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An Evolution: Review of Korn’s new album The Paradigm Shift

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Korn became a household in the newly emerging Nu-Metal movement early on in the 1990s. With the release of their albums ‘Korn’ 1994), ‘Life is Peachy’ (1996),‘Follow the Leader’ (1998) and ‘Issues’ (1999) they brought forward a sound that was angry, heavy, disturbed and yet highly addictive and groove-able. All albums spawning monster-mind-jarring-hazard-elevating-anthems like ‘Blind’, ‘Clown’, ‘A.D.I.D.A.S.’, ‘Got the Life’, ‘Freak on a Leash’, ‘Falling Away From Me’, ‘Make Me Bad’, and many more.

Korn,_2013

The stadium filling monster (I’ll be using this term a lot in this article) consists of Jonathan Davis (Lead vocals and Bagpipes), James “Munky” Shafer (Guitars and backing vocals), Brian “Head” Welch (Guitars and backing vocals), Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu (Bass) and Ray Luzier (Drums and percussions).

Winning critical acclaim and many awards throughout the globe they cemented themselves as force to be reckoned. Their success continued into the 2000’s with ‘Untouchables’ (20002) and ‘Take a Look in the Mirror’ (2003) being welcomed to critical praise. Korn further released ‘See You on the Other Side’ (2005), an untitled album (2007), ‘Korn III: Remember Who You Are’ (2010) and ‘The Path of Totality’ (2011). They recently released their eleventh studio album ‘The Paradigm Shift’ in October 2013. It’s the first Korn album to feature their original guitarist Brian “Head” Welch since 2003’s ‘Take a Look in the Mirror’.

A friend had recommended me this album a few weeks ago but I never got around listening to it. Basically I wanted to avoid it as their last effort (the dubsteb frenzy The Path of Totality) left me pretty disappointed (others may have different opinions) and I ended up keeping only their old stuff on my cell. Recently I was watching the WWE special ‘Tables, Ladders and Chairs’ (Yeah they’re a really good place to find cool music)…and I thought, hey that theme song sounds pretty cool. I found that it was ‘Never, Never’ from Korn’s latest album.

So here’s my review of the album,

The first song ‘Prey for Me’ is a straight up strictly-business-kick in the guts. I can listen to this song over and over and never get tired, It has an amazingly badass riff (I gotta learn that riff).The song the screams attitude, anger and badass clearly expressed in the lines:

Prey for me, I think I owe you an apology,

Somehow you bring the violence out in me,

I’m just a shell of what I used to be,

Passion is sometimes a fucked up thing for me

The next song is ‘Love & Meth’, again a monster riff (that I gotta learn). The song is just perfect to show a stalking sequence in any movie. Great Song! The next song ‘What We Do’ has an amazingly badass monster riff (that I gotta learn), though the song is not as amazing as the first two, the guitars are just brilliant. A clear hint of their previous album, an electro-fused influence (not bad) is always present.

“Spike in My Veins’ features Noisia who save this track and give it a cool edge. ‘Mass Hysteria’ is definitely an anthem as its chorus just speaks to you to join in the mass hypnosis, a really good song. The next song ‘Paranoid and Aroused’ is a nice listen, but yeah you skip this one. Skipping ‘P&A’ brings me to ‘Never, Never’, the song that made me pick this album up in the first place. The song is just amazing. The lyrics urge you to stand for what you believe, for what you love (Dragon Ball or Metal or Hate in some cases :|) and not be ashamed of it or pretend and stay strong.

MONSTER ALERT!!! The next song ‘Punishment Time’ is a bit weird. The riff is a monster riff, but the song is more like Jefferson Airplane or maybe 12 Stones meets Type O Negative. Skip it. ‘Lullaby for a Sadist’ has an intro similar to ‘A Change of Seasons’ by Dream Theater. The song shows Korn going back to its Untouchable era as there are clearly some similarities, this is a nice song to listen to and JD is back at it giving a falsetto solo-type thingy. Cool!

The last time I heard a song called ‘Victimized’ it was from Linkin Park’s ‘Living Things’ album and that song was real bad. Good news, Korn’s ‘Victimized’ is way better and has a pretty nice riff (that I gotta learn). The next song ‘It’s All Wrong’ reminds a bit of ‘Clown’ and is a pretty good ending to the standard edition of the album. It too has a monster riff (that I gotta learn).

I got myself the Japanese Special Edition which has three bonus tracks. ‘Wish I Wasn’t Born Today’ is Korn back at what made it appealing to most, the track reminds you of ‘Falling Away From Me’ and the drums are amazing not to mention the omnipresent dual attack of the guitars. The second song ‘Tell Me What you Want’ is just amazing, look at the chorus yourself:

Tell me what you want?

Tell me what you want?

Fuck you go away!

Go away and never come back!

But you’d be better off without listening to this. The last track on the Japanese Edition is ‘Die Another Day’ (like the Bond flick). Oh Korn why didn’t you write this earlier? It would’ve been a better theme than Madonna’s. No really, skip this one.

Best Tracks:

Prey For Me

Love & Meth

What We Do

Mass Hysteria

Never, Never

Wish I Wasn’t Born Today

Final Word: Head’s return clearly has had a positive impact on Korn. The drums and guitars are simply worth listening.This may not be their best album but it just opens up so many possibilities. ‘The Paradigm Shift’ is clearly a surprise and the next step in the evolution of the monster that Korn has evolved into. I’d recommend this album.

Till the next time,

Stay curious and keep that head bangin’

Himanshu Arya
Himanshu Aryahttp://edtimes.in
An Economics Honors student in Delhi University. A metalhead since the age of 11. Loves Tool, Opeth, Iron Maiden, Kiss, Primus, The Porcupine Tree, The Pixies, Pink Floyd, Lamb Of God, Mastodon, Machine Head, Pantera, Buckethead, The Black Dahlia Murder, Arctic Monkeys, Alice in Chains, Gojira, Rage Against The Machine and The Prodigy. A movie buff and a big fan of Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro, Tim Burton and David Fincher. Loves Cryptozoology, Photography, Conspiracy Theories, Economics, History, Sociology and Psychology. What else?....Loves to read books on a wide variety of topics and will surely, sooner or later offend you ;p

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