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Papa Roach - Infest Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 April 2000
Infest, Dreamworks Records
| Performance 8 | Sound 8 |

Image Alternative metal-meets-hip-hop groups such as the Rage Against the Machine, Korn, and Limp Bizkit changed the face of heavy metal music in the ‘90s. Too hard for alternative radio and too alternative for rock stations, these bands struggled to find a place in the world of radio and MTV. The tides have turned. It’s now the norm rather than the exception to hear these bands on the radio or see their videos on primetime MTV.

The members of Papa Roach, from the small Northern California city of Vacaville, grew up listening to these bands as kids and have crafted a sound that never denies their inspiration while attempting to take it another step foreword. With the average age of the group being a mere 21 years old when this album was recorded, Papa Roach is living out a garage band’s ultimate dream come true. What separates Papa Roach from the other young kids rocking out in their parents’ garages is they fact that they understand that to take their music to that next level, a band has to have a certain pop sensibility. Love it or hate it, Limp Bizkit’s song "Nookie" was the catchiest hard song last year, and Papa Roach seems hip to the reality that if a song doesn’t have a hook that people are going to remember, people aren’t going to by the album (or download the MP3).

The first single from Papa Roach’s debut album ‘Infest’ is "Last Resort," which has already been added on playlists in major alternative radio markets such as New York and Los Angeles. Fortunately for Papa Roach, this is not even the best song on the album. "Blood Brothers" and "Revenge" are standout tracks. Their heavy guitars and complex rhythms are intense but are not intense that they overwhelm the listener.

The sound on ‘Infest’ is very tight, clean and well recorded. Jay Baumgarner, owner of NRG Studios in Los Angeles, where the album was tracked and mixed, is quickly making a name for himself in the world of heavy music producers. ‘Infest’ is the best-sounding album on his resume to date. ‘Infest’ has a few lackluster moments, but as a whole the album did not disappoint me at all. Papa Roach has a sound that separates the gap between underground hardcore band and pop music and that is a difficult thing to pull off. Papa Roach does not have an agenda like Rage Against the Machine, but why should they? They are a group of very talented kids who are poised to be the next big thing in hard music and unless they burn out from overexposure, I think we’ll be hearing more good things from Papa Roach.

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