A strong record that certainly establishes Papa Roach as rock veterans.
Fifteen years ago, Papa Roach released their breakthrough album, Infest. It sold 30,000 copies in its first week, and the band’s popularity spread like wildfire. Infest, of course, could not have been released at a better time – with its aggressive riffs, angry lyrics and vocalist Jacoby Shaddix’s rapping, it surfed the nu-metal wave triumphantly, and became one of the defining albums of the genre, along with classics like Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory, also released in 2000.
But nu-metal’s popularity was short-lived, and most bands of the genre faded into insignificance. Papa Roach, however, were one of the few survivors. Granted, the Papa Roach of 2015 are a very different band to the Papa Roach of 2000 – over the last 15 years, the band have been labelled as everything from straight-up hard rock, to alternative metal, to even glam rock. Clearly, nobody has known quite how to define Papa Roach, perhaps not even the band themselves.
Yet F.E.A.R, the California rockers’ eighth studio release, sees the band consolidating all elements of their genre-spanning past, and rising from it with a newfound sense of self-assurance. This is evident immediately from opener and title-track ‘Face Everything And Rise’, a powerful introduction with those characteristically assertive riffs that Papa Roach do so well. There’s more of the same on ‘Broken As Me’ and ‘War Over Me’, with the latter featuring a strong, thundering chorus that’s sure to go down a storm when played live.
Elsewhere, ‘Devil’ has a more understated start, with a funky, driving bassline that gives the song a subtler groove, and adds a different dynamic to the album – a welcome change from Papa Roach’s usual chunky riffs, which are plentiful on this release. ‘Falling Apart’ flirts again with the electronics that are scattered throughout F.E.A.R, showcasing one of the record’s more intricate and melodic introductory riffs.
‘Gravity’ is a particularly interesting moment of the album, and a sure highlight. Beginning with a hip-hop beat and confessional-style rapping from vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, the track builds to a soaring chorus that’s only augmented by a guest vocal from In This Moment’s Maria Brink. This is something we haven’t heard before from Papa Roach, and confirms that this is a band far from the end of their shelf life. Another guest vocal, that of rapper Royce da 5’9”, features on lead single ‘Warriors’. Whilst this guest appearance is less successful than Maria Brink’s on ‘Gravity’, and feels a little out of place, it does add a refreshing twist, and overall doesn’t detract from the otherwise fist-pumping, hard-hitting track that’s sure to become a fan-favourite.
F.E.A.R is a confident record from a band who, despite everything, just continue to survive.
F.E.A.R is out now via Eleven Seven Music.