Feature: First Experience With Korn's "The Paradigm Shift"
Thu, 08 Aug 2013 08:36:28
The sun is just starting to go down in Columbus, Ohio.
Just outside of a small hallway, there's a stadium filled with over 40,000 people anxiously awaiting a very special event. Cheap Trick has just finished their set, and Rick Nielsen walks past that same hallway in the opposite direction towards another dressing room. You can hear it rumbling out in the crowd. A four-letter word reverberates when screamed—Korn. That's what everybody at Rock on the Range was waiting for all day, the return of Korn with original guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. It's their second show back and the perfect way to return.
Jonathan Davis is unfazed though. He grabs me, "Follow me real quick. I want you to hear it".
The "it" in this case is The Paradigm Shift [Out October 8 via Prospect Park], Korn's highly anticipated eleventh full-length album. Again, it's the first with Mr. Welch back on the seven-string. As a lifelong fan, my own anticipation is as uncontainable as the audience out on the field. There's a bright smile on Davis's face as we walk out of the band's dressing room and through the parking lot. Johnny 3 Tears from Hollywood Undead waves as we walk up the stairs into the bus.
"I'm going to turn this shit up really fucking loud," laughs Davis.
I sit on the couch, and he cranks up his personal studio on a table in the bus and turns the speakers towards where I'm sitting.
A distinct, divine, and deadly riff emanates from those speakers, and hits the both of us immediately.
"This is 'Victimized'," he announces.
As the song begins to build, it's clear that Korn have struck the perfect balance between the pummeling and powerful groove metal they pioneered, flourishes of strangely danceable electronics, and undeniably cathartic lyrics. The song swings from soaring to searing, and Davis headbangs wildly excitedly singing back the chorus to me. Those words stands emblazoned in my head for the next four days.
As it ends, he smiles again, "Check this one!"
The first single "Never Never", which impacts August 12, fills the bus with its haunting hum. Grinding between industrial darkness and melodic bliss, it's the band's catchiest single since "Freak on a Leash". The refrain remains immensely dark, but it's impossible to shake. Once more, Korn have built a banger that transcends genres. Think The Cure meets Blade Runner and you're maybe halfway there…
The last track he previews is "Love & Meth". The call-and-response guitar from "Head" and James "Munky" Shaffer is one of their most destructively definitive, evincing a chemistry that only legends can muster. Ray Luzier's drums shake the bus as Fieldy's bass reverberates with immortal groove. Davis's singing sounds ultimately transcendent.
"I'm going to get ready for this now," Davis says.
With that, I get up, wish him good luck, and head back into the crowd. The sun is down, but Korn has risen again.
Are you excited for The Paradigm Shift?
See our retrospective interview on Follow the Leader here!
See Korn's first interview about the album here!