It's 2017 now and, I'm not about to sit here and pretend that my favourite bands from when I got into music as a kid, are all still my favourote bands now...times change, styles change, tastes change...don't get me wrong, I will always have a soft spot for these bands, but for whatever reasons, many no longer appeal to me in the same ways. Let's be clear here, I was a nu-metal kid...skateboard, baggy jeans, spiky hair, bike chain...I did that...that was me...and the big bands of that time period shaped the person I am today....but where are they now? Well...LIMP BIZKIT, aside from the odd live show have fallen off the face of the Earth...KORN can't decide if they want to do dub-step or "go back to their roots"...it tends to fleet between the two (They've got more roots than a fucking SEPULTURA plantation)...LINKIN PARK? Well...you should already know how I feel about them currently...but what about PAPA ROACH? Jacoby Shaddix and co have quite frankly been the only consistent outfit of that era...to the point where this year, with the release of their brand new album; "Crooked Teeth" they prove that not only can they they still rock out with the same energy that they did nearly twenty years ago...but they remain relevant in the process...nu-metal revival, or bad day at the dentist? Brace yourself...(Get it? teeth...braces...never mind)
The album gets underway with "Break The Fall" and immediately you get the feeling that, this is going to be one resplendent record to say the very least...with it's slow, classical strings and subtle piano it's rather dramatic, but soon we're greeted with Jerry Horton's no-nonsense riffs, leading into the trademark gritty vocals of one Jacoby Shaddix, spitting lyrics with a venom and intensity that few can equal, he's a very assertive vocalist in his delivery, though his softer vocals providing strong clean segments too, he's without a doubt one of the best front-men in rock and this is a great opening, and it just get's better...the title track is vintage Papa Roach; it's got the raspy, vicious vocals, it's got the punk-inspired intense, up-tempo aura and an absolutely massively addictive chorus, it's all you can ask for!
"Born For Greatness" adds an extra dynamic to the record with it's brass intro leading into a very deep, grimy hip-hop percussion and almost tribal gang vocals, it's a completely different sound and it works well coupled with it's almost semi-dance/dub qualities, it's a slower but no less catchy piece of music...catchy is something Papa Roach have always done incredibly well but on "Periscope" they may very well have excelled themselves...featuring SKYLAR GREY on guest vocals, the pop-hooks in this song are off the chart, perfect high's and low's, key changes, it's got super smooth production, it's just addictive...an amazing track; easily THE album highlight. More guest vocals appear on "Sunrise Trailer Park" too courtesy of MACHINE GUN KELLY and the result is a far darker record, the guitars offer a deeper, bassy, country/blues style with an old school rap vibe, lyrically too, Papa Roach's classic self-depreciating style, forever sounding raw, sounding real...Jacoby has always been a brilliant story teller and that shows here.
Even the albums lesser tracks don't disappoint either mind you..."American Dreams" for all it's up-beat charisma, it is a lighter track and while that's not a criticism in itself, there's something a little generic about this, so too with closing track "None Of The Above", which despite it's apparently passionate chorus, again, for the most part it's a little tepid. For the record, the special edition of the album has three bonus tracks, all of which are top drawer, "Bleeding Through" in particular ending the album on a more worthy note. What can be said about album number nine then? Well it's safe to say, that these veterans have plenty of life left in them and have again pulled a quality album out of the bag....when so many others keep getting it wrong, Jacoby and co. keep delivering and prove that they, just like the cockroaches, will be the last ones standing. The crooked teeth? They will be yours if you find anything wrong with album let me tell you...