When Papa Roach burst onto the rock scene back in the mid-Nineties, full of piss, vinegar and mammoth anthemic tunes that still fill the floors of rock clubs today, they proved themselves to be a galvanising force. Nu-metal, but more fun than some of the more po-faced acts of the genre, with a strong sense of the absurd and a heavy dollop of emo, they immediately connected with people and their fan base rapidly expanded. An astonishing twenty-six years since their formation, they’re back with album number ten, Who Do You Trust?, due for release on January 18th on the Eleven Seven Music record label.
The first thing you’ll notice is that, despite brash frontman Jacoby Shaddix announcing back in 2004 that he was “over” rapping on their albums, he in fact raps on almost every song, starting with the contrarily-titled opening track ‘The Ending’. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course; nu-metal, by its very definition, included rap in some form or another.
The second thing you’ll pick up is that this album is very much a collation of PR’s influences: Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine and newbies Issues and Twenty One Pilots all shine from it, at times to the point where it actually sounds like Papa Roach performing a previously unreleased track from one of them. Which is a little…disappointing, it has to be said.
In fact, most of the album is, well, fine. A standard nu-metal album, one could say. There’s just one thing missing: the vigour, the anguish, the attitude of the P Roach of old. Have they become too content in life to wring any anger or torment from their lives anymore? Possibly. What we’re left with, then, is twelve tracks of mostly generic RATM or Linkin Park-lite, or dudes attempting to ‘get down with the kids’ by writing songs that sound like Twenty One Pilots. Not great.
There are some bright spots: the groovy, riff-laden chorus of ‘Not the Only One’ is lovely and beefy. The stomping title track is perfectly crafted rock club perfection, in the vein of ‘Between Angels and Insects’. And ironically – on an album loaded with quite short songs (all around three minutes), it’s the short, sharp shock of the one minute and twenty seconds-long ‘I Suffer Well’ that knocks everything else out of the park in a brutal flurry of snarling punk – yes, really.
Twenty six years is certainly a long time in rock; a great many bands never come close to that, often going out with a whimper rather than a bang. Unfortunately, this rather tepid effort from Papa Roach will surely cause people to wonder if the original fire in their belly – that galvanising emotion – has been snuffed out, or if it’s merely a stumble in what has been a straight upwards trajectory up until now.
Review by Melanie Brehaut
Papa Roach will be undertaking a UK and EU tour from April this year. Dates are as follows:
Sat 13 Southampton, O2 Guildhall Sun 14 Exeter, Great Hall Mon 15 Bristol, O2 Academy Wed 17 London, O2 Forum Sat 20 Manchester, O2 Academy Sun 21 Leeds, O2 Academy Tues 23 Newcastle, O2 Academy Wed 24 Edinburgh, Usher Hall Thurs 25 Aberdeen, Music Hall Sat 27 Norwich, UEA Sun 28 Nottingham, Rock City Mon 29 Birmingham, O2 Academy Followed by European Festivals: (more dates to be added) June 2019 Thurs 13th Interlaken, Switzerland – Greenfield Festival
PAPA ROACH NEW ALBUM OUT JANUARY 18TH 2019