Korn, a band known for singlehandedly creating the ‘nu-metal’ genre in the early 90s, celebrates its 20th anniversary together in 2014. The band’s sound is a unique one, combining growling vocals, down-tuned guitars, distorted bass and pounding drums with deep, aggressive lyrics that paint pictures of broken families, abusive treatment and society’s hidden demons. While this combination may not appeal to everyone, especially those looking for happy, upbeat tunes to tap feet to, it is a sound that has ensured the band’s survival against its’ 90s contemporaries who have long since disappeared into obscurity.
Released in November 2013, Korn’s The Paradigm Shift draws lyrical inspiration from their dark, atmospheric earlier works of the 90s and modernises its signature sound for the 2010s music scene, one that has been influenced by an influx of electronic artistes like Skrillex, by adding heavy dubstep touches to create an unusual blend of rock and electronica. It is a formula that has proven to be a resounding success, judging by the healthy response from music critics who have gone as far as to call it Korn’s best album since their 90s heyday.
Highlights of the album include the rousing opener Prey for Me with its ‘take-no-prisoners’ approach in the full-on assault of drums and guitar, Never Never, the album’s lead single that has gone on to receive much acclaim for updating Korn’s sound for a new generation and Lullaby for a Sadist, a soft-pop ballad with truly sadistic themes, something the band has never done before.
However, the album is not without flaws.
In terms of lyrical content, the band seems to stick to writing about just one theme, and this would be largely due to frontman Jonathan Davis’ persistent need to vent out his frustrations about how he was ill-treated in his youth and how difficult life has been for him on the world stage on every album since the band’s career began.
On top of that, the album seems to run short on fresh ideas towards the end, with songs like Victimized and It’s All Wrong sounding repetitive in both song structure and lyrical content.
Ultimately, the album can still be considered as one of their best with solid, crowd-pleasing songs that are bound to make it a landmark in the band’s discography. It has certainly left this reviewer in eager anticipation of what this revolutionary band has in store next.
Korn is scheduled to perform in Singapore on March 5 and 6 as part of the Singapore Rock Festival. For more details, go here: http://www.lamcproductions.com/sgrockfest