Papa Roach's 'Fear' Sounds A Lot Like... Papa Roach
Papa Roach have never strayed too far from the path of success that they started walking in 2000 with the release of multi-platinum album 'Infest'. Taking a step back from the heavy emphasis on rapping after 'Infest' is pretty much the only major change they’ve made to their style.
An initial listen to 'F.E.A.R.', the band’s 8th studio effort, suggests that Jacoby and co. are still content being on this path, with a collection of tracks which could fit quite nicely on any of the albums in the band’s catalogue. "Gravity" is the obvious standout; aside from the surprise guest vocals of Maria Brink [In This Moment], it’s essentially a hip-hop track to begin with, with Jacoby choosing not to sing, instead opting to rap the lyrics during the verses. Beyond the verses, however, is a fitting display of what we should all be used to from Papa Roach – a burst of emotional content that simply couldn’t be contained any longer. The bad news is that aside from "Gravity", the remainder of material is pretty much a typical Papa Roach album.
After a second listen, the good news is quickly realised – F.E.A.R. is pretty much a typical Papa Roach album. Just like all the albums before it, F.E.A.R. has plenty of enjoyable songs. Album opener "Face Everything and Rise" smacks you right in the face – no bullshit, it’s a massive song with a big powerful riff that makes you want to move. "Skeletons" and "Broken As Me" follow, wielding their own catchy riffs and melodic sing-along choruses, the latter feeling like it’ll be a huge highlight during the next set of Papa Roach shows – you can almost see the light show that will undoubtedly compliment the track’s breakdown.
"Never Have To Say Goodbye", the obligatory middle ground track – stripped back but not bare - falls in the middle of the album, but feels like it’s missing something, especially when compared to the likes of "Scars" or "Forever" from the band’s previous work. The last handful of tracks actually see the tempo increase, in contrast to previous work which generally sees the overall tempo lowered at the end of the album. "Warriors" has yet another chorus that will surely see everyone united in song at live shows, and with surprise guest input from rapper Royce da 5’9 too, making it one of the most important tracks on the album.
While Papa Roach didn’t appear to make any radical changes to their writing style during the production of F.E.A.R., it becomes clearer with each listen that these tracks aren’t designed to be heard in your bedroom; rather their purpose is to blow your head off when you hear them live.
Words by Blaine Marshall