Papa Roach - 'The Connection'

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Papa Roach - 'The Connection'

Reining in the aggression means ‘The Connection’ will be accessible to a much wider audience.

Hard to believe that Papa Roach have been in existence for nearly 20 years now, though only really recording since 2000. ‘The Connection’ (if you don’t count the ‘……To Be Loved’ compilation released by their former record label) is the band’s 7th album and their first full studio release since 2009’s ‘Metamorphosis’. The nu-metal stylings and snot-nosed punk attitude that was originally associated with them have now been replaced by something far more sophisticated and I guess you could say that during the course of their recording career Papa Roach have progressed, the developments resulting in a straight forward melodic hard rock sound.

The material follows on nicely from the five studio tracks included on the ‘Time For Annihilation’ live set and there seems to be more emphasis on song-writing rather than attitude. I’m not sure if Jacoby Shaddix’s enforced throat surgery was the catalyst but ‘The Connection’ is by far the band’s most commercial piece of work to date. His vocal assault seems to have been tempered somewhat and though the caustic lyrical themes still have an incendiary quality they are now wrapped in melodies so sweet that Thorntons will have them in the shops by Christmas. There are more mid-paced tracks than previous albums and some electronic textures that add an extra dimension to the sound without diluting the effect.

Opener ‘Still Swingin’ proves some things don’t change and ‘Silence Is The Enemy’ marries a strong hook with some infectious riffs. The rap breakdown of ‘Beautiful’ nods it’s head in the direction of old school ‘Insects’ era Papa Roach whilst the uptempo ‘Breathe You In’ and ‘9th Life’ could have come from either ‘Paramour Sessions’ or ‘Metamorphosis’. There is certainly enough material here to garner airplay and the likes of ‘Before I Die’ could even be a Hinder song written by Brian Howes. James Michael’s polished production adds the necessary sheen but it’s the songs themselves that should attract the greatest plaudits. The deluxe edition of the CD includes a bonus DVD featuring 4 promo videos (‘Kick In The Teeth’, ‘Burn’, ‘No Matter What’ and ‘Still Swingin’) and the obligatory behind the scenes segment.

Reining in the aggression means ‘The Connection’ will be accessible to a much wider audience and Fireworks readers put off by the name Papa Roach in the past will find much to enjoy here.

Dave Bott

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