October 31, 2013 Korn – The Paradigm Shift (Album Review)
It has been a true journey and it is safe to say that the music industry wouldn’t have been the same today if it wasn’t for the nu metal iconic masterminds of Korn. They have paved the way for bands who thrive to be heavy yet different and showed them that the desire to do so is a dream worth following. If Korn would have never erupted into the rock scene in 1993 then who knows if bands like Linkin Park or even Hollywood Undead would have even been given a second look? Would they have been rejected because of a style that differentiates from what society was used to? We don’t need to think of such unbearable dark ideas so it’s okay! Korn made it all possible the day their demo album Neidermayer’s Mind dropped in ’93. With limited printing and though not received extremely well, people still gathered outside of the studio to hear them play for some reason. That exact reason is because of the quality of difference and the unique sound that they were bringing to the table. So in 1994 they released a self titled album Korn and it was an uphill game of “Shoots and Ladders” from there. The band continued to release albums, 11 up to date actually, and I’m sure we’re not even close to done counting. They even found early mainstream success with some of their earlier albums such as Follow the Leader (1998) and Issues (1999), both of which debuted at an impressive #1 on the Billboard 200. With all 11 studio albums debuting top 10 on the Billboard 200 and an estimated 35 million copies sold world wide, the title of “Legends” seems quite appropriate for Korn, not to mention having 2 Grammys to top it all off.
Current members of Korn include Jonathan Davis (lead vocals) Brian “Head” Welch (guitar) James “Munky” Shaffer (guitar) Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu (bass) and Ray Luzier (drums). Together they make a sound that absolutely nobody can imitate, but in 2005 there was a little trouble in paradise. Head, due to his growing dislike of tour life, his new found Christianity, and wanting to play a stronger and more valid role as a father had decided to end his relationship with Korn. He pursued a solo project band “Love and Death” who have recently released a new extended version of their debut album “Between Here and Lost” which originally was released January 22, 2013. But return was inevitable for Head because at Carolina Rebellion May 5, 2012 he joined Korn on stage and by May 2, 2013 it was official and Head was part of the Korn brotherhood once more.
With their 11th and newest studio album to date Korn released The Paradigm Shift in the US on October 8th this year. It made many fans reminisce and reminded them of the older days of the band. A lot are even saying it’s their best album since the late ’90’s during the age of Follow the Leader. The deluxe edition of the album comes with 13 tracks opposed to the original 11 including “Wish I Wasn’t Born Today” and “Tell Me What You Want”, and you definitely wouldn’t want to purchase it any other way. Each track alone is just as kick ass as the next! And it all begins with a song titled “Prey for Me”, it’s just metal right away with Head, Munky, and Fieldy all strumming away in such sync you’ll head bang whether you’re in at the dinner table or sitting in public. The next track “Love and Meth” really hits home is the strongest song on the record. You just feel the song build up slowly in intensity to each set of roars from Jonathan Davis preceding the powerful chorus lyrics seemingly directly from heart of Davis. “Give me a reason cause I got nothing to gain so what are we doing now, feeling complacent I cannot be contained I’m so lost and lonely now”. Songs fans can legitimately connect to are a rarity now a days so it’s good to see that such personal material is still being put out. Korn as everyone knows plays around with heavy electric sounds along with their metal and “What We Do” is a perfect example of that. At the bridge of the song there’s such a thick electric sound almost as constant as a heartbeat along chords being played in the same pattern. Then the amazing part is that they are able to turn it around back into a rock song. Not many band,s if any, are capable of pulling that off. Any football fans out there? The track “Spike In My Veins” will just get you pumped the hell up like you want to knock someone flat on their back. It starts off slowly and all of a sudden a powerhouse chorus comes in;
“Never gonna run away/ Seeking out my path/ But the pain always gets in the way/ Slowly watch me die/ I’m insane, so dangerous/ Don’t you dare get in my way/ Throwing in the towel/ Got me strained, so betrayed/ Getthe f*ck out of my way!”
On August 12 Korn released their single for this album “Never Never”. It’s just such a pure song that anybody, no matter what genre of music you listen to, you’re bound to enjoy. This song is just so smoothly played and sang consistently through the entire thing. And Davis’ growl rapping makes it’s return! Similar to what he does in past songs “Twist” and the bridge of “Freak on a Leash” is at the bridge of “Never Never”, but with a dubstep drop and then electronics behind his voice. When you hear that you wish you had dreads just so you can head bang epically along to it!
A track that really reminds them of the old Korn, and sounds like it could even be off of the late ’90’s albums possibly like Issues, is titled “Lullaby For a Sadist.” It has a mellow acoustic, bass, and drum combination with a perfect melody of singing to go along. Yet Davis has some qwerky rapping that truly reminds you of older albums.
Whether a fan of Korn, nu metal, metal, alternative, or any genre for that matter this is a must pick up. It has a track for everyone and can be connected to by anybody willing to expand their views and listen thoroughly. Hell even if you listen to the radio stations that play artist like Bruno Mars, this album can make you a believer. A believer that there is better, MUCH better, music you can expose your ears to! Cryptic Rock give this album 5 out of 5 stars.
Written by Austin Sausele