It is really to pinpoint what Papa Roach's musical direction really is. Their first album was a fusion of rap and metal which actually worked well but just as quickly as they had brought their fans this style of music, they quickly dropped it on their follow up album. This was in truth quite cynical as the "nu metal" genre was dying a death and so their style was reinvented. Their second effort was a muddled affair and difficult to really enjoy but after a terrific third album, I was truly looking forward to their fourth studio album.
The album is titled Paramour Sessions and comes from the fact that the album was recorded in the Paramour studios and according to the band members the place holds a very weird ambience where spirits can be felt. I don't know about how true this is but it is what inspired them to produce this album in the way they have.
However the important thing is how does the album sound? well it is certainly a far departure from their previous album Getting Away With Murder which was a ferocious album in many ways, packed with aggression but melody. Whereas this album is very polished, perhaps too polished. I can understand why this album might be highly liked there are a mixture of songs on here from quite heavy rock to essentially rock balladry. The lead singer is a very good singer and clearly is able to handle the demands of a ballad. The hooks are quite catchy and the guitar and drums serve as a good back drop to the crooning but it feels extremely contrived.
What I really liked about Papa Roach is their music was full of gusto and a raw heavy rock but also managed to appeal to a wider audience because of the quality and construction of the tracks. This album seems intent on thoroughly polishing everything and if anything almost moving completely away from heavy rock. Indeed even the heavier songs on this album seem to follow the same formulaic approach and it's disappointing.
What this album does well is demonstrate what a good singer the lead singer is but what it fails to do is seperate itself from the pack. There are some very good songs on this album including Crash, The World Around You and Fire. In addition there genuinely isn't a bad song on this album they are well crafted, but too well crafted. It seems like they are deliberately tempering their own natural instincts to truly unleash.
If I was guessing what was the primary cause I would point the finger squarely at the A&R. Just to underline this much softer approach, the last 3 songs on the album are all essentially ballads. Indeed perhaps if this had come from another band, I might have been more willing to embrace this style but it just seems so artificial.
In short this is a good album if you love polished rock and many songs will appear to be a bigger audience. However this is such a big step away from what I thought Papa Roach were about that I can't help but feel deflated.
I had first heard Papa Roach when I heard their biggest hit "Last Resort",which was out a few years ago. I hadn't really heard anything from them recently (their rarely on the radio anyway) so when I saw "The Paramour Sessions" on sale in my local CD shop I thought I'd give them a listen...
The CD starts with two of the best songs on this album, "...To Be Loved" and "Alive". Both are real headbangers with heavy guitar throughout which can make it hard to hear the singer Jacob Shaddixy whose lyrics are actually suprisingly good. In "Alive" the guitar in the pre-chorus is absolutely insane. "..to be Loved" is impossible not to sing (or scream)along to as the chorus is so catchy.
Crash is similar to the first two but not as good. The guitar is less inspired in this very angry song and I don't like the effects halfway through. This song is a grower though and the chorus gradually gets stuck into your head and before long you will screaming "Crash" at the top of your voice.
The fourth song "World Around You" continues the theme of screaming, angry choruses with heavy guitar and is another gem on the album. Its followed by "Forever", which is completely different to the first four songs.
Just as you are starting to get sick of the all the screaming metal Papa Roach hit you with this. It starts slow with much more refrained guitars through the verses until they hit you with another chorus that will stick into your head for weeks: "Because days come and go, but my feelings for you are forever!".
"I Devise My Own Demise" is next and its verses are really pumped up but I'm not crazy about the chorus which I personally found a bit generic and it doesn't really stand out enough. "Time is Running Out" is probably one of the more radio-friendly songs on the album with a very poppy chorus but its still Papa roach-enough to get the blood pumping.
"What Do You Do? is another one of the less metal-y songs and is oddly mellow despite the hard drumming and heavy chorus. The next song "My Heart is a Fist" starts off slowly , with haunting lyrics until the drums start to get faster and you can feel the song building up but when the guitar comes in its actually quite disappointing. I was expecting something better but that is only because of the album's excellent standards I feel let down. But you're instantly brought back with the excellent "No More Secrets" featuring some intelligent word-play from Mr. Shaddixy.
