Change. Not Necessarily A Good Thing.

Papa Roach, Metamorphosis

Papa Roach is by no means new to the world of controversy. From their first suicidal single, “Last Resort” to their latest installment of nu-metal, Metamorphosis, Jacoby Shaddix and friends have built quite a repertoire of heavy, riffing guitars and arena-rock vocals. Their uncanny ability to come out of hiding and dominate the charts is no doubt, what has kept them on mainstream radar for the last ten years, however, after the lukewarm reception of their latest release it seems as the though this foursome’s reign is finally coming to an end.

Metamorphosis, released March 24 on DGC Records, is the sixth studio album from Papa Roach. Although the record seems to strive for a more poppy metal sound, the overall affect is less than pleasant. Jacoby’s once-passionate vocal is now stifled by a shockingly 80’s-metal flare that resembles Nickelback’s Chad Kroger, or Buck Cherry’s Josh Todd. Additionally, the pulsating guitars and intense lyrics that propelled Papa Roach to superstardom are once again absent from this recording. As a fan of their old material, Metamorphosis leaves me asking, “Who is this band and what have they done with my Papa Roach?”

While there’s no disputing the production value of this record, the lyrical strength and intensity the band used to rely on is nowhere to be found on Metamorphosis. Several tracks have solid foundations but fail miserably when it comes to the lyrics, which are incredibly clichéd and void of passion. Perhaps the most disturbing example can be found on track two, “Hollywood Whore.” The single is completely predictable and unfortunately, sub-par. commented on the song saying:

“‘Hollywood Whore’ takes aim at the flirtatious females that have invaded tinsel-town of late. There is a half-decent riff courtesy of guitarist Jerry Horton and some melody contained within the cut, but it is all brought down by clichéd lines such as “the talk of the town is that she’s going down,” and… “Don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you honey.”

In fact, the track ends with Shaddix screaming “Don’t let the door hit you…” channeling the likes of Nikki Six, which he also seems to have done on their recent album artwork.

Not everyone has a dislike for the would-be single “Hollywood Whore,” however. called the song “a ferocious Rock track with a contagious and undeniable chorus.” While all opinions are debatable there’s potential in this song, if only the band had taken the time to realize it.

Four minutes later, the sex-anthem “I Almost Told You That I Loved You” is just as soulless. The sadly superficial track led SputnikMusic to write,

“I Almost Told You That I Loved You’ begins with “You know I love it when you’re down on your knees”, a double-take is in order to ensure…Jacoby Shaddix has not been possessed by either Chad Kroeger (Nickelback) or Austin Winkler (Hinder).”

To ad insult to injury, wrote, “I Almost Told You That I Loved You” is unmistakably a Buckcherry rip off on all accounts.” Too bad no one was there to give such advice before the record was released. Thankfully, there’s hope about half-way through the album. A little old-school Papa Roach can be found on tracks like “Lifeline” (a convenient first single), and “March Out Of The Darkness,” which said, “mixes guitar crunch with lyrical introspection and impassioned vocals.” Both tracks showcase Shaddix’s vocal without making him sound like a copy-cat and listeners can extract some semblance of passion in the lyric thanks to a signature, “help me, I’m lost” message found on both tracks.

While some may enjoy the detour Papa Roach has taken with their latest LP, the majority speaks loud and clear. The unfortunate downall of Metamorphosis can be linked directly to the band’s lack of direction. hit the nail on the head saying, “the problem is that Papa Roach don’t rise far enough above the radio-rocking competition—it’s hard to remember the band’s identity at this point.” The constant identity flip-flop could be due to the band’s inability to let go of mainstream, but if these Cali rockers were to give up the ability to top the charts, it’s unpleasant to think how far they could fall.

Six records into their career, Papa Roach has evolved from garage/rap-rock with a punky twist to full-fledged metal band that sounds like a mix of Metallica and Nickelback. The strange combination may very well be the stepping-stone on the road to change, but it is certainly far from a textbook Metamorphosis. As put it,

“The LP is a regression on their previous releases. The band seem to be aiming at as broad an audience as possible here, but the likelihood is that they will reach even less targets since basically every track lacks a certain something to distinguish itself from the large pack of similar artists flooding the market. Chances are that most listeners will find a couple of songs to like, but as a whole, Metamorphosis fails to impress”.

If you were a fan of old-school Papa Roach, and do not favor recent releases like Getting Away With Murder you may want to steer clear of Metamorphosis. But if you can get over the smothering metal influences go ahead and give it a shot.