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Papa Roach – “Metamorphosis” (2009) April 8, 2009

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2009, Papa Roach.

Written by Andrew Hart

In 2000 Papa Roach burst onto the scene with Infest, an album that quickly thrust them into the rap-rock revolution.  2002’s Lovehatetragedy was Papa Roach’s way of proving they had staying power.  With 2004’s Getting Away With Murder, the band established their ability to evolve to a more straight rock sound.  In 2006, they put out their most complete work, the addictive and attention-grabbing The Paramour Sessions.  So what does Papa Roach prove with their 2009 release Metamorphosis?  Sometimes, everyone is due for a disappointment.

Don’t get me wrong, Metamorphosis starts off promisingly with “Change or Die” (following a meaningless intro track), a hard rocking battle cry that swings to the beat of “Alive N’ Out of Control” or “Blood (Empty Promises)” before it.  It’s modern Papa Roach at it’s finest, full of overpowering guitar and the hard-edged trademark vocals of Jacoby Shaddix.  It follows up with one of the lead-off singles, the frighteningly catchy “Hollywood Whore,” which lives to throw cheap shots at Paris Hilton or anyone who floats in that same boat.  Aside from Jacoby’s odd cackling of “Don’t let the door hit you where the good lord split you honey,” the track is wonderfully executed, and doesn’t lose much from this cheesy misstep.  Where does Papa Roach go wrong then, after starting off so promisingly?  The simple answer: everywhere else.

“I Almost Told You That I Loved You” is the first sign of imminent danger, it’s written like a Buckcherry b-side without any of the hooks the aforementioned use to tote their signature style of raunchy rock.  Instead, you’re met with mind-numbing, not-even-close-to-standout guitar the entire song, and the chorus couldn’t be less catchy if it was covered in butter sauce.  The other big single “Lifeline” feels very watered down, and while less of a lyrical offender than it’s predecessor, is still very easy to bypass without a second thought.  Had I not already heard the song several times on radio prior to the album’s release, I’d never have taken a moment to step out and listen, aside from a fairly decent riff that carries the song as far as it could possibly hope to.  “Had Enough” has a promising sound but the wheels come off in the chorus, and other songs such as “March Out Of Darkness” and “Into The Light” are simply not noticeable.

It’s clear by this point in the album that Papa Roach has done something wrong.  None of the songs stand out anymore.  There’s no hidden gems on the album like Getting Away With Murder’s “Stop Looking Start Seeing” or “No More Secrets” from Paramour Sessions. Instead, once you surpass the promising beginning, Metamorphosis has literally nothing worth hearing until it’s way too little too late.  The album’s closer “State of Emergency” is a breath of fresh air thanks to it’s simple instrumentation and an explosive chorus that will grip you the very first time you hear it.  I can’t be sure you’ll make it to that point on most listens though, not with boring wannabe ballads like “Nights of Love” or “Carry Me”.

There’s no one to blame but the entirety of Papa Roach for this mess.  Shaddix sounds as good vocally as he ever has, and the instrumentation of the band is roughly the same as it’s been the last few albums.  The songwriting is the biggest thing to call out, as none of the song have the cohesion of previous endeavors, and most feel like jam sessions as opposed to organized music.  There are no hooks to support the relatively carbon copy lyrics, which may have been the only thing holding Papa Roach above the others of the hard rock scene.

It’s hard to say one way or another if Papa Roach’s writing has really gotten worse, or if perhaps their style is finally beginning to wear thin nearly a decade into the careers.  It seems, however, the group needs to pull a page out of this below average album’s playbook.  As Shaddix screams out early in the album, “You’ve gotta change or die,” I can’t help but thinking he was staring into the group’s future.  Simply put, if Papa Roach doesn’t continue their trademark evolutions and settle for what they’ve offered on Metamorphosis, they won’t make it another decade.  They’ll be lucky to make it through another album.

4.5 out of 10 – Download “Change or Die”

Papa Roach is | Jacoby Shaddix – Vocals | Jerry Horton – Guitar, Backing Vocals | Tobin Esperace – Bass, Backing Vocals | Tony Palermo – Drums, Backing Vocals



1. KGGPennington - April 8, 2009

I hate to make the joke, but it’s too easy. Album title: Metamorphosis. Maybe that’s what they doing… from a good band to a crappy one.
(Not that I ever really cared for them…)
Good review, though, solid explanations.

2. rawkfistmusic - April 9, 2009

Did it ever occur to you I was trying to avoid that line? I’m better than that 😀

3. KGGPennington - April 9, 2009

I thought maybe you were, but it was funny! I thought it was, funny. I actually expected you to use it. Fine, whatever. I still have my dignity, sort of.

4. After Christmas - May 5, 2009

Points for being well-written and articulate (seriously, great writing), but I have to disagree.

But. No gems? Really? Did you miss Lifeline? Hollywood Whore?

There are some solid songs on that album – seriously solid. Some, not so much.. But that’s the nature of an album these days. Blame that on the Record Co. for forcing an album out where only a few songs would have been released if it had been up to the band. The suits haven’t caught on yet, don’t take it out on the band.

Second, watch them play live, and, holy shhhht!!!!, they put on a REALLY decent show to boot. The whole band puts a ton of energy out there and it makes you want to jump on stage. I’ve seen some shows and it’s been a long while since I got that vibe from a live band. I consider myself a regular show-goer and I call it “going above and beyond”. 10+ years into their careers, they’ve even gone so far as improved on that factor, energy-wise.

I would pay to see them again. The beauty of iTunes is you can pick out the gems and Papa Roach is still cranking out gems.

5. rawkfistmusic - May 5, 2009

Well, everyone’s gonna have differing views, I’m glad you can enjoy the album as such.

Anyway, thanks for reading and please stick around!

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