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Papa Roach – The Connection [Review]

Papa Roach – The Connection
(2012, Eleven Seven Music)

1. “Engage”
2. “Still Swingin'”
3. “Where Did the Angels Go?”
4. “Silence is the Enemy”
5. “Before I Die”
6. “Wish You Never Met Me”
7. “Give Me Back My Life”
8. “Breathe You In”
9. “Leader of the Broken Hearts”
10. “Not That Beautiful”
11. “Walking Dead”
12. “Won’t Let Up”
13. “As Far as I Remember”

Band:
Jacoby Shaddix – Vocals
Jerry Horton – Guitar
Tobin Esperance – Bass
Tony Palermo – Drums

Producer: James Michael & John Feldmann

When Papa Roach crashed onto the scene with their nu-metal bandwagon Infest album, who would’ve thought they’d still be around 12 years later releasing new music? The Connection is the band’s 7th studio album and I have to admit Papa Roach have had quite a respectful career with hit singles, gold & platinum albums and energetic live shows.

The Connection is an appropriate album because even though the band has gone through changes in sound and style over the years (heck, the last album was called Metamorphosis) on this release they attempt to bring it all together. At various times, the band’s brand of rock has been alternative metal, nu metal, electronic rock, rock/pop, rap metal and even ’80s melodic hard rock. Papa Roach isn’t going for a cohesive sound on this album and I mean that in a good way. The band is bringing everything they’ve brought to the table in the past.

“Still Swingin'” is a perfect anthemic example of what Papa Roach has sounded like over the last few releases while “Where Did the Angels Go?” brings back the band’s nu metal/rap influences. “Before I Die” is pure radio ready infectious rock/pop ballad that will probably be released as a single.

Of course, some of the lyrics are overly dramatic and emo and just look at some of the song titles: “Before I Die”, “Wish You Never Met Me”, “Leader of the Broken Hearts”, etc. It’s like a gloomy 15 year old came up with this stuff. But for the most part, Papa Roach knows how to write a catchy melody and chorus.

I think this album compares favorably to the band’s previous efforts. There’s a bit of everything for everyone.

Highlights: “Still Swingin'”, “Where Did the Angels Go?”, “Silence Is The Enemy”, “Before I Die”, “Wish You Never Met Me”, “Walking Dead”

www.paparoach.com
www.facebook.com/paparoach

Buy the album at Amazon.com

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE 2 – Music From and Inspired By

Mission: Impossible 2 – Music From and Inspired By (2000, Hollywood Records)

1. “Take a Look Around” – Limp Bizkit … 5:20
2. “I Disappear” – Metallica … 4:26
3. “Scum of the Earth” – Rob Zombie … 2:55
4. “They Came In” – Butthole Surfers … 4:42
5. “Rocket Science” – The Pimps … 3:30
6. “Have a Cigar” – Foo Fighters & Brian May … 4:02
7. “Mission 2000” – Chris Cornell … 3:42
8. “Goin’ Down” – Godsmack … 3:23
9. “What ‘Chu Lookin’ At?” – Uncle Kracker … 5:11
10. “Backwards” – Apartment 26 … 3:09
11. “Karma” – Diffuser … 3:16
12. “Alone” – Buckcherry …3:23
13. “Immune” – Tinfed … 3:49
14. “My Kinda Scene” – Powderfinger … 4:26
15. “Carnival” – Tori Amos … 4:18
16. “Nyah” – Hans Zimmer & Heitor Pereira … 3:32

Ordered this one online for dirt cheap all because I wanted the Metallica and Buckcherry songs that were exclusive to this album.

A number of singles were released from this album: Limp Bizkit’s “Take a Look Around” (a rap-metal reworking of the Mission: Impossible theme), “I Disappear” and the Foo Fighters/Brian May cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar” spring to mind. The local radio stations seemed to be all over the Limp Bizkit single (it was 2000, after all, and rap-metal was all the rage) and “I Disappear” received substantial play as well.

