Personnel: Jonathan Davis (vocals, keyboards, programming); Brian Welch, James "Munky" Shaffer (guitar); Zac Baird (keyboards, synthesizer, programming); Sluggo, Zaylien (keyboards, programming); Ray Luzier (drums); Jasen Rauch (programming).
Audio Mixer: Don Gilmore.
Recording information: Buck Owen's Sudios, Bakersfield, CA; NRG Recording Studios, North Hollywood, CA.
Photographer: Stefano Micchia.
While their last album, the dubstep-drenched Path of Totality, felt like a real change in the way Korn did things, The Paradigm Shift finds the nu-metal pioneers once again changing things up on their 11th studio album. Returning to a more traditional sound, the album finds the band pushing the electronics back to a supporting role while putting the guitars up in the spotlight. Most notably, though, is the return of former guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, whose last appearance on a Korn record was a decade ago on Look in the Mirror. The renewed partnership between Head and Munky is one that pays off, but not in the way longtime fans might expect. Rather than making a full-on return to the sort of guttural, shuddering sound the band made famous in the '90s, The Paradigm Shift is a much more driving and direct album. Replacing the sort of creeping, churning aggression that emanated from their earlier work is a newfound vigor. This makes for a refreshing change of pace from the band, who have been on a real hot streak when it comes to experimenting with their sound. And even though The Paradigm Shift might not be the album that listeners might expect after a reunion with Head, it shows the kind of creativity and inventiveness that, love them or hate them, helped to make them an influential force in heavy music. This capacity for change is what has helped Korn to make it this far, and it's a quality that will probably see them continue to flourish as time goes on. ~ Gregory Heaney