The eighth studio album from California's Papa Roach, 2015's F.E.A.R. finds the journeyman hard rock outfit delivering more of its bombastic, high-energy sound. F.E.A.R. was produced by Kevin Churko (Ozzy Osbourne, Five Finger Death Punch) with assistance from his son Kane Churko, and the album's title is an acronym that stands for "Face Everything And Rise." The dark, aggressive irony behind this sentiment remains consistent with the angry, angst-ridden tone that the band has been narrowly hitting for almost two decades, telegraphing from the first moment of the title track that this is not a record intended to win new listeners, but it should please longtime fans of the group. Since breaking out in the late '90s along with a bevy of other nu-metal and rap-rock bands, Papa Roach have displayed a surprising amount of staying power. In the mid-2000s, the group abandoned the rap end of its sound to explore a more traditional hard rock style. It's an approach they've largely stuck with, saving their hip-hop inclinations for the occasional album track. But here, Jacoby Shaddix delves headlong into rap on "Gravity," a mid-album standout that also features a strikingly effective guest vocal from In This Moment frontwoman Maria Brink. Elsewhere, Papa Roach stick to their densely tattooed, heavily compressed guns on such hard-hitting numbers as "Broken as Me," "Warriors," and "Hope for the Hopeless," in which Shaddix sings "I'm counting all my bruises/I'm not counting on myself." Ultimately, it's just this kind of self-flagellating, dark-hued rock aesthetic that's worked for Papa Roach for well over a decade, and despite whatever passing styles or trends in pop music they've ignored in the process, it's a sound that seems to be working for them.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar