Saturday, 14 March 2015

Papa Roach "F.E.A.R" (2015)

Papa Roach are an Alternative Metal group from California, America who have been together for around 20 years now. In my youth I was a big fan of their major label debut "Infest", an album that epitomized the Nu Metal movement. As a relatively unknown band their album was slow to sell on release, but the popularity of its music videos and continual airplay on MTV lead it to triple platinum status over the years. Many songs have been featured in games, movies and popular culture at the time, and thus it sticks in my mind as a big part of my youth. The groups success would decline over the years and after a follow up in 2002 the group switched their direction with 2004's "Getting Away With Murder", moving towards the rising popularity of Emo / Screamo music and changing their image. It turned me off their music, and listening to Infest again can also be difficult, the bands negative, self destructive lyrics don't offer a lot of positivity or good vibes, but I decided to check this one out to see where they are at 15 years later.

I wasn't expecting much from FEAR, but I wasn't going to be disappointed either, they are no longer a band I care much for and I was pleasantly surprised by the opening track, uplifting lyrics, big punchy Nu Metal guitars and a positive vibe. The song itself was simplistic but had a crisp, over polished, squeaky clean sound that worked well for it. The drum kit punches through with thudding base pedals like a Dance kick and Shaddix's melodic vocal hooks tied together well. The inclusion of a Trance like electronic synth brought a lot to the track and raised my hopes of it bringing a competitive edge to their music. From this track onwards the positivity and electronic element seemed to dissolve as "Skeletons" dived into a typically self loathing and moody indulgence of self inflicted pain with no resolve. A few tracks later it became clear the best of this album was over on the first song alone.

Musically the album tired its way through riff after riff, verses and choruses that felt uninspired and formulaic. The guitars riffed out simplistic drop chord riffs and chugging patterns that were dangerously dull, it felt like they just swum around the same idea over and over. Lyrically it got worse, more self destructive lyrics with nothing to offer but an indulgence into misery with no ambition. If the topics weren't a bummer already, the lack of lyrical creativity or expression made it worse, delivering the concepts with unimaginative expressions, very straightforward use of language that made me wonder where Shaddix gets his inspiration from after singing about his self loathing behavior all these years. I don't want to be condescending, but my only way of expressing my thoughts is to say its typically "teenage" in a way I once identified with their debut record.

This album offered a spark in the opening track but quickly descended into monotonous self loathing and uninspired, simplistic music that offered nothing. The super polished production didn't add any character to the lack of depth and a strange, short appearance from Royce Da 59 left this one with a sour taste.

Favorite Track: Face Everything And Rise
Rating: 2/10