Sound — 9
It has been 10 years since Brian "Head" Welch left the band and people have progressively become more split with Korn's later albums. "SYOTOS" was the first album without Brian and people felt his absence. While Munky did a great job taking both roles on his own, there was a hole in their sound that never really went away. They tried to regain that sound with the album "Korn III: Remember Who You Are" and while it gained more love than their previous 2 albums, to me it felt a little forced. They tried to recreated something that was gone, it felt unnatural. That angst and pain they had in their first few albums was gone and even they said they're the happiest they've ever been. While I liked "SYOTOS," "Untitled" and somewhat "Remember Who You Are," I wasn't a massive fan of The Path of Totality. I enjoyed "Get Up!" and especially "Narcissistic Cannibal" but I really don't think that warranted an entire album. I respected what they were trying to do (And what they've always done) by trying something completely different, but it just didn't work for me. But now, Brian "Head" Welch is back for Korn's 11th studio album "The Paradigm Shift." After the release of "Never Never" leaving a bad taste in my mouth, I was worried about how this album will compare. While the song kind of grew on me after multiple listening's, I couldn't imagine the entire album sounding like that now with Head in band, who has said himself that he doesn't really like the electronic sound. But thankfully, It isn't another rehash of "TPOT." The sound of this album has elements from older records. I got a big "Take a Look in the Mirror" and "Untouchables" vibe from the guitar sounds and vocals. This album has everything from bone-crushing riffs, bizarre tones, melodic choruses, electronic voicing and even ballads. It sounds so massive, which to me "SYOTOS," "Untitled" and "Korn III" were missing. To me Jonathan's voice is as good as ever, ranging from the disturbed and melodic, to powerful and booming. Let's have a look at each song: 01. "Prey for Me" - This song brings you in right from the beginning, letting you know right away Korn is back to it's original form. I really love the chorus and the lyrics that go along with it. While it's nothing too interesting, it's still a good start to the album. 02. "Love and Meth" - The 2nd song to be released early by Korn, getting the immediate attention of former disappointed fans. I love the pounding Intro riff. Jon's vocals are strong in this song too, especially the bridge part "Where do I run?!, Where do I hide?!" Overall a strong song. 03. "What We Do" - Not really a favourite of mine. Nothing really bad about it, just doesn't leave an impression on me. Although I must say the Bridge is awesome, a perfect example of the "Untouchables" style riff. Overall, doesn't do much for me. 04. "Spike in My Veins" - Originally written by Jon in his JDevil tour after "TPOT," very electronic oriented. After I heard this I thought I was going to dislike it, but surprisingly it's pretty good. To me the chorus sounds a lot like Celldweller, which to me is pretty awesome. I really like the verse, pre-chorus and chorus riffs in the song. Overall, a really different song from the album. Some might hate it, some will love it. 05. "Mass Hysteria" - By far my FAVOURITE song from the album, greatly due to the chorus. Sounds really similar to something that would be on "Untouchables." Jon's voice and lyrics in this are also great in this, some lyrics you usually wouldn't hear. Overall, something I'll be listening to for a long time. 06. "Paranoid and Aroused" - Another favourite of mine. A pretty unique opening with a great finish. The bridge sounds like something from an industrial/electronic rock band. Overall, a booming song. 07. "Never Never" - Now like I said earlier, this song grew on my a bit. I like the opening riff and vocals in the beginning of the chorus, but the whole "Never! Never! Never" really annoys me. The bridge sounds like a "TPOT" B-Side. Overall I don't HATE it, just a few elements keep me from really enjoying it. 08. "Punishment Time" - Another favourite. It opens and closes with a pounding riff. I like Jon's voice in the verse and bridge. It also shows Ray's aggressive side on the drums which reminds me a lot of David's drumming. Overall, another strong song. 09. "Lullaby for a Sadist" - A song with a few parts. Until the bridge, the song is very melodic and calming. The bridge however, a pretty dark part of the song, greatly due to Jon's voice. Overall, a good down-time in the album. 10. "Victimized" - A good song. It doesn't do too much for me compared to other songs on the album, but I still enjoy it. I like the bridge and outro. Overall, good but nothing I really go back and listen to. 11. "It's All Wrong" - Probably one of the most powerful intros on the album. Every part of the song with the exception of the bridge I enjoy. Some people might like that part, just doesn't fit for me. Overall, a great song to be played LOUD!
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics to me are usually hit and miss. Some songs sound pretty bland and repetitive (like "Never Never") but other times it can hold my interest (like in "Mass Hysteria") It seems to me he improved slightly in a few songs compared to other albums, but nothing really incredible. One thing I can say about Jon that I love, is his voice. It sounds so different to any other singer I've heard, with a wide variety of styles he can perform. Overall I think his lyrics can be a bit "egh..." from time to time, but nothing terrible.
Overall Impression — 9
People disappointed with Korn's work in the past 10 years should in theory, enjoy this album. It's a breath of fresh air from their previous 4 albums which had some mixed reactions. That former Korn sound is back and you know it as soon as the first track plays. As a whole I like the majority of the songs of the album and with the exception of maybe "Never Never," there really isn't a BAD song... While this album might not win over haters of this band, It should definitely please fans and those who disliked their last few albums. If this album were stolen or lost, I'd purchase it again immediately.