Review from the Archive: Papa Roach – The Connection

Whilst Papa Roach haven’t exactly gone anywhere over the last few years, they’ve certainly been off the radar. However, we can thank their need to re-establish that bond with their faithful fans, as well as their effort to assert themselves in a fresh light, with bringing us The Connection, a thoughtful offering from the California rockers.
The lead single ‘Still Swingin’’ is classic Papa Roach, declaring ‘we have been here from the start’, the track is a re-connection to their roots – a loud, lyrically moving, head banging return to form. The song will no doubt be an instant hit as the band incorporate a fresh sound without alienating their existing fans.
The key track of the album however is without a shadow of a doubt ‘Before I Die’ – an emotive, anthemic candidate for the next single. Shaddix’s vocals harmonise perfectly with the tone of the song; a heart-breaking sing-along tune, an expression of the harrowing hardships of being in a destructive relationship, when you’re just ‘sick of being all alone’.
The band does, however, have the perfect accompaniments to these great songs – all the tracks have a haunting quality to them, especially the bass on ‘Wish You Never Met Me’ or the howling lyrics to ‘Give Me Back My Life’. The repetitive verses, aggressive cursing and heavy guitars blend together effortlessly to accomplish a fantastic rock album.
To complete this modern sound, songs like Walking Dead and Won’t Let Up reflect on a lifeless relationship and the journey to rebuilt it and reignite the soul. There is certainly a Linkin Park-esque sound, the fusion of punk and anything on Kerrang right now; the musicians are on top form but there is nothing particularly different as the songs don’t sound all that dissimilar. But with lyrics like ‘Gotta keep your head up’, there is a welcome and hopeful disposition to the album that falls short on so much of the modern rock songs of today.
Finally, ‘As Far As I Can Remember’, offers a ‘new beginning’ as the last track and will hopefully be of things to come as Papa Roach are on excellent form – and are definitely the ‘one’s still swingin’.

Rachel McKinnie
4/5
For fans of: Linkin Park, Shinedown

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