I thought it was time to finally add a review which was more nostalgic towards my early teens’ whilst also commenting on the state of the current influx of state-side rock music which floods the mainstream channels at the moment.
The ‘Infest’ album by Papa Roach, is the best example of state-side rock done right. It characterizes everything people want in the genre without selling out or becoming cheesy… *cough* State Champs *cough*…
It is a collection of anthems made to inspire a generation of misfits and angry school kids into realising that it’s okay to be angry and okay to kick over a couple stop signs. From start to finish the record is made up of memorable hits that would be recognisable to many being brought up in this period regardless of their particular music taste. Name someone who doesn’t know the entirety of the lyrics to ‘Last Resort’ and I will eat the biggest shoe I own (hardly a competition when you only have one size). Sure it’s not the meticulously crafted masterpieces of CHON that breaks barriers and rearranges boundaries, or the innovatively incredible works of Animals as Leaders that leave any musicians scratching their head thinking ‘how is that biologically possible?’, but it is fun for all and basically the Rambo of the music genre… It might seem corny now but my god is it drenched in bad-assery.
The title track kicks off the album with an aggressive, nu-metal inspired hit that really gets the knuckles clenched. Whether you’re slapping in Tony Hawks Pro Skater on the Playstation or you’re playing Fifa Street with your buddies, this song will immediately launch you into the mindset of tenaciousness wanting to hurt everything you see, foul everyone who’s near and ruin the fun for everyone else; it’s the grand theft auto of music. The vocals are gruff yet melodic, the bass gets the pulse vibrating with each pluck, the guitar screeches at you like a victim in a slasher flick and the drums get you pumped for taking down some b******!
Then to follow that up… Well how can you follow that up without losing momentum? I guess you could put on the most hummed song in history that has caused more outbursts of emo-ism than any other object or being in time itself? Yeah that will do… ‘Last Resort’ bangs on and then s*** is thrown out of the window and a mosh pit in your mind proceeds and by god you know you aren’t stopping it.
‘Broken Home’ then offers a bit of variation which is entirely necessary I believe for every third track on a CD. It shows a bit more personal lyrics and a further melodic vocal hook that is haunting yet sstill packed full of angst. The tempo doesn’t let up however and by this time you’re almost exhausted from fist bumping too much but the p***** off teen in you fights on.
‘Dead Cell’ and ‘Between Angels And Insects’ arrive next only pushing the boat further into stormy seas. Adding just about enough differentiation to be recognisable whilst also not hurting the recipe that works well for it. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, but they don’t have to.
However, this is where I think the album does begin to suffer the genres down side; repetition. I mean it’s not immediately noticeable to any fan and it’s not obvious to many but in all honesty not many people remember the rest of the tracks off of the album. Every album needs some fillers and any musician that denies that is a liar, these are those. A clever marketing ploy however to put them on the second half of the disc after so many favorites since it means the listener is already satisfied enough to not care to deeply the way the album goes, that’s a lot of trust put into the first few tracks. It’s not bad, it’s not amazing either, it’s meh.
It does however give me the chance to quickly comment on the state-side genre before I make a commentary blog on the section as a whole. Why is it that it’s been upwards of ten years since the last truly great college rock album has come out? Have the kids lost their inner angst or is there not enough encouragement in the outcasts anymore? All I know is that there is no comparison between All Time Low and the current figure heads of the genre, with the golden oldies of Papa Roach, Deftones, Alien Ant Farm etc.
8/10 – Although from a personal point of view I’d have no issue giving it a 9, I have to look at it from a music fans perspective and not a nostalgic college rock enthusiast. Hugely memorable hits on possibly one of the most iconic to albums of the 21st century; just with a couple of hiccups towards the end.