Heavy evergreens deliver an entertaining new album…

ClashMusic

08 · 04 · 2022

11 albums in, Papa Roach are showing no signs of slowing down. Rather than clinging to the past, ‘Ego Trip’ is a guided tour through the ever-shifting landscape of rock; from rapcore to anthemic pop-rock, Papa Roach are adapting their signature rap-metal charm and giving it a modern twist. This is an album full of life, eager to experiment with new sounds as much as possible. It’s unpredictable, it’s exciting, and it’s a sign that Papa Roach have definitely not lost their spark.

What is immediately evident about ‘Ego Trip’ is how inspired it feels. While 2019’s ‘Who Do You Trust?’ sometimes played it safe, ‘Ego Trip’ is constantly pushing itself. Papa Roach have a solid history of splicing together different textures, and this release pushes this practice more than ever. A clear example is FEVER 333/Sueco feature ‘Swerve’; serving as a thick dose of sharp rap, the track then melds in the dark, deep vocals of TikTok trap-metalist Sueco – all while incorporating a playful, bouncy bit of brass, trumpets bursting through the foundation of the track.

This embracing of modernity doesn’t mean Papa Roach have left their old sound behind, however. Certain tracks embrace a fiercely nostalgic sound; ‘Always Wandering’ is a burst of pop-punk-y goodness, while ‘Cut The Line’s calls of “C-C-C-CUT THE LINE’ feels like it’s taken straight from the 2000s. ‘No Apologies’ in particular is a stand-out nostalgia tune, an emo-tinged banger that we all would have all cried along to in our bedrooms back in the day.

While it can be glorious, this ambitious melding of old and new textures can occasionally be frustrating. You do find yourself wondering what tracks might have been without the constant gear-shifts. Tracks like ‘Stand Up’ move from prowling, pulsing verses into much brighter, lighter choruses – and, while still great, you can’t help but imagine what it would have been like without the night and day verse and chorus pairing.

But it is undeniable that this playful bouncing between genres makes ‘Ego Trip’ incredibly exciting. One moment you’re screeching along to the deliciously fun title-track, with its infectious Offsprings-y guitar riffs, before delving into the soft, soaring alt-metal anthem ‘Unglued’, only to then be thrown into the stripped back, acoustic ‘Leave A Light On’. There’s no telling what’s around the corner – and, whatever the sound, there’s always a tangible, barely contained energy rumbling beneath the surface.

Overall, ‘Ego Trip’ is proof that Papa Roach still have their finger on the beating pulse of heavy music. They’ve pushed boundaries in the past, and they’re still dead-set on being as bold as ever. This release is proof that, after all these years, the band’s passion still burns bright as ever.

7/10

Words: Emily Swingle

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