The Paradigm Shift review by Korn

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  • Released: Oct 8, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.7 Neat
  • Users' score: 6.8 (81 votes)
Korn: The Paradigm Shift
2

Sound — 6
Chug-chug, wob-wob, squee squash squirm. For one reason or another the strange sounds will ring long in the ears of Korn fans. Was a dubstep album, produced by Skrillex, Noisia and others, a brave step taken in good faith or was it an unmitigated disaster? We may never know, because all the chatter here and elsewhere has moved to the subject of Brian "Head" Welch's return. As UG readers will know all too well, the guitarist quit in 2005 to follow the path of Christ and raise his child away from the sex, drugs and greasy dreadlocks that came as part of life with Korn. It was a messy break-up (and his hair didn't get much cleaner) but with his daughter all grown up he felt the time was right to come back into the fold. And so we have it - "The Paradigm Shift" is the first Korn album for ten years to feature its founding guitarist. Most will be relieved to hear that the dubstep experiment was just that, an experiment – "The Paradigm Shift" is a straightforward album of bumbling drop-tuned riffs and creepy atmospherics, just as Welch remembers it. Sadly, music has moved on in the 10 years since his last album and even in 2003 Korn were pushing their shelf-life, so the sounds are far from revelatory. Production is a major plus point, with a full metal arsenal filling the holes that Skrillex left in the mix and finally addressing the band's abusive relationship with snares. Electronic traces remain though, with "Never Never" and "Spike in My Veins" striking a particularly futuristic chord. "Prey for Me" makes good use of the meat and potatoes, a catchy chorus reinforced by hostile, elastic riffs.

Lyrics — 7
Jonathan Davis' trembling paranoia is an item of hard rock furniture. Often imitated (often, often imitated) but never fully replicated, he's been the cornerstone of Korn's identity through 20 years of other changes. His personal torment seems a little cliché these days, but he himself made it so by leading that strand of '90s counterculture. Every other word is "I" or "my," but like all the finest angst there's something greater being alluded to; on "The Paradigm Shift" it's the decline in public consciousness.

Overall Impression — 7
Korn fans will enjoy listening to a successful combination of their earliest successes and the redeeming features of their modern failures. Everyone else, it must be said, will be fairly nonplussed by "The Paradigm Shift," as it is neither a great triumph nor an amusing catastrophe. As nu metal continues to slide out of cultural consciousness and almost fully into the realm of diehards, one of its first and biggest stars is doing something right by serving the people who most want to listen. You won't need your mind changed by this.

