To those that feared the dreads had stopped spinning, fear no more. The boys from Bakersfield, Calif. are back in stride with their eleventh album, “The Paradigm Shift,” for two main reasons: less dubstep and more Brian “Head” Welch.
After Korn’s last album, “The Path of Totality,” I feared the nu-metal band had strayed too far into the alternative realm, with one too many bass drops and not enough guitar riffs. This electronica feel is not void completely this time around, but the band has done a great job at finding a happy medium.
The seventh track “Never Never” is a great example of this, capturing the emotional struggle of vocalist Jonathan Davis it manages to use electronic quivers in its favor, rather than drown out the hard instrumental work of the band.
For the classic Korn fans, the original guitarist Welch makes his triumphant return to the stage after departing the band in 2005 for religious reasons. With it, he brings his heavy guitar chords and inspiration back to the band.
The second track “Love & Meth” sounds everything like a classic Korn song, from Davis’ growling lyrics to Welch’s shrill guitar licks. Its vulgar lyrics “Take me away / Set me on fire /T here’s no other way” create a dark head banging sensation that the band originated from.
The ninth track, “Lullaby For A Sadist” resembles the age old tune “Shoots and Ladders” (1995), featuring an eerie childish chant, a dark subject Korn has reveled in. Davis nails it with “One, I love hurting you / Two, I love your pain / Three, let’s get together and play the sinner’s game / Four is for the torture and / Five is for the shame.”
In a sense the theme of album lies much deeper than the music; it’s about a group of friends reunited through strife. “The Paradigm Shift” can be viewed as a great step for the band, but more importantly the discovery of a long lost brother.