Rs 132 (iTunes MP3)
They’ve got their old line-up back, with guitarist Brian ‘Head’ Welch returning after exactly a decade after he left the band, and there’s so much Korn has going for them with their 11th studio album, The Paradigm Shift. Sadly, the hype doesn’t exactly translate. Even though the American nu-metal band rips through their new album with full power, there are only a handful of tracks that are really special.
Perhaps it’s the band just wanting to go back to their pre-2003 days and bring out the heavily downtuned guitars, but they disprove that too, with a nod toward the electro/dubstep sound (‘Spike In My Veins’) of their 2011 album, The Path of Totality. The new album is classic Korn, which is part of the problem. They return with that old brand of nu-metal for the most part of The Paradigm Shift, but don’t seem to realise there are fewer takers now. It works when you make your opening statement one of triumphant return to form (the heavy ‘Prey For Me’, followed by the equally-groovy ‘Love & Meth’), but only slightly varying your approach for 11 songs gets a bit uninspiring.
You’re really rooting for them when you hear the drilling guitars and classic-Korn guitar drones on ‘Mass Hysteria’, but you wish vocalist Jonathan Davis would sing about or even just sing in a different manner, even if it would involve electro-modulation. Save for Davis, the rest of the band seems to keep things spot on, although a bit formulaic, but they managed to shine through frenetic riffs on ‘Paranoid and Aroused’, which sounds like the old Korn meeting the new Korn, full with breakdowns and growls, and ‘Punishment Time’. But you’re left cringing when you hear ‘Never Never’, which leaves you wondering why it was released as the first lead single from the album. Korn can’t do dreamy, and they certainly can’t do dreamy-electronica. This track makes them sound like they were trying to pull a Linkin Park and a Gorillaz, at the same time.
The Paradigm Shift only has a few glimpses of a Korn you want to hear, while the rest of it is just the Korn that somehow is trying to reach the same level as, say, Linkin Park, except bringing in riffs that are heavier, but not necessarily fresh.