Originally created 06/28/02

Banality bugs latest release from Roach

Papa Roach - lovehatetragedy (Dreamworks)

1/2 * out of *****

A glass of warm milk and the soothing sound of mother's voice couldn't induce drowsiness as effectively as lovehatetragedy, the new release by angry-boy metalers Papa Roach.

Over 45 minutes and 13 tracks, the Roach proves remarkably adept at avoiding original thought and raging without having anything in particular to say. Having dropped most of its hip-hop influences, Papa Roach is offering a more straightforward rock record than the 2000 release Infect. But sadly, lovehatetragedy is less an original rock work than a slow crawl through the band's worn-out record collection. Instead of developing a unique rock sound, Papa Roach seems satisfied to offer pitch-perfect adulation to its own rock heroes.

The album opens with M-80 (Explosive Energy Movement), a song obviously intended to showcase the band's "punky" side. What it sounds like is a poor version of a song Bad Religion threw away on charges of lyrical stupidity. From there, the band slides through Black Sabbath sludge (Code of Energy), the mandatory radio-friendly power ballad a la Aerosmith (Decompression Period), even a little cut-rate sci-fi art rock from the Styx/Radiohead/Yes school (Singular Indestructible Droid).

"Walking Through Barbed Wire"

To make matters worse, the songs just aren't very good. Lyrically, they are straight out of Rock Writing 101 filled with charming couplets such as: I would die for you/I would walk through barbed wire. That sounds less like rock poetry than it does a fifth-grade mash note.

Even the album's cover, a baby flashing the heavy metal hand horns, echoes the classic smoking cherub that graced the cover of Van Halen's 1984 album. There is something musically unforgivable in the band's standard operating procedure. It does the world of rock no good to have a band that trots out half-baked imitations of it's musical forbears. Particularly when they aren't very good.

On M-80 lead singer Jacoby Shaddix sings that he's strong and fearless because he has rock 'n' roll. Let me be the first to cast my vote for Mr. Shaddix and company trying out weak and frightened, giving their pedestrian rock a much needed rest.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com.


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