78 comments sorted by best / new / date

    axelgarcia1
    am i the only one who kinda likes Never Never? hahaha i think the album is good. not GREAT but definitely an improvement.
    DaniArrow
    An improvement from their last effort is still a pretty long, hard fall from their first few albums... I listened to it two times and I don't see any reason why I should listen to it again.
    MetalRock4ever
    Ur not alone, i think the music vid helped me like it more. Yeah, it was a solid album, but surely not worth 6.6 rating?
    District
    I loved the album! Nothing special, just a collection of delicious Korn tunes! Must admit that I skip 'Never, Never' though!
    GodzillaRAWRRR
    I think it actually fits the album well as a whole so I don't skip it.
    Metallichemical
    I agree with Godzilla. I didn't care for Never Never when I lustened to it before the album's release, but once I listned to the album upon receiving my copy, I didn't even realize there being a song that didn't fit well on the album. I personally love it. Definitely glad Head is back in the fold. I think I may have underestimated just how much Korn would improve with his return!
    stef_lp
    same
    JimBonJovi
    same
    daken_1
    same
    "Not" Bin-Laden
    same
    eatfresh1736
    I'm not a fan of Korn at all, but I thought that Love and Meth was a pretty good song. Driving, heavy, and not whiny.
    brokndwn06
    korn fan here.. i like the new album somewhat.. but after every bad ass guitar riff intro into first verse slows down and becomes stale to me..not all the songs but most of them on the album are like that.
    inlpwetrust
    I feel the same. Lots of the songs are structured similarly and get a little repetitive after a while. This actually makes Never Never a nice intermission or sorts, it being the most different sounding song and all.
    brokndwn06
    amazing how somebody producing or even in the band, didnt catch the repetitiveness, guess they dont care. new album is ok but...they can do better
    uprawrock
    If they took out the ambient keyboards the riffs could really kick some ass.
    chrizevans
    Really enjoyed this album. Full of heavy, catchy songs, which is what I want from Korn.
    ewolf5150
    This was surprise album of the year for me because I wasn't expecting much. I'm a huge korn fan and this is the best thing they've done in 10 years. Only 2 bad sings and one ok song, the rest is fantastic
    Lucid_Dreaming
    I'm actually listening to the album right now, currently finishing up Victimized and Its All Wrong has just started. I'm enjoying it.
    skull12354
    i was hoping for more and i think what really brings the cd down is jonthans vocals there not what they once were
    jacobjammin
    Yeah. I think it wasn't the vocals that were bad, but, like many other albums now, it was over produced. He doesn't have the "raw" sound on the new CD, and It would have really helped if they got Head to do some vocals.
    MichaelScarn
    dude I WOULD HAVE LOVED to hear Head sing some lead, he sounds so sick with Love and Death i think it would have been sick!!! Maybe next album!
    JOHNSTONE6
    They got some good stuff on their. it's "close" to the older sound but seeing how HEAD has been back less than a year and come back bringing this, not bad not bad. need better lyrics though Jon my god. I don't mind the little keyboard noises here and their though. They need to get angry...I think that's it!
    Lee Makky
    Let's just be thankful they went back to what they know, and didn't continue with their dubstep theme.
    stage4saiyan
    "even in 2003 Korn were pushing their shelf-life" You mean one year after arguably their best album? Seriously?
    AwesomeOne3
    I think Korn can do better. It wasn't the best Korn album, but it was ok. Not the best, but it's ok.
    mspicka
    I for one love to see bands evolve and even fail. I listen to Korn back in the days before Jesus. I digged the Love and Death album and will probably buy this one. I had to leave the drug and death music they produced and am seeing a more mature group of people. I just hope the rest of the band becomes saved because I want to rock out in heaven to them. The glory is all to Jesus.
    shadow900
    A lot of the songs choruses sound very same same but its the best work since Brian rejoined got the untouchables feel with issues i believe .
    ThatGuy7
    Good album. Momentum and chemistry is building. Next album will even better. Still this album is what long time Korn fans like myself needed and was patiently waiting for
    Dubbeljointen
    I was so dissapointed when i first listened to this. I was really looking forward to it since, Head for god sake is back, but no no, the good Korn is lost in a try to change the way of metal music again. I will keep listening to the old good ones instead and pretend this don't exist
    munkysquid
    I agree wholeheartedly with the review, but for us old Korn fans, it's a welcome breath of fresh air after a few hit and miss albums. I find it hard to pick a favourite song on The Paradigm Shift which is a good sign to me, but there's something especially creepy about 'Paranoid and Aroused' that raises the hairs on my neck - something that hasn't happened since I first heard 'Dead Bodies Everywhere' on Follow The Leader. The one bit I don't get is why 'Never Never' is on the album, unless it's a nod to the dubstep crowd who embraced the last album. It really doesn't fit in with the eleven songs either side of it, except maybe 'Spike In My Veins'. Either way, the album rocks along quite nicely IMHO and has plenty of good points for us old Korn fans. Welcome back Head, we missed you
    Ceesjah
    As someone who has never been a big fan of Korn, I was actually intrigued by the album, and it's been in my playlist ever since.
    SpiritThief
    Personally I like Korn more without all the drugs and everything. This is the first album since Issues that every single song on the record makes it onto my playlist. Korn is at the best they've been in a long time.
    mastamonkey
