Papa Roach - Time for Annihilation album review

Eleven Seven Music

by Laurie Lonsdale

You’ll be hard pressed to get me to say too much in the negative realm when it comes to California hard rockers Papa Roach. Though admittedly I was only a casual listener of the band’s early music, they managed to win my attention and respect three summers ago when they opened for Motley Crue on the first Cruefest tour.  Roach’s sound and take-no-prisoners approach proved to be a hard act to follow, and the fireball energy of front man Jacoby Shaddix made him absolutely mesmerizing to watch.  Since then I have made a point of requesting to cover all their live shows and new releases, and their seventh album to date, Time for Annihilation, was no different.

Annihilation sees the band jump from Interscope Records to Eleven Seven Music, a move that was bound to happen considering the independent label formed from 10th Street Entertainment, which just happens to house the band’s management.  Clearly Roach is in good company, given that the multi-faceted 10th Street also encompasses Motley Crue, Buckcherry, Drowning Pool, Nikki Sixx’s Sixx AM, Blondie, and a host of others.   

But just because the label is different, doesn’t mean the music is.  As a matter of fact, nine tracks are live versions of some of the band’s biggest hits to date.  These would include “Last Resort” and “Between Angels and Insects” from their 2000 release titled Infest, “Scars” and “Getting Away with Murder” from the 2004 release of the same name, “To Be Loved”, “Forever”, and “Time is Running Out” from their 2006 album The Paramour Sessions, as well as “Lifeline” and “Hollywood Whore”, from Metamorphosis released in March of 2009.  Its too bad “The Addict” and “I Almost Told You that I Loved You” weren’t included among these. Nevertheless, the sound on the live tracks is excellent, and the listener can undeniably hear the enthusiasm and energy in Shaddix’s voice.  His lyrical delivery and the way in which he addresses the audience is typical of his live performance, and a testament to the fact that he loves being on stage.

In spite of this, Time for Annihilation – named for the band’s chant before going on stage – isn’t a live album, per se. There are also five brand new tracks to please fans, including “Kick in the Teeth”, the single currently receiving air and video play, in addition to being tried out on live audiences.  The new material doesn’t stray far from the type of melodic hard rock that Roach has consistently delivered since The Paramour Sessions, and all five new songs (Burn, One Track Mind, Kick in the Teeth, No Matter What, and Enemy) are reasonably solid.  At times the lyrical content strikes me as a bit simplistic and pedestrian, but it doesn’t make the songs any less effective, particularly for the genre. The catchy hooks and guitar-driven power manage to produce a rock your body, sing-along quality that one would expect from Papa Roach.  For me, “Burn” comes off as a standout.

The live tracks and new studio material together seem like a bit of an odd coupling.  It’s not really a “Best Of” offering, it’s not fully live, and it’s not an EP.  Apparently, it’s just half-and-half - what its not is half-assed.  It works.