Gone are the experimental dubstep-drenched days of “Path of Totality” to make way for Korn’s 11th studio album “The Paradigm Shift”. The major change that sets the tone of the album is the return of founding guitarist Brian “Head” Welch after he quit the band in 2005. Korn is finding their roots again with their first Head-centric album since 2003. Dark lyrics lead the way with an all too familiar eerie atmosphere reminiscent of their glory years.
Opening tracks “Prey For Me” and “Love & Meth” features the convincing dual guitar riffs, highlighting Welsh’s return. Aggressively taking charge, “Mass Hysteria” and “Punishment Time” attacks the prominent punch drum beats with drop-tuned riffs. “What We Do” is a speedmetal cruncher that surprises with a clever bridge and catchy chorus.
“Spike In My Veins” is one of the best layered songs on the album featuring multiple instruments rounded off with a devilish hook. The album’s first single “Never Never” should have never made the track list as they attempt the commercial dive to an awful pitfall, even the ballady “Lullaby For A Sadist” packs more punch. Dejected lyrics rule the “The Paradigm Shift” with a sense of dread of what tomorrow may bring. Sample lyrics from “Punishment Time” is a good example: “Heavy on the heart / There’s no tomorrow /Heavy on the heart /There’s no today / Fight or flight / I’m losing my mind”. Speaking to Rollingstone.com, Davis had his own substance-abuse issues to get past, which heavily affected the writing of “The Paradigm Shift”. “The whole writing process I was on autopilot,” he says. Davies adds: “It was stream-of-consciousness – so many songs I don’t know what the f$#k I’m talking about. I didn’t really have to try to write, it just came out.”
Highlight tracks: “Prey For Me,” “Love & Meth,” “Mass Hysteria,” “Punishment Time” and “Spike In My Veins”
Frontman Jonathan Davis’ screeching vocals and signature growls has been the identity of the group for the last two decades. Brian “Head” Welch’s departure 8 years ago highlighted how important it is to stick to winning formulas, even if the iconic lead singer of the group carries the torch for one of the biggest bands in the business. Welch’s influence is prominent in their new album and one can’t deny the fact that his presence has made a huge difference.
Welch can’t take all the credit thought, “The Paradigm Shift” is cleverly arranged with each track complementing the next one. The production value is top notch, reaching back to Korn’s best years. Unfortunately Korn is still wearing the all too familiar “Nu Metal” hat responsible for their huge success. Lyrical diversity is seriously lacking in their new album, the overwhelming doom and gloom will have you reaching for the straight razor in no time.
The album is not ground breaking but fans will appreciate the particular brand of “Nu Metal” and vintage Korn sounds laced with electronic traces. Feel free to hop onboard the emotional roller coaster that is “The Paradigm Shift”.
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|1||“Prey for Me”||03:35|
|2||“Love & Meth”||04:03|
|3||“What We Do”||04:07|
|4||“Spike in My Veins”||04:24|
|6||“Paranoid and Aroused”||03:35|
|9||“Lullaby for a Sadist”||04:18|
|11||“It’s All Wrong”||03:31|