In 2004, the group dynamic in KoRn drastically changed. Lead guitarist and founding member Brian “Head” Welch found God and left the band to get his life together. He’d been battling a severe meth addiction and, if he didn’t leave the band, he would overdose, lose his daughter or both.
When he left and formed the band which would eventually become Love and Death, it left KoRn trying to find their identity and many fans said the band was dead after the departure. Over ten years the band released four albums, most of which were panned by fans and critics.
With both sides saying a reunion would never happen and each camp firing shots at each other at times, it looked like the relationship was all but severed.
Things started changing in May 2012 when singer Jonathan Davis was talked into going to see Love and Death when they played a hometown show and the singer and Welch spent time together after the show for a few hours.
Then in May 2012, Welch’s daughter wanted to go to the Carolina Rebellion festival to see some of her favorite bands and Welch was connected with his former band and surprised fans by joining KoRn on stage for the final song of the night- “Blind,” which started obvious speculation about a permanent reunion. The band shrugged it off and didn’t say much about it.
Then in 2013 it was announced that Welch had been secretly working on a new album with KoRn, The Paradigm Shift, which would be released in the fall.
Out now, the record gives fans everything they’ve missed over the last decade. Unlike their previous studio record, The Path of Totality, this record hits and it hits hard.
Straight out of the gate with “Prey for Me,” it’s clear KoRn have the attitude and punch the band’s been lacking over their last few records. Prey for Me was inspired after Davis went to church with Welch and everyone he met told him they’d been praying for him. Who would have thought way back in the day KoRn would have a song coming from when the members went to church? Well, it’s here and it kicks ass.
“Love and Meth” is next- a fitting title for KoRn, symbolizing everything the band has gone through in their career. This is the perfect second track for the record and hits just has hard as its predecessor and has some of the most attitude on the record.
Songs like lead single “Never Never” and “Spike in My Veins” have the perfect combination of classic KoRn mixed with the band’s current sound developed on The Path of Totality. While they have the electronic elements of their newer sound, they won’t turn off some of the band’s diehard fans like the previous record did.
“Spike in My Veins” is almost like the perfect description of KoRn on an acid trip and is driven by pure adrenaline and energy.
After listening to The Paradigm Shift through five or six times, there are a few things that are resoundingly clear.
With Head back in the mix, a huge load has been taken off fellow guitarist Munky’s shoulders and their chemistry is just as strong today as it was 10 years ago and the final product is as if no time has passed at all.
It’s also very clear that the band’s dynamic and personal lives have changed immensely over the years. The anger and bitterness that was once in Davis’s lyrics isn’t gone but it’s not taken from a present point of view but more from a retrospective point of view.
10 years later, KoRn are more mature and stronger musicians from everything they’ve gone through and their music shows their journey and the strength they’ve gained.
All of this has transferred into one of the most aggressive, powerful, hair-raising and intense records KoRn have ever released. This one is as close to beating out Follow the Leader as you can possibly get and is a definite top three release in KoRn’s legacy.