Sound — 10
To start with, lets take a moment to appreciate Brian "Head" Welch for returning to Korn, and bringing the guitar heavy Korn we used to know and love back to the people! Korn sound totally refreshed on this album and the mix is perfect. Its that classic Korn sound with a modern 2013 mix on it. Ray Luzier's drumming on this album is heavy, tribal, and really gets your heart thumping! The rhythm section on this record is very tight and the driving force of most songs is the drums and bass. The drum mix itself is acoustically sound, the low end on the kit is captured very well and compliments the high crash of the symbols and sharp snare, and the tribally mids of the toms. The drums were recorded at NRG studios where Korn recorded their third album "Follow the Leader," and the acoustics of that room really compliment Fieldy's unique bass playing, and makes the drums one of the most impressive feats of the album. Listen to "Prey for Me" and "Paranoid and Aroused." Brian "Head" Welch is not the only part of Korn that has returned for this album, Fieldy's unique slap and pop style of bass playing has returned on "The Paradigm Shift," from the fast, tribal, heavy "Prey for Me" that the album opens with, to the ballady but still heavy "Lullaby for a Sadist," to the epic, brutal "It's All Wrong" that the album finishes on. Fieldy has brought that funky low end back to Korn that all Korn purists love back to the sound. Listen to "What We Do." Brian "Head" Welch's return to Korn has revitalised that old chemistry that the band had been lacking in previous releases (that's not to say that they weren't good albums, they were just different) and it feels like he never left at all. Head's ability to come up with quirky and sci-fi induced leads are something Korn fans have missed since "Untouchables" (he was on "Take a Look in the Mirror" but it was lacking) and it is comforting and awesome to hear that again. "Mass Hysteria" is a great track to listen to appreciate Head to. James "Munky" Schaffer has shined on this album with his heavy and signature style of riffing, Munky has managed on his own for the last decade's worth of records and written some great riffs and songs along the way, but it is great to hear how Munky and Head compliment each others playing on this record, and they both bring something unique to the chemistry. Listen to "Love and Meth," "What We Do," and "Punishment Time" to hear this in action. Jonathan Davis' vocals on this album are stellar! The albums opener "Prey for Me" starts very strong with JD's unique vocal delivery, his backing vocals as well singing "prey for me" over "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 f--ked up thing for me" is cathartic to listen to, and the compression on the backing vocals help to compliment the lead vocals. JD's vocal performance is very strong and powerful on the album, his voice soars over the chorus's of songs like "Love and Meth" and "Mass Hysteria," the chorus's are all epic sounding and verses pounding and driving, great vocal performance. Listen to "Mass Hysteria" and "Lullaby for a Sadist." The incorporation of Electro/Dubstep elements on this album had a lot of fans nervous after the release of the pop-esque first single "Never Never," but actually work to compliment the album much similarly to the use of hip-hop elements on early Korn albums (specifically Korn, "Life Is Peachy," and "Follow the Leader"), the use of Dubstep sounds are scattered throughout the record, in small segments, like "What We Do" and "Prey for Me." The only songs on the album that have a reliance on electro elements are "Never Never," and "Spike in My Veins," both of which still feature guitar, drums and bass.
Lyrics — 9
Jonathan Davis was not present in the recording process due to having an extended detox to rid his Xanax reliance, he has described his experience and memory of writing and recording as "cloudy" but the lyrics and delivery of them on the record are flawless and personal. The lyrics on this album sit perfectly across the music and compliment it immensely, as the music was written without Jonathan there, he has used each second of this record to full advantage and really done his part to add that Korn chemistry. Some great lyrical moments on the album include the opening track's chorus "Prey for me, I think I owe you an apology, somehow you bring the violence out on me, I'm just a shell of what I used to be, passion is sometimes a fucked up thing for me" soars over the music and gets the adrenaline flowing, "Love and Meth" has a great growled pre-chorus that is signature Davis - "take me away, set me on fire, there's no other way," and possibly my favourite lyric on the album, is featured on a track titled "Lullaby for a Sadist" which was written and recorded in 2010 before "The Path of Totality" sessions, but reworked with Head in the mix, the lyric goes "1 I love hurting you, 2 I love your pain, 3 let's get together and play the sinners game, 4 is for the torture, 5 is for the shame, 'cause every time you want it I get off on this game." Another great and epic chorus is in "Mass Hysteria," Davis soars with "we ride a dying star, across a burning sea, we're like a supernova now, a fires burning in me, MASS HYSTERIA."
Overall Impression — 10
This record goes up there with the first 6 Korn records, and it's like Head never even left, the band sound revitalised and ready to tear down stadiums! The most impressive songs on the record are "Prey for Me," "Love and Meth," "Spike in My Veins," "Mass Hysteria," "Lullaby for a Sadist," and "It's All Wrong," this album contains no filler tracks, each song stands out, these are just the highlights. I love this album sonically, I love the instruments and vocals, I love the infused elements of Dubstep and the way they compliment the songs, and I love the overall sound and mix of the album, the only thing I didn't love at first was "Never Never," I don't hate it but a four chord dance track wasn't what I expected from a Korn single, and to this single I say "f--k that", it is far from the albums greatest moment, it would do well as a b-side or just an album track. A better single would have been "Prey for Me." If it were stolen or lost, I would certainly buy it again, and I'd buy a back up copy. I suggest if you are considering buying the album (don't be a d-ck and download it, help the industry) that you get the Deluxe Edition because the bonus tracks "Wish I Wasn't Born Today" and "Tell Me What You Want" are killer! And the bonus DVD that details the recording process, and Head's reunion is pretty awesome to watch as an avid Korn fan.