Metal Hammer (UK)

Head comes Home (november 2012)

Korn’s estranged guitarist returned and ignited a rich new run of form


apermanent fixture in the world of heavy music since their seminal self-titled debut, Korn have weathered plenty of personal and creative storms over the years, but the departure of original guitarist Brian ‘Head’ Welch in 2005 seemed more devastatin­g than most. Half of the band’s destructiv­e riff-generating team, alongside James ‘Munky’ Shaffer, Head’s flailing dreadlocks and commanding stage presence had been an integral part of Korn’s rise to glory. Unfortunat­ely, the nu metal pioneers’ notorious hedonism was veering into dark waters, and Head’s ultimate inability to conquer his addiction issues provided him with a solid reason to escape the rock’n’roll circus. After his departure, Head publicly embraced religion, wrote two books and formed a new band, Love And Death. Meanwhile, Korn forged ahead as a four-piece, becoming ever more experiment­al in the process, culminatin­g in 2011’s dubstep-driven The Path Of Totality.

All good things come to those Korn fans who wait, though. An impromptu cameo with his bandmates in May 2012 at the Carolina Rebellion Festival (performing Blind, natch) swiftly evolved into a full-blown reunion.

Later that year, Korn announced that Head was officially back in the band and working with them on their new album. When The Paradigm Shift was released the following autumn, it was widely hailed as a return to form, not least because Korn were serving up lots of enormous, dirty riffs again.

More importantl­y, Korn’s reputation as a live band has soared since Head’s return, and not just because of Jonathan Davis’s disco dancefloor. Although obviously that helps.

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