A new Korn album -- "The Paradigm Shift," due out Oct. 8 -- is a big deal.
The fact that it was recorded with guitarist Brian "Head" Welch back in the band is an even bigger deal.
Head left the nu rock pioneers in 2005, after 12 years and seven albums, over what he says was a matter of personal survival. "I couldn't be around people killing themselves anymore," he explains. "As far as people doing cocaine or just drinking themselves into a crazy alcoholic and watching people's lives slip away, I can't be around that. It was really dysfunctional and unhealthy, so I had to just get away from that."
After a period of estrangement, Head reconciled with the other members of Korn in May 2012, joining them onstage, and he was pleased to find that "the guys were working on their lives while I was away from the band, getting their stuff straight. That bad stuff isn't going on in the Korn world anymore. That was a big impact for me to come back."
That said, Head promises that sobriety hasn't softened Korn at all -- evidenced by "The Paradigm Shift's" powerful melding of metal conventions with industrial and electronic touches.
"We're not these boring, old, 12-step program, 'Hi, I'm this guy and I'm an alcoholic,' 'I'm a drug addict,' " notes Head, 43, whose other band Love & Death is opening shows on Korn's current tour. "We're still crazy. We still are just funny, crazy, goofy dudes. We didn't calm down; it's only the destructive part we stopped.
"It seems like we've been given another chance to live and breathe and really appreciate and be so thankful for what we do. And we feel like we can deliver to the rock world what people are waiting to hear from Korn, finally. We're so pumped up about this record, and the songs (in concert) are just blowing up. It's a totally new fire."
Korn, Asking Alexandria and Love & Death perform Tuesday, Oct. 1, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.50-$59.50. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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