It’s hard to believe that we have been living with the Infestation for over twenty years. Back when Papa Roach came on to the scene with their debut they were praised as giants in the era of nu-metal/rap rock (or whatever post 2000 genre you want to define them as). While they gained/retained traction with their subsequent releases in 2002 (lovehatetragedy) and 2004 (Getting Away With Murder) it seemed that their time in the lime light had come and gone. In the time since, Papa Roach has released 7 (yes, 7) albums not including this year’s aptly titled Ego Trip.
The band released a series of singles leading up to the April 8th release. The fact is that if you listen to “mainstream rock radio” or Octane through SiriusXM you’ve probably heard said singles, but failed to retain them. This isn’t saying that they are bad, it’s just that they aren’t memorable. With 5 singles being released prior to the full album you would hope that there would be something with some “meat.” Sadly, each single released seemed to be formulaic at best with each of them being “radio friendly” and barely exceeding a runtime of more than 3 minutes each.
Admittedly, when I first heard the second single, “Kill the Noise” it piqued my interest, but it ended up being just another earworm with an anthemic twist. Beyond that I had actually forgotten that a new album was even coming (thought it had come and gone). However, it caught my attention again right before it’s full release. On occasion I spend a lengthy amount of time in my car (this is the only reason I still have SiriusXM). The album’s release day happened to be one of those days and they had Jacoby on Octane sharing some of his thoughts and insights about the album and/or specific songs and the process behind writing them. This is the kind of thing that interests me, the whole creative process.
Out of the whole 14 track album only a singular song stood out and really clicked for me. It’s one of the later tracks on the album and is sure to get lost in the rest of the fluff, but it just might be my favorite Papa Roach track ever. “Killing Time” should have been released as a single. Jacoby gives so much to this track that it makes me wonder what the rest of the album could/would have been had he and the rest of the band given it the same approach as this singular track. Jacoby speaks of this track and how during the pandemic he had to do something because just sitting and not knowing when or if the band would be able to tour again. What birthed from these feelings was “Killing Time.” What gives the track so much depth and personality is his vocal approach. At parts (the “raps”) it has a bit of a Kendrick Lamar feel while the chorus is eerily reminiscent of the late Chester Bennington (something intentionally done by Shaddix). It’s a raw track with with some high energy that shows what Shaddix is truly capable of.
However, it is not enough energy to carry the whole album. If you’re a longtime fan of Papa Roach you will probably find something to like on the album, but as previously stated, it is formulaic at best and doesn’t break any new ground for the band musically or creatively.
Ego Trip is available now for purchase or streaming on all major platforms.