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Papa Roach – Time for Annihilation…On the Record and On the Road

on September 09, 2010, 7:59am
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In the fall of 2000, a Vacaville quartet by the name of Papa Roach broke through the mainstream with the single “Last Resort”.  The debut of Papa Roach came during the commercial peak of angst-ridden, imbecilic nü metal, when Limp Bizkit was rollin’ through TRL with two simultaneous singles, while insipid post-grunge was steadily rising to the inevitable monopolization of modern rock airwaves. This was a dark time for music, indeed. During the past decade, the rap-rocking bands of yesteryear have fallen into total obscurity, while Papa Roach has prevailed. So why has Papa Roach exhibited such longevity, when most of their peers have failed?

Not purely a live album, Time for Annihilation…On the Record and On the Road contains five new songs and is the first band-sanctioned compilation, with the recent greatest hits collection …To Be Loved: The Best of Papa Roach having been released against the band’s wishes by former label Interscope. “Burn” is the first new song on Time for Annihilation, and offers nothing new or remotely entertaining in any sense. Like “Burn”, the grind of the appropriately titled “One Track Mind” follows the same formula of combining radio-friendly pop-rock melodies with the kind of riffs that make Papa Roach metal for people that don’t listen to metal.

Destined to ruin many a sporting event, single “Kick in the Teeth” is a hard rock anthem with straight-forward lyrics about not backing down. A breather from this raucous hard rock trio arrives in the form of a paint-by-numbers, over-emoting power ballad “No Matter What” that is guaranteed to inspire many a collective waving of smartphone lighter applications on future tours. The riffs and wrath of “The Enemy” are reminiscent of the Papa Roach sound and volatility of a decade ago, but without the rapping.

The live portion of Time for Annihilation begins with frontman Jacoby Shaddix pleading with the audience to jump on the title track from Getting Away with Murder, which blatantly borrows from Korn. Papa Roach next dips into The Paramour Sessions with former official WWE theme “…To Be Loved”, yet another predictable hard rocker that reflects the crux of the band. The music of Papa Roach comes across as attempting to be both the soundtrack to fun nights of rocking out and something meaningful, but succeeding at neither. Unfortunately for Papa Roach, every aspect of their clichéd sound has been done before and better for decades, and lyrical content about personal issues, such as the “jet-black heart” of Shaddix, or general aggression are not necessarily thought-provoking, let alone compelling or even emotive.

Although rapping has not been present in the work of Papa Roach since 2002’s lovehatetragedy, an album that is not represented on this live collection, it is songs like “Lifeline” and “Hollywood Whore” that reveal a complete abandonment of nü metal. Instead, these tracks from 2009’s Metamorphosis are a banal homage to the sounds of 80’s Sunset Strip glam metal scene, only without the charm, personality, or talent that made those bands famous. “Between Angels and Insects” and “Last Resort” are the only ventures into rap-rock on Time for Annihilation, and if these two songs are relics of a bygone era and a musical bump in the road, everything else signifies trends that will seemingly never die. At the end of “Last Resort”, Shaddix urges the crowd to chant the band’s name, bringing a flood of images of stage antics as embarrassing and unimaginative as the music they accompany.

Time for Annihilation is a testament to the success of a band formerly pegged as a one-hit wonder at changing along with the times and fitting in with whatever trends in music are popular with the disaffected youth at the moment. In the case of Papa Roach, the idea of a live-studio hybrid album proves more intriguing in theory than in reality and amounts to nothing more than an EP attached to a short live album. While both the new songs and the live versions of old favorites will satisfy Papa Roach fans, Time for Annihilation should be avoided by everyone else.

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