Music Review: Korn- The Paradigm Shift



Finally! The album I have been waiting for is here. I absolutely loved Path of Totality, and I couldn’t wait to hear what the return of founding member Head would mean for the band. Let’s not waste time with flowery words; instead, let’s get down to brass tacks:

Prey For Me (5/5): A raucous start to the album heralding the return of a revitalized Korn. This song has it all: classic crunchy riffs, slap bass, phenomenal drumming, and powerful vocals. As if the high energy of this song wasn’t enough, Korn absolutely pummel your eardrums towards the end. Everything slows down, the bass raises the tension, and then Jonathan lets loose as he spews  vitriol in all directions. It’s the aural equivalent of a beat down.

Love & Meth (5/5): I’m certain people have heard this song by now. Prey for Me was just the meant to soften you up for the kill. This is the old school Korn fans have been clamoring for as it punches you in the gut. It’s a straightforward song, but it delivers on power. Jonathan’s vocals are soaring in the chorus, and I absolutely love the throaty screams mid way. I haven’t heard him go all out like this in a long time. This is one for the moshpits.

What We Do (5/5): This track is one of my personal favorites on the album because it has that Untouchables vibe to it (think of the song Blame). The song just refuses to slow down as it races towards its conclusion. I guarantee that the chorus will be stuck in your head, and so will the opening guitar. My favorite aspect of the song is the dark haunting background created around the chorus.

Spike In My Veins (4/5): Here is the first dubstep influenced track. It is slightly slower than the first 3 songs, but this is still very much a heavy rock song. The light electronics are merely in the background to add texture and atmosphere to the song. I suspect that the guitar build up before the chorus explodes is going to be a great live moment. At the same time , I don’t think many concert goers are ready for the heavy as fuck drops in the chorus. This is a song that’s meant to be enjoyed loud.

Mass Hysteria (5/5): I love the creepy guitar interplay between Head and Munky on this track. They pull out all the stops with their effects pedals. It also has one of my favorite choruses on the album, and it would feel right at home on Issues. This is a purely a headbanging tune that will have you shouting out “Mass Hysteria!!”

Paranoid & Aroused (5/5): This is my favorite on the album. It is dark and sexy with stellar guitar work. I really think this song belongs on a dancefloor and needs to be remixed. It is infectious with the best verses and chorus on the album. The twisted guitars remind me of Dead Bodies Everywhere. Again, this song has an electronic accompaniment, but it doesn’t overshadow the instruments. This has my vote to be the next single because it deserves to be heard. I can already imagine the video in my head.  One of Korn’s best songs to date.

Never Never (3/5): I won’t say much about this one since everyone has most likely heard it by now. It has by far the most electronics and is much softer than other tracks on the album . I personally don’t hate it because it’s catchy and very different from the tracks before it. People love to hate it, but I admire their willingness to experiment. Overall, it is a decent track that breaks up the monotony and keeps things interesting.

Punishment Time (3/5): This track was a disappointment. I hate hate hate the chorus. The verses and guitars sound dangerous, but the chorus lets the build up to fall flat on its face. It sounds like they glued on the chorus to another song here. The ending is harsh and heavy, but it only makes me think that this song doesn’t know where it is going. It’s an alright song with some great moments, but none that really stay with you.

Lullaby For A Sadist (3/5): I don’t know what to make of this song. I don’t know why it’s track number 9 when it would have served as a great closer for the album. It’s certainly very slow for a Korn song, but it has different levels to it. It’s probably their most “artistic” track as it shifts gears back and forth. The best part is towards the middle when Jonathan suddenly loses his mind (you’ll hear what I mean). It’s a good song with shades of songs like Shoot and Ladders and Daddy. 

Victimized (3/5): Again, this is classic Korn with shades of electronics. It has the tortured lyrics, screams and crunchy low tuned guitars. It has a nice groove to it, but nothing too special to say about it.

It’s All Wrong (5/5): Holy shit! I didn’t think Korn could go this heavy. This track is like being in the middle of a bombardment. It starts off quietly before launching into pure unbridled aggression. The band is truly on form here. In particular, the bass and drums on this song will cave your face in. It’s old school Korn all the way through. It’s a fantastic way to end the album because it leaves you wanting more.

Overall, this is the Korn album fans have been waiting for a long ass time. It builds on the success of Path of Totality and pushes the band’s sound even further. Of course, having Head back in the fold helps things a lot. Listeners will be able to tell right away that he is integral to the band’s sound.  It’s great to hear Head and Munky battling with their guitars again. Fieldy’s bass, which was lost on some of the previous albums, is also back to move things along. Jonathan’s vocals are, as always, a highlight, even if the lyrics at times can be sub par. I personally think the star of the album is Ray Luzier. His drumming on this album is just crazy good. Seriously, focus on the drums as you listen to this album. Is it their best album? Not quite. Then again, everyone has their favorite album from Korn, but it i certainly up there with Follow the Leader and Issues. I’m just happy to see my favorite band back together, enjoying themselves, and making great music again.

Final: 8/10