The next song is "Reckless" which was released as a single and you can see why with its catchy chorus and its more rock than metal with this song.Its followed by another contendor for song of the album "The Fire". Its starts off slow but soon captivates the listener with a few delightful twists. Then onto one of the more sorrowful songs on the album, "Roses On My Grave". The song is dedicated to Jacob Shaddixy's step-grandfather who died in 2006 and tthe source where the band got its name "Papa Roach". The song is very un-Papa Roach and it isn't great.
Last two songs are SOS (a bonus track) which is below-par to the overall album and a live recording of "Scars" one of their earlier hits.
This is an album I would recommend to any metal, rock or even pop fan as its impossible to not be amazed by the impressive guitar work on display and infectious choruses.
Papa Roach: The paramour sessions
Papa roach have been going since around the year 2000, they have released 3 other albums and I am now reviewing their latest album the paramour sessions which was released in 2006.
Alive (N' out of control)
This track shows what type of band they are from the first few seconds. It has a metal rhythm to it along with a type of beat that you just want to headband to (I had to resist other wise my glasses would of come flying off and broke). The lyrics are amazing I had researched what they were because you can't really hear the vocals over the beat. But as soon as I read them I could understand them when I played the track.
To be loved...
This Track is the best on this album by far... the vocals are amazing. It's one that you have to hum along too no matter what. When I first heard this song the chorus blew me away I was so amazed at the vocals. They put a superb beat to this song and it fit in perfectly and it's a track you can listen to repeatedly.
This track has an awesome bass line which you can (im so happy to say) hear (well I know I can) the first time I heard this song I heard my foot tapping along to the beat and my head nodding to the rhythm I was so amazed because that is technically multitasking and I can't multitask that well to be honest. Superb lyrics and mind-blowing vocals in this track I have to say.
The world around you
Awesome guitar picking at the start and the riff is ace! Again you can hear the bass line in this but only just, It Is flawless I loved it. Vocals are brilliant too I think that the lead singer has an amazing voice.
This is quite a slow song to begin with but after like a minuet it speeds up a little bit and the electric guitar comes in. I really like this song I like the way its set out its slow for the verses and fast(ish) for the chorus.
I devise my own demise
This is a track that I found a little messy for the first few seconds but after that it sorted itself out. I thought the guitar rhythm was great aswell as the beat and the vocals were absolutely tremendous.
Time is running out
The start of this song caught my attention simply because the vocals were really, really excellent. When I listened to it the first time I didn't take any notice of the rhythm or beat and for me that is a little strange all I wanted to was listen to the vocals. But after I listened to it again and took notice of the beat, tempo e.c.t. and they were all at a great speed it just made the song like a masterpiece.
What do you do?
The first line of this track was really uplifting for me I love the way it is sung same as the rest of the track but its just that one line it made me stop what I was doing and stare at my stereo (don't have a clue why) for like 5 minuets and I cant even remember what I thought about.
My heart is a fist
The start of this song made me get Goosebumps because it made that type of sound you hear when some one scrapes their nails off a blackboard and I really hate that so when that stopped I was so glad. Perfect lyrics for this song and they fit into the beat which is amazing I love it when I listen to a song and the vocals are merged with the beat.
No more secrets
Great drumming at the start of this track it really gets your foot tapping and when the guitar riff comes in it gets better because it comes in just before the vocals (which are again merged with the beat) and listening to the lyrics It sounded amazing I had decided that this was my second favorite track on this album after 'to be loved...'
This is an awesome song it is quite slow but not quiet and the vocals are sung brilliantly it defiantly had my head bobbing along to the beat. I also found the guitar riffs in this song quite good too.
Nice light(ish) beat to this track and the vocals are merged to it so that's good lyrics are ace and a nice rhythm I always like a song with a nice rhythm.
Roses on my grave
Eerie starting you can hear violins and then Jacoby starts to sing and its amazing the way he sings the lyrics are amazing. I like the fact that they had big chimes in this track. I would really love to hear this song live I think it would be tremendous.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 ...To Be Loved
4 The World Around You
6 I Devise My Own Demise
7 Time Is Running Out
8 What Do You Do?
9 My Heart Is A Fist
10 No More Secrets
12 The Fire
13 Roses On My Grave