By Kieran Graulich
Where were you when you first heard “Last Resort”? Perhaps you were in your car, listening to the radio at home or at a friend’s house. Any survivor of the 00’s will remember Papa Roach’s magnum opus, complete with a poorly done Anthony Kiedis impersonation, melodramatic lyricism, and a riff stolen from Iron Maiden’s “Ghengis Khan.” “Last Resort,” along with much of Papa Roach’s catalogue, has remained an anthem for angst-ridden teenagers and pre-metalheads who haven’t found out about Deftones yet. As far as cringe worthy 00’s nostalgia goes, Papa Roach ranks up there. And, believe it or not, they’re still kicking.
Eight studio albums in, Papa Roach has pushed far past the mediocre pseudo-metal scene of the 2000’s and into the mediocre pseudo-metal scene of the 2010’s. Papa Roach’s new album, “Face Everything and Rise (F.E.A.R.),” is certainly a spectacle. Whereas 15 years ago Papa Roach was pulling pages straight from the Limp Bizkit cookbook, they now seem to have their faces buried, like many current metal bands, in the “How to Sound Like Linkin Park” tutorial. Glitch-y keyboard sounds, synthetic drums, absolutely dreadful lyrics, and melodramatic vocals completely squander whatever potential this album may have had.
There is a very fine line in campy metal music between entertaining and ludicrous. Bands like Iron Maiden, Satan, and Judas Priest all skate this line with grace, entertaining their audience while coming off as believable and serious. Papa Roach fall so far over the line that they begin to resemble a Black Veil Brides knockoff. Any album that opens with the lyrics, “The streets crawl with a deadly omen/Outside I see a world that’s broken/I can’t breathe, my heart is choking/I need a cure for this life I’ve chosen,” is almost begging to not be taken seriously. Much like the new Nickelback album, Papa Roach sheds whatever identity they had on previous albums to make an attempt to sound like every other metal band on the market today. As a result, much like Nickelback, Papa Roach not only puts out a mediocre product but doesn’t even stay true to their own sound.
Fans of Papa Roach (yes, they do exist) argue that one of the main pros of this album is its positive message, a rarity for metal albums. While this is true, as the band does deal with lyrics dealing mostly with overcoming hardships and moving past negativity, “F.E.A.R” does not approach this topic in a single original or interesting direction. Every moment sounds contrived, unoriginal, and bland as metal gets. Although Papa Roach does make an attempt to switch up their sound, whether as an artistic or marketing choice, the product is but a drop in the sea of bland, overproduced alternative metal on the market today.
Kieran Graulich is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.