Papa Roach
The Connection

Label: Eleven Seven Music
Three similar bands: Fallout Boy/Fight The Sky/Pulley
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm
1. Engage  
2. Still Swingin'  
3. Where Did the Angels Go?  
4. Silence is the Enemy  
5. Before I Die  
6. Wish You Never Met Me  
7. Give Me Back My Life  
8. Breathe You In  
9. Leader of the Broken Hearts  
10. Not That Beautiful (featuring Shahnaz)
11. Walking Dead  
12. Won't Let Up  
13. As Far as I Remember

Jacoby Shaddix - vocals
Jerry Horton - lead guitar
Tobin Esperance - bass guitar
Tony Palermo - drums, percussion

Old Friends from Young Years (1997)
Infest (2000)
Lovehatetragedy (2002)
Getting Away with Murder (2004)
The Paramour Sessions (2006)
Metamorphosis (2009)
Time for Annihilation (2010)

Shahnaz (on 10)

Produced by James Michael & John Feldmann

Released 2/10-2012
Reviewed 30/9-2012

eleven seven

Seven albums in to their career Papa Roach has taken some time to reflect on their music and with their eight album they've gone a bit differently compared to earlier. 'The Connection' feels both heavier and more grand than what this band has done earlier and I can hear both keyboards, electronics and sound layers with textures of sound loops that gives this album a diversity that Papa Roach hasn't had before. It feels like they've taken some time to look backwards on what they've done and taken the things that were good, collected it and then tied the material together neatly to the best Papa Roach album so far - in every way.

Generally Papa Roach has always released albums with high quality productions, which is a result of them getting a major label deal early on in their career, and 'The Connection' is no exception. Earlier I think they've had bigger problems with the music itself because it's always tended to get a bit flat and hard to identify yourself with, and the reason for that might be that they've been TOO well produced? Maybe, but I don't think they have this problem with 'The Connection', here they have plenty of good songs and not just the one or two that they release as singles. I've actually had some difficulties moving on from 'The Connection' as you get twelve good songs in a row after the 50 second intro that precedes the lot. The intro is nicely done and feels as a short summary of the album and the first song, which is the first single of the album, and the promises are fulfilled as your expectations expand massively when you hear this beginning.

The graphic cover for the album has some sort of robotic skull that feels as a really big change compared to previous albums which all has been pretty one colored and almost at their most had a photo of the band. But as I've said it's not just the cover that feels more elaborate than before, the song writing has gone really deep in to Papa Roach and dug up elements they haven't used for many years and almost every song has got their own characteristics, but without getting lost in it. This album does in many ways bring out all the things that defines and has defined Papa Roach over the years and it works really good, all though I have to admit I feel the 44 minutes is very close to being too much. But it never really gets too much and compared to previous albums where they've only had a couple of good songs and mostly fillers, this album is definitely the other way around - here's there's at the most a couple of fillers and the rest is A-material.

I find the second half of the album a bit less interesting than the first, but at the same time you have some of the best tracks on the album there too, so it's not like you should use your knife and cut away the second half of the album. My least favorites are Wish You Never Met Me and the concluding As far As I Remember, while my biggest favorites are Still Swingin', Not That Beautiful and Walking Dead. I don't think the songs have too many similarities but they still have a sort of industrial sound that's quite similar all over the album, which is somewhat of a minus that I think the production side should take the blame for. Also I think the bass drums are mixed way too loudly and they almost gives you a feeling of fire crackers exploding in your ears, which isn't an entirely nice feeling.

Overall I think the quality of these songs are clearly the best Papa Roach has ever produced, even though they might lack individual songs that are the best they've ever done - but I'm sure they won't have problems finding songs from this album as well when they're ready to put together a best of album. So, do I recommend it then? Well, do I? Punk?

Yes, I do. But to whom? Well, to fans of hard rock, I suppose. And screamo. And nu-metal. And modern American hard rock and/or metal. As well as modern rock music. And I think I would recommend it to many more as well, as long as you have an open mind for Papa Roach and doesn't judge them for their past, their major record label and for having a few nu-metal elements (which seems to be the typical traditional hard rockers definition of everything they're not). But I'm no typical hard rocker and I like the album, so if you are you perhaps shouldn't listen to me. You probably should listen to the album instead because it's good.



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