I love “I Disappear”. I think it’s one of Metallica’s best songs. Sure it’s not heavy metal but it’s a great hard rock tune and whenever I heard it on the radio I felt compelled to drive faster. Maybe the music video of James Hetfield speeding around had something to do with that!

Once again showing myself becoming ever more the completist, Buckcherry’s “Alone” is what truly made me decide to buy this album. I didn’t even realize they were on this soundtrack until recently and the song is exclusive to this soundtrack so I had to own this. It’s a pretty good tune, not a career highlight for the band, but I like it and it’s a lot better than most of the songs here.

As you can tell by looking at the artists involved, this is mostly an alternative rock/metal album with most acts turning in the usual generic songs that has come to be expected from soundtracks. Chris Cornell’s “Mission 2000” is decent and despite the title, it’s not some type of remix or variation on the M:I theme — it’s a new, harder version of the song “Mission” which was on his excellent Euphoria Morning solo debut from the year previous.

To be honest, most of this soundtrack is garbage but I only spent a few bucks and got out of it what I expected to get out of it so I guess it’s not a total loss.

Highlights: “I Disappear”, “Have a Cigar”, “Mission 2000”, “Alone”

SALIVA – Back Into Your System

Saliva – Back Into Your System (2002, Island Records)

1. “Superstar II” … 3:21
2. “Weight of the World” … 4:28
3. “Always” … 3:51
4. “Back into Your System” … 4:31
5. “All Because of You” … 4:42
6. “Raise Up” … 3:45
7. “Separated Self” … 4:01
8. “Rest In Pieces” … 3:46
9. “Storm” … 4:21
10. “Holdin On” … 4:21
11. “Pride” … 2:53
12. “Famous Monsters” … 4:43

Band:
Josey Scott – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion
Wayne Swinny – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Chris D’Abaldo – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dave Novotny – Bass, Backing Vocals
Paul Crosby – Drums

Produced by: Bob Marlette

Back Into Your System is the band’s follow-up to their multi-platinum major label debut Every Six Seconds. It’s a definite step in the right direction as the band sheds a bit of their nu metal/rap-metal skin (not totally though) and decides to employ a more straight forward hard rock sound.

There were a few songs I liked from their debut, but overall, it was a mixed bag because it was as if the band couldn’t decide if they were rap-metal act or southern rock act. I briefly dabbled in rap-metal, but decided it wasn’t for me, so I initially had zero interest in hearing what Saliva had to offer in 2002.

I can remember it like it was yesterday though… my alarm went off one morning and the radio was playing I song I easily deduced was called “Rest In Pieces” and it stuck in my head all day, so as soon as I got home, I hit the internet and was surprised to discover it was Saliva. “Rest In Pieces” has become my favorite Saliva song and I was amazed they can up with such as catchy tune, but then I found out that Nikki Sixx & Sixx:AM lead singer James Michael wrote it. No wonder it was so good! Nikki Sixx still writes great radio ready hard rock songs. Unfortunately, the single didn’t chart very high but on the success of the lead single “Always”, the album went Gold.

All told, this is a solid effort (though there is room for improvement) that sees the band moving past their nu-metal beginnings and turning into a good hard rock band.

Highlights: “Weight of the World”, “Always”, “Raise Up”, “Rest In Pieces”, “Storm”, “Famous Monsters”

Lowlights: “Superstar II”. I generally think it’s a bad idea to do such a direct sequel to one of your previous songs in terms of title and sound (theme is okay), but not only did the band manage to copy the original “Superstar”, they also ripped off another song of theirs — “Click Click Boom”! A two’fer!

www.saliva.com
www.myspace.com/saliva

SALIVA – Every Six Seconds

Saliva – Every Six Seconds (2001, Def Jam/Island Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Superstar” … 4:03
2. “Musta Been Wrong” … 3:33
3. “Click Click Boom” … 4:12
4. “Your Disease” … 4:00
5. “After Me” … 3:52
6. “Greater Than/Less Than” … 4:50
7. “Lackluster” … