The Paradigm Shift
07 October 2013
by George Fernandez
Brian ‘Head’ Welch is back but David Silvera isn’t allowed back. It’s not an experiment in dubstep metal. That’s the news in terms of Korn’s 11th album, The Paradigm Shift. The sub-plot is that Jonathan Davis was struggling to get off his meds whilst writing the album so there’s the saga concerning this particular 42-year-old millionaire.
Sonically, there is no doubt that Head’s return has signalled the return of that crunching, chiming nu metal sound that Korn haven’t quite had since he left but there’s more to it than that. There are more influences floating around now – there’s a bit of new (nu?) romantic and a bit of industrial and a bit of who knows what else floating around. Maybe this is what would’ve occurred naturally, had he not left the band in the first place.
Maybe. Maybe not. It’s what we’ve got now and it’s rather hackneyed, but it sounds varied throughout and with Don Gilmore’s dull production, that’s very important. Davis is on record saying he doesn’t care about being on the radio, but with such formulaic song structures, this album seems to be made for the airwaves.
If you’ve heard the lead track, ‘Never Never’, you’d be forgiven for believing that Korn were remaining on the mid-tempo electronic of The Path Of Totality, but its 80s lilt is among the softest material that you’ll find here. There is some decent riffing at the start of the computerised ‘It’s All Wrong’ but then ‘Prey For Me’ begins similarly before descending into a wet chorus. Take ‘Love & Meth’, which is curiously reminiscent of The Defiled‘s finer moments with its synths and dark verve. It’s another soft chorus to sing along to, however. This is the trend. They’re good songs; memorable songs. They’re just not very interesting.
Davis has claimed that he’s a lifer and this is just what he does and in terms of lyrical content, Korn’s eleventh album holds pretty much the same as Korn’s first album did. Is that ok? Is that enough? This is a band that is rightfully held us an one of the pioneers of its genre. However, accepting that one of the (very reasonable) stereotypes of nu metal is how all the bands are moany bastards, listening to ‘Lullaby For A Sadist’, it’s safe to say that Davis is the king of the moaniest castle in Bakersfield.
A paradigm shift The Paradigm shift is certainly not, but is it decent? Is it enough? Yes. It’s a very satisfactory Korn album; a pretty good electronic-influenced hard rock album. It’ll do just fine.
Sounds like: The Defiled, Head-era Korn
Top tracks: Love & Meth, Never Never