For Fans Of
Korn‘s 11th studio album is a worthy effort from the band, but fans hoping that Brian "Head" Welch‘s return to the group would result in a throwback to their earlier sound will be disappointed. While most people are surely going to miss the slap bass grooves and dirtier riffs, the less elitist of you will find plenty to love here.
Korn‘s evolution of sound in recent years is somewhat dividing amongst fans, to say the least. If you’re feeling inclined to skip this release because of previous albums you may just be depriving yourself of some of the band’s strongest work since ‘See You on the Other Side’. Not every track is a winner though. ‘Punishment Time’ has one of the corniest choruses of 2013, and others simply don’t hold your attention consistently. But, for every flaw ‘The Paradigm Shift’ has, it has just as many strong points.
Not surprisingly, frontman Jonathon Davis is as spot-on with his vocals as ever, using his distinct and diverse style to its full potential. Sadly, it doesn’t look like we’re ever going to hear his trademark guttural scatting on a Korn album again, but their current sound really doesn’t accommodate for it. Instead, heavy, grooving riffs and big, catchy choruses is the name of the game. The guitars sound great for the most part thanks to huge, booming distortion.
No doubt many long time fans will be disappointed by the influence (or lack thereof) that Head has had on the band with this album. After leaving the band for almost a decade, his triumphant return was sure to get people’s hopes up. Unfortunately, there’s very little of his signature style to be heard, if any. Gone are the days of classic Korn anthems like ‘Freak on a Leash’ or ‘Falling Away From Me’, replacing haunting, eerie melodies and turntable-emulating guitar techniques with electronic influences and bigger, more prominent riffs.
Of course, even die-hard fans can find something to like about ‘The Paradigm Shift’, providing they keep an open mind. Korn has definitely evolved but whether it’s for better or worse, they still know how to churn out some head-banging, foot-stomping tracks.
Infamous for their unwavering refusal to accept change, long-time Korn fans are probably going to turn their nose up at ‘The Paradigm Shift’, and that’s their loss. This album is a solid release with some great new tracks that will go down brilliantly in a concert setting. It’s no ‘Follow the Leader’ or ‘Issues’, but it’s good and that’s all that matters.
1. Prey for Me
2. Love & Meth
3. What We Do
4. Spike in My Veins
5. Mass Hysteria
6. Paranoid and Aroused
7. Never Never
8. Punishment Time
9. Lullaby for a Sadist
11. It’s All Wrong