(Eleven Seven Music)
When the New Wave of American Heavy Metal sub-genre best known as Rap Metal--and, for that matter, its bastardized siblings Rap Rock and Rapcore--at long last rose to mainstream prominence in the mid to late '90's, many felt the overall commercial impact of such artists and groups would be minimal, at best. Thus, when the Vacaville, California-based quartet Papa Roach unleashed their Jay Baumgardner-helmed major label debut Infest (2000) upon a largely unsuspecting public, the resulting tidal wave of success that would follow in its wake was nothing short of extraordinary. Armed with a veritable wealth of razor-sharp hooks, riffs and solos (as evidenced by the maddeningly infectious singles “Last Resort”, “Broken Home” and “Between Angels And Insects”) and with worldwide sales in excess of eight million, the sky, it seemed, was the limit. Now, nearly fifteen years later, the group has once again returned to kick our collective asses. The question is, are you ready?
On the stellar F.E.A.R. (2015), an expertly assembled twelve song collection of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the pulsating, Electronica-tinged “Face Everything And Rise” and the relentlessly pummeling lament “Broken As Me”, instantly commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Wisely attempting to improve upon the woefully underrated The Connection (2012), the groups wastes little--if any--time engulfing the proverbial average listener--i.e. you, the increasingly faithful reader--amid a now trademark array of soaring vocals, searing fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms. Effortlessly distancing themselves from their few remaining contemporaries (and, more importantly, their forgettable, long-defunct Nü-Metal brethren), the group fires on all cylinders early and often, resulting in an initial besiege that is both exhaustive and formidable.
Continuing with the maddeningly infectious quasi-Power Ballad “Love Me 'Till It Hurts” and the Maria Brink (In This Moment)-fueled “Gravity”, the steadfast--to say the very least--combination of vocalist Jacoby Shaddix, guitarist Jerry Horton, bassist Tobin Esperance and drummer Tony Palermo (Pulley, Sixx:AM, Unwritten Law) steamroll ahead at an occasionally feverish pace. Driving home each key focal point with the breathless efficiency that has permeated the crème de la crème of their post-Lovehatetragedy material (most notably the oft-stunning gem Getting Away With Murder and the woefully-underrated later-day classic Metamorphosis), the group wastes precious little time reminding us all of their virtuosic tendencies. Engulfing all but the most staunch of Metalhead purists, the group effortlessly flexes their more-than-considerable creative muscles, resulting in an initial sonic assault that easily exceeds even the most optimistic of 'fanboi' expectations.
Co-Produced by the 'dream team' father and son tandem of Kevin and Kane Churko (the final seven tracks were Produced solely by Kane due to a prior commitment to the previously mentioned In This Moment), other standouts, including the searing, emotionally-charged tirade “War Over Me” and the equally impressive closer “Warriors”, offer a staggering wealth of compelling further sonic evidence in support of the group's well-deserved reputation as a bona fide creative and commercial force not to be ignored. Ultimately succeeding by broadening their already notoriously dedicated target demographic without alienating the target demographic that initially propelled the group to the dizzying heights of international recognition, The end result(s), as you've almost assuredly deduced, are once again quite worthy of the highest of critical and commercial accolades, making the mighty F.E.A.R. an absolute must-have for both die-hard completists and clueless new-comers alike.
But why should you really care? Arguably the groundbreaking Nü-Metal pioneer's most accessible and cohesive and, as a result, thoroughly enjoyable effort to date, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly ear-pleasing wares contained herein effectively accentuate the group's continued exponential artistic growth. Even if you somehow find yourself less than enthralled with the overall commercial tonalities of the otherwise ingenious F.E.A.R. (love it or loathe it, such subtle 'commercialism' has served the group incredibly well), one must, at the very least, sincerely admire the improbably long-running group's seemingly ceaseless dedication to perfecting his craft. As a result, if you've once again found yourself in search of a fist-pumping, quasi-mosh-inducing reprieve from the painfully mindless 'New Rock' din and clatter that is so often force fed en mass, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane cure-all for what ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.
The Connection (2012)
Time For Annihilation (2010)
...To Be Loved: The Best Of Papa Roach (2010)
Naked And Fearless Acoustic EP (EP) (2009)
Lifeline (EP) (2009)
Hollywood Whore (EP) (2008)
The Paramour Sessions (2006)
Live At Rock Am Ring (DVD (2005)
Live & Murderous In Chicago (DVD) (2005)
Getting Away With Murder (2004)
She Loves Me Not (EP) (2002)
Let 'Em Know (EP) (1999)
5 Tracks Deep (EP) (1998)
Old Friends From Young Years (1997)
Caca Bonita (EP) (1995)
Potatoes For Christmas (EP) (1994)
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