    Why does everyone like "Love and Meth"? The song is absolutely horrible. The beginning riff is the only good part. After that, it all falls apart and loses your interest. The lyrics and transition into the chorus is the most awkward thing I've ever heard. But the chorus is the worst part of the song because it takes away from build up. Best songs on the album are "Mass Hysteria" and "Wish I Wasn't Born Today". In fact, "Wish I Wasn't Born Today" has almost the same exact opening riff as "Love and Meth", but it's so much heavier. And the chorus is miles better than "Love and Meth" because the entire song stays heavy and doesn't lose direction. "What We Do" and "Spike In My Veins" are the only other good songs on the album. Also "Punishment Time" was completely ruined. Did you guys hear when the song when it was called "Bumble Butt"? It sounds so much heavier. Why did they make it weaker with the electronic sounds? And don't even get me started on the chorus in "Punishment Time" It comes out of ****ing nowhere and it's so random. Here's the Bumble Butt link: http://mp3clan.com/mp3/korn_bumble_butt....
    Countsluggo
    I've only heard the 2 songs but I thought never never was just awful. Must've been a leftover from their ridiculous dub step experiment cause I could just imagine where all the womps went. Love and meth I didn't really dig until I saw the video and listened again. Kinda creepy. Takes me back to high school. Haha. I'll have to listen to the rest soon, but like many people I didn't expect much, so I'll take a couple of good tunes.
    mspicka
    For Bonjovi jim. You got lucky... an easy to understand explanation.
    thebigredjj10
    Not to derail the comments section, but that video really did not offer a good explanation. It makes the claim that only because of a deity that we know of good and evil, so therefor good and evil would not exist without a deity. This claim is rather ridiculous because it assumes that right and wrong have only basis in a religious sense and that human reasoning could not have come to those same conclusions without a belief in a supreme universal overlord. Our concepts of morality and right/ wrong are not products of divine communication but rather our highly developed social consciousness. Many other species in the animal kingdom display complex societies that involve developed emotions and doing right and wrong. Examples include, but are definitely not limited to canines, elephants, and apes. Right and wrong are simply concepts of describing appropriate behavior. In human society murder is considered an inappropriate behavior that undermines our society and is dealt with through various means of punishment (legal systems, vendettas, wars, etc). There are examples where murder is considered appropriate such as war, but that is part of the complexity of human society. Dogs have an understanding of right and wrong as well. Not to the same extent as humans, but dogs do understand when they behave badly. Some argue that many dogs cannot control their impulses and that is an indication of human superiority, but that is fallacious because many humans also are slaves to their impulses as well.
    JimBonJovi
    The bible perpetuates slavery, the abomination & torture of women & children, incest, murder & other outdated stone age myths. You can't just pick & choose the good bits. Fact is, the bible is a fairy tale book for adults.
    third(-)eye
    Um, yes that stuff was in the bible, but I would be interested in seeing exactly where it encourages them. Perpetuates slavery? Am I missing something in the Moses/Joshua story?
    CharlesDickens
    Hey guys, can you tell me how to get to this guitar website called ultimate guitar, I thought I had the right address but this is clearly for religious debates. But since I'm already here, anyone heard the new Korn album? Cheers
    travislausch
    This album's not that bad, actually. I kinda thought it was alright. Reminds me of a bit of a heavier Issues.
    third(-)eye
    Why are these guys still around? It just seems like they lost all relevance after the 90's...
    JimBonJovi
    It seems you lost all relevance after this comment. Good album. Hopeful the next record sounds more raw. But I'm glad the guitars are prominent once again.
    lern2swim
    You realize it hit in the top ten, right? They're more relevant than a lot of the bands YOU probably think are relevant.
    third(-)eye
    LOL, wanna bet? Way to make an assumption about the other person as your "defense", though.
    ibanez124
    His favorite band is Tool = He is better then everyone else
    third(-)eye
    Yep, Tool is the best band ever and I'm superior to everyone who disagrees with me. /sarcasm I love how I can ask an honest question and all of a sudden I'm an elitist prick because of my username.
    The_Dayman
    So liking one band and not liking another means you think you're better than everybody else? Damn, why is everybody here so sensitive when it comes to bands they like?
    irtiqaevox
    I'm honestly also wondering how they made it through the 00's but I honestly did like this album quiet a bit. not great album by any stretch but definitely good. i'd give it a 6.7 overall for sure.
    JimBonJovi
    Well, since the religitards started, let's begin. It's too bad Jesus or "god" is allowing the children in Africa to starve to death everyday too. He'd rather make sure Korn are "heaven worthy".
    third(-)eye
    How the hell did you turn this into a religious debate? Just jumping on an opportunity to act high and mighty?
    Concreto
    I'm a long time KoRn fan and I personally loved this album. I admit Jon's angsty persona has gotten a bit played out but really I feel they brought it back with this album. To me it is the first time they've actually sounded like the old KoRn in years. It is not necessarily a groundbreaking album but I feel like they've really gotten back on their feet especially after the album III: Remember who you are, which to me was a total abomination of music. Over all even though I really liked it, I'd give it an honest rating of about 7/10.
    MichaelScarn
    love and meth is SOOO much better than Never Never, it still doesnt have the grittiness the old stuff does but bands do change- however this is definitely a Korn song and not a bad one
    The_Dayman
    Not a fan of Korn at all, but I thought some of this album was decent. I surprised myself actually. To me it's like a 5.5/10. Still can't stand Never Never, but whatever.