Papa Roach – Metamorphosis

16 03 2009
The cover for the album Metamorphosis

The cover for the album Metamorphosis

Release Date: 24 March 2009
Tracks: 12
Length: 45:14

Well it’s been a while since this site has seen any activity, and especially long since I’ve done a CD review. Well I’m about to break the trend with my exclusive review of Papa Roach – Metamorphosis. That’s right, you read it here first, unless you read it somewhere else first.

Papa Roach has been rocking for years. Over the years, they have adapted their sound over the course of a few albums, starting out as what the majority of people describe as “rapcore” and seemingly settling now on what appears to be their current genre of alternative rock/metal. Of course, I dont’ really believe in labels…

What we can say, however, is that the title of the album is misleading. With a name like Metamorphosis, the listener is expecting a change of some sort. However, most of the tracks on Metamorphosis could easily fit into both of the band’s previous releases: The Paramour Sessions and Getting Away with Murder. What does this mean? Well, basically that the band have not changed very much since those albums, and if you liked those two you will probably like this one. Ok, time for the track by track breakdown.

Track 1 – Days of War (1:32).  An introductory track that sets the mood for the rest of the album. Well, that’s the idea anyway. It’s a decent enough track, with a steady drum beat that creates the impression of marching into battle. I assume that’s what the intention was anyway, judging by the title. It’s a good opener.

Track 2 – Change or Die (3:13). The second track starts out with a heavy guitar hook, and then the screaming vocals of band singer and frontman Jacoby Shaddix. From there, it degenerates into pseudo political nonsense. It feels like the band is trying to make a point, but doesn’t quite know what that point is. However, the rest of the song (minus the lacklustre vocals) is pretty good, and there’s a nice bridge at about 1:40 in that seems very appropriate for inclusion in a Guitar Hero game. The guitar solo at 2:30 sounds pretty good too.

Track 3 – Hollywood Whore (3:56). The first single from the album, Hollywood Whore is a scathing criticism of a prostitute in Hollywood. Haha. At least on the surface. Of course, I’m sure it is representative of Hollywood in general, and the excesses and vices that exist therein. Musically, the vocals are a lot better than the previous track, and you will probably catch yourself singing some of the catchy rhymes after listening to this. Lyrics like “Cocaine nose and trendy clothes, gotta send her to rehab” and “White trash queen, American dream, oh what a role model”. I dunno, maybe it’s me, but you will see when you listen to it.

Track 4 – I Almost Told You That I Loved You (3:09). Switching the tempo down a few notches from Hollywood Whore, I Almost Told You That I Loved You is a slower, but still heavy track. It details, from what I can hear, the exploits of the rock and roll lifestyle, especially the sex with unknown groupies, and how little it actually means to the superstars. Not my favourite track, content wise, but not bad musically. Lyrically, it grates the ears very quickly.

Track 5 – Lifeline (4:06). The second single from Metamorphosis, Lifeline is much more in line with previous singles such as Scars (From Getting Away With Murder). Starting off with a digitally enhanced guitar riff, the usual band harmony kicks in. Seriously, it’s a catchy tune, and will probably receive huge radio play. The lyrics get a bit emo, saying how everything’s all his fault, how bad his life’s been etc, but all in all, it’s a pretty good track. “I’m drowning in the pain, breaking down again, looking for a lifeline”. The distortion used on the guitar at the end is annoying, and I don’t see a point to it really.

Track 6 – Had Enough (4:01). Starting off with a nice rhythm guitar intro, leading into the catchy drum beat, both continue for the entire song. Unfortunately, Had Enough is another political commentary attempt, and you all know how much I love politics in my music. Honestly, it’s trying to be a protest song about the violence proliferating American society, from school shootings to the war in Iraq, and how said violence takes away our innocence. Not a bad track, Had Enough will probably end up being the third single from the album. The repetition of “We have had enough” at the end of the track seems a bit excessive to me. Personally, it seems Shaddix is trying to convince everybody how they feel.

Track 7 – Live This Down (3:35). A somewhat blah track for me. Standard lyrics of betrayed trust by a loved one, and the associated anger and revenge. This track is quintessential Papa Roach, muted instruments during verses, emphasising the lyrics, and then swelling closer to the fore during the chorus, but still further in the background than the echoing vocals. As I say, nothing really standout here for me personally.

Track 8 – March Out of the Darkness (4:25). Yet another interchangeable track, generic lyrics, speaking themes of redemption and freedom, as you could probably have guessed by the title. The highlight of this track is the very short bridge, where only the vocals and a light guitar can be heard. Nothing really more to say about this track, except it seems too long.

Track 9 – Into the Light (3:27). This track starts off with a deeply tuned guitar, kicking out a heavy rhythm, before the lead guitar swells into the crescendo, and the real start of the song. To me, Into the Light is yet another throw-away track, again with the ambitious themes of  redemption and salvation, and somehow, it just fails to achieve the lofty goals. Again, the guitar solo at 2:31 deserves special mention, albeit with extensive use of the wah-wah effect.

Track 10 – Carry Me (4:27). With Carry Me, the tempo is again switched down to that of a ballad. Strangely enough, the lyrical content remains more or less the same as previous tracks. Emo emo emo, “why don’t you carry me, I can’t move on, I can’t live on”, emo emo. It’s cool for a little while, but it gets really tired really fast. Repetition of “The hardest ones to love are the one who need it most” at one stage in the song really grates me.

Track 11 – Nights of Love (5:18).  This for me personally is a standout track. A guitar tuning reminiscent of Careless Whisper, a mid range tempo, a catchy drumbeat and lyrics that speak of loss and regret, all thrown together make up Nights of Love. It’s catchy and will probably stick with you. It slows down quite a bit at one stage, but it really works, and then comes back to how it was before the slow bridge. It drags a bit towards the end, when the band repeats themselves for a bit, and this adds nothing to the song.

Track 12 – State of Emergency (5:07). The final song is upbeat again, which is unusual, after the slower, softer Nights of Love. Usually albums like to end on a softer song, but obviously Papa Roach have chosen to end the album on a high note. At first listen, however, one wouldn’t assume that it is going to go hard, but then it kicks in properly and thrashes your head out. It’s a decent enough track to end on, and it certainly represents the album as a whole. Actually, State of Emergency is pretty catchy, except for the weak ending, which meanders off into a fade with some Spanish revolutionary (by the sounds of it) speech in the background.

Hmmm, initial reaction to the CD were strong, I played it non-stop for a few days. However, after the initial rush died down, I found myself choosing other music over Metamorphosis. Not sure if that means anything, but personally it didn’t have any staying power for me.

As I mentioned earlier, far from being a Metamorphosis, this album is essentially more of the same from Papa Roach. Check it out if you like their old stuff, because this album shows no growth or change in musical style or direction from the band. In the end, I would give Metamorphosis a 6 out of 10.

Buy Papa Roach – Metamorphosis CD




One response

6 01 2010

Hey, I think metamorphosis is awesome! by the sound of this your making it look like a piece!

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