Album Review: Papa Roach – “F.E.A.R”
Back in the distant, hazy days of 2000, when care-free sixth form studenthood seemed like it would last forever and among the more taxing of the decisions I had to make was whether to spend my weekend-job wages on a Papa Roach T-shirt or a Linkin Park T-shirt, I found myself in quite the quandary.
Luckily, the shop assistant was on hand to offer sterling advice; “Go with Linkin Park” she said, “Papa Roach won’t last, they’ll be forgotten in a few months.” How joyful it is that she was wrong, for here I sit, fifteen years later, revelling gleefully in reviewing Papa Roach’s eighth solidly-accomplished studio album.
F.E.A.R is the soul-bearing, hook-drenched pummelling-hit after pummelling-hit offering to which Papa Roach fans have become accustomed.
With the slight departure of 2012’s ‘The Connection’ Papa Roach seriously upped their game, and with F.E.A.R they prove that they’re sustaining the juggernaut of their sound with a masterful balance of old and new. From the fiery industrial-tinged title track to the meaty, undulating ‘Skeletons’ to the full on rap-rock of ‘Gravity’, the album is a robust and cohesive metal joyride. In fact the latter-named track is the dark horse of the pack, a slow-grower whose irrepressible melody ultimately permeates your very being. The punchy and melodic ‘Hope for the Hopeless’ is a stand-out classic, whilst ‘Devil’ provides the emotive riffs and anthemic ballad.
This band evolves naturally with each album without blurring its identity or losing its edge, as a result the music remains strong, organic and sublimely addictive.