Metal Breakdown

MU

The Connection

Papa Roach

Eleven Seven Music

$ 11.80 on amazon.com

Rating: *1/2

Once upon a time, there existed a Californian nu-metal band called Papa Roach, that spawned a legion of fans with their heavy, gritty sounds in tracks like Scars, Last resort and Between angels and insects. Unfortunately, someone seems to have called in a half-way efficient exterminator as the band seems to have lost its spirit and its composition skills, even if it isn't entirely catatonic yet.

There was a lot of speculation prior to the release of The Connection, the band's seventh album. Vocalist Jacoby Shaddix was reportedly suicidal (due to the dissolution of his marriage) during the composition and recording of the album and most fans expected this suffering to translate into some soul-searing, edgy music. However, while we're glad Shaddix is still among us, the album that finally released last month is a maudlin mess.

The band has fallen prey to the latest delusion the music world seems to be suffering from: that the infusion of dubstep and electronic and piano loops into any kind of genre will somehow make it better sounding. Unfortunately, what results is a schmaltzy, generic metal sound with pretensions of being pop. There's not a single really good song in the album, which begins with a gratuitous 50 second intro called Engage and (luckily) ends 48 minutes later with the rather whiny As far as I remember. The highly unoriginal guitar chords, bass line and drum beats are interspersed with the electric metronomes that were popular during the '80s. Indeed, we're surprised that musician and songwriter Rick Astley hasn't contributed to the album. Particularly ghastly are the tracks Where did the angels go and Leader of the broken hearts. While The Connection would probably make an ideal playlist for a bar with pretensions of being a rock-n-roll pub and all-day happy hours, it is best avoided if you actually want to listen to metal music.

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