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Music Review: Papa Roach – Metamorphosis

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Papa Roach has a bigger catalog of music than I'd realized, reaching back to 1994.  Their sound has altered over the years and generally for the better.  I like the trend of straying from rap metal and nu-metal and heading towards a harder and more standard rock/metal sound.

Their newest release is Metamorphosis and with a title like that we're compelled to discuss change (although, it could just be a reference to insects).  I agree that change is sometimes a good thing lending longevity and relevancy to a band.  They just have to make sure they morph into something good.

The opening volley of Metamorphosis is the battle cry "Change or Die," a very loud meditation on the benefits of escaping the mundane.  "Are you corrupted by the status quo/The repetition kills the soul" they scream.  It does feel very much like a cavalry charge and primes the ear for the rest of the tracks.

The next two are brutal in subject matter, if not musically. In  "Hollywood Whore" they seem to lament the enhanced and vacuous and dream of "kicking their teeth in."  "I Almost Told You I Loved You" is a cold-hearted song, to be sure.  And then comes the thematic contrast. The second half of the record seems to take up an anti-violent tack.

"Lifeline" has an instantly addictive chorus and decent psychological drama. "Had Enough" is a beautiful song, well structured, even though the content isn't that unique.  It's basically a lament on the violence in society, war, and political deception.  But it's not expressed in a fresh fashion, and they are the most intelligent songs.  The rest of the songs are decent, though I'd be content to stop after track six, "Had Enough."  The other songs? Well, I'm sorry; they are like the clone troopers from Star Wars – sure, they're all kinda cool but they're just recycled Jango Fett's.

Musically, it doesn't seem the band has taken a big step forward.  The guitar sounds about what you'd expect from Papa Roach.  There are all the proper well placed triplets and fills and backbeats and acoustic intro's – but it all feels familiar and comfortable.  That's good for consistency, maybe, but I'd like to hear them break out a bit.

They've been around for a while and sound like they are on the verge of a real metamorphosis, just not necessarily with this CD.

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