Papa Roach

Metamorphosis

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At the dawn of the decade, Papa Roach were one of many angst-ridden, tattooed alt-metal bands who mixed in rap with their grim guitars. At the close of the 2000s, the quartet has shed the rap and the angst, ditching all the alt-metal accoutrements to become a knowing update of an '80s Sunset Strip sleaze rock outfit. This is indeed the Metamorphosis hinted at in the title of their fifth album, and while it's possible to debate whether this transformation was inspired by creative or commercial motivations, there is no denying one key fact: Papa Roach may be all about parties now but they're still kind of grim. Maybe it's down to the decision to bring back producer Jay Baumgardner, who helmed their 2000 debut, Infest, but Metamorphosis has a dire determination to its purported good times, its riffs grinding instead of greasy, its rhythms clenched where they should be loose. While Papa Roach is a long long way from the depths of Hinder -- that decade of work does give the band a professional snap, plus it never quite seems that Jacoby Shaddix's heart is into slagging that "Hollywood Whore" he berates on the album's first single -- they miss the whole point of this kind of rock & roll raunch: it should be more fun to listen to than it is to take out on the road.

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