A paradigm shift can be described as a change in a believe system or a general view of how a large group of people perceive things, often in a scientific, social or philosophical context. It’s also the title of the upcoming Korn album, which marks the return of guitarist Brian ‘Head’ Welch. The new record is being marketed, or hyped if you will, as a return to the band’s original sound, so let’s see whether this claim holds any water.
The Path Of Totality, the previous Korn album, was a bold attempt to unify the band’s guitar-driven sound with dubstep. The reception of this eclectic hybrid was mixed, but I really welcomed this fresh take on the familiar sound. The Paradigm Shift (Caroline) sees Jonathan Davis and Co return to their more traditional ways, although some dubstep traces still linger in tracks like ‘Paranoid And Aroused’ and ‘Never Never’. So with Head aboard again can we expect the same kind of ferocity which made Korn (1994), Life Is Peachy (1996) and Follow The Leader (1998) such enthralling albums?
The answer is a decisive ‘no’. The band has matured over the years and that’s reflected in tracks like ‘Prey For Me’, ‘Love & Meth’ and ‘Lullaby For A Sadist’. Although Davis and Co still manages to write memorable tracks with catchy hooks and strong choruses, there is a disturbing lack of genuine passion and sense of urgency. This makes The Paradigm Shift feel more like a contractual obligation than a genuine return to form. Any sense of drive or aggression gets completely smothered in the overly polished production by Don Gilmour.
Although The Paradigm Shift still has the occasional flash and dash, but overall speaking I find the album to be quite underwhelming. I wasn’t quite expecting a Life Is Peachy or Follow The Leader part II, but some genuine passion and real energy wouldn’t have hurt. As it stand now, The Paradigm Shift comes across as a release from a band suffering from a collective midlife crisis, than a genuine return to form. A shame really.