you pick up tickets and go see if for yourself.

Information about the review…
Tour: Korn’s Path of Totality Tour
Reviewer: Shaun Andruchuk
Bands: Korn, Kill The Noise, and J Devil
Date: February 24, 2012
Venue: Congress Theater in Chicago, IL