Korn The Paradigm Shift on 2LP
Certain bonds last forever. No matter what happens, they can't be bent, bruised, or broken. There's something indescribable that fastens them together, and the links only tighten with time. The members of Korn built that kind of bond back in 1993 the first time that Jonathan Davis, James "Munky" Shaffer, Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu, and Brian "Head" Welch decided to make music as a unit.
They shed blood, sweat, and tears in the studio and on stage, fashioning an undeniable, unsettling, and unique sound that would permanently alter the course of rock music. After six seminal albums, two Grammy Award wins, and countless sold out shows, Head left the group in 2004 to face down the demons of addiction on his own. Korn soldiered on, permanently adding drummer Ray Luzier to the fold in 2007 and releasing four more epic full-length releases, most recently 2011's groundbreaking dubstep-metal hybrid The Path of Totality.
Nevertheless, they kept the door open for the return of their brother. In 2012, a triumphant and tear-filled reunion happened on stage as the group headlined the Carolina Rebellion festival with Head reprising his legendary part on "Blind." The initial bond came back into focus, but it was time to change the game again. It was time for a Paradigm Shift…
That brings us to Korn's eleventh studio album, The Paradigm Shift. With Head back in the fold, the group retreated to where it all began - Bakersfield, CA. Writing new music in a hometown rehearsal spot, everything immediately felt as if it was meant to be. Kicking off 2013, they holed up in the studio with producer Don Gilmore (Linkin Park, Three Days Grace) for the first time. Without any pretense or pandering, everybody clung to the collective goal of writing the record of their career thus far.
Part of that push came from Gilmore. The producer encouraged the musicians to focus on song craft. With that in mind, the group churned out some of its most hypnotic and heavy hooks ever. "He took everything to another level," Ray explains. "He's not just a producer. He's also a musician, and he really got down and dirty with the structures. It was instantaneous, and I feel like he brought the best out of us."
Jonathan adds, "Don's crazy. He pushed me in a nice way. He used some Jedi powers to move me in the right direction. It wasn't like pulling teeth. It was awesome. I can't say enough great things about him." "I feel like he effectively pulled us out of our comfort zone," concurs Munky. "He encouraged us to try new harmonies and chord voicings. We arrived at this new vision of chaos as a result. This is where we're supposed to be today. It's no coincidence. We're supposed to have this moment and this album."
It feels meant to be on the likes of "Punishment Time," where foreboding guitars decay into a cinematically destructive bridge. Meanwhile, Jonathan's vampiric, vitriolic, and visceral snarl drives "Lullaby for a Sadist" through a clean guitar reprieve with a dose of theatrical panache. "Love & Meth" tempers teetering seven-string violence with a towering refrain. Then, there's the first single "Never Never." A slow hulking beat stomps into screeching electronics before bleeding out on a bouncy chorus evocative of the swooping prowess of "Got the Life" and "Freak on a Leash."
In some ways, the title encapsulates the group's very ethos. "It's a shift in the way you look at things," explains Munky. "To me, it's a new of thinking. It's a shift in consciousness. It's a shift in the band towards a positive direction. We're the same people. We have the same elements. We just have a better outlook on our music."
Korn have come a long way since their iconic self-titled debut, and they haven't stopped challenging themselves or heavy music. Why is that? It all goes back to that irreplaceable and inimitable bond. "Our bond is at its tightest," concludes Head. "Munky, Fieldy, Ray, Jonathan, and I strengthen each other. It's incredible having my friends back in my life. The fans are amazing. This is all for them. We have a gift, and we're giving it to them. They're uplifted by what we do. That's the biggest thing. There's nothing better than that." Jonathan leaves off, "These are my brothers. We're doing exactly what we want to do. Yeah, this is a new chapter. This is also fucking Korn."
Korn The Paradigm Shift Track Listing:
1. Prey for Me
2. Love & Meth
3. What We Do
4. Spike in My Veins
5. Mass Hysteria
6. Paranoid and Aroused
7. Never Never
8. Punishment Time
9. Lullaby for a Sadist
11. It’s All Wrong