Sound — 8
The album was stated to be a guitar heavy album, unlike Korn's last release, "The Path of Totality." And indeed it is, but not to the extent of cutting out the electronic influences of albums such as "Untouchables." I also love how the album doesn't sound nearly as forced as "Korn III." The band seems to be having fun playing with each other for the first time in a long time. Maybe Head's introduction back into the band? Who knows. But the sound quality is definitely greatly improved this time around. Unfortunately, like all Korn albums, the songs on the second half are the forgettable ones. But definitely a trip to the past for any Korn fan. Unfortunately, Fieldy's bass doesn't have the same tone it used to, which was one of my favorite draws to Korn back in the day. But that being said, he didn't get mixed out of the album completely. Overall, the album comes off guitar heavy, but not so much so that it gets stale. Jonathan's voice isn't as crisp as it used to be, but it still sets the mood for the band and there is no replacement. I wouldn't wanna hear Jonathan in Disturbed, and I wouldn't wanna hear Draiman in Korn, even though I love both bands. I'm glad that if they kept at least one constant throughout every album, it's the voice. In short, great sound and production quality throughout the entire album.
Lyrics — 7
Jonathan's lyrics have never been anything less than angst ridden, tear jerking, and brutally honest. The quality of said lyrics have declined in the past few years though, as the singer has run out of childhood memories to make songs about. That being said, I greatly enjoy the lyrical content of "The Paradigm Shift." It seemed like more thought went into it than the past 3 or 4 albums. There's no "Daddy" or "Freak on a Leash" on this album, but the lyrics are much better in my opinion than "Korn III," their last guitar heavy album, which seemed too forced to go back to the old school than was really necessary. Best lyrics in years by far.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, this album was worth getting on the day of release. Let's face it, Korn isn't the same band that they were on "Issues" or on "Life Is Peachy." The band has grown up and their lyrics and music reflect that. Instead of returning to albums past, the band kept progressing from where they left off with "Untitled" (before they tried to just please fans and forgot to please themselves). I would always rather a band progress with what they want to do than make a forced sounding album with old school sounds. And Korn definitely progressed to a good place with this album. I would highly recommend this album to fans old and new. From "Prey for Me" all the way to "It's All Wrong," this is one of the best albums of 2013. Don't miss it if you're a Korn fan. Please note that this is all based on first impressions. I've listened to the album once all the way through and will make a follow up review once I've listened to it a few times through. But I've been a fan for many years and feel that this was possibly the best first impression that any of their albums have given me since "Untouchables." Highly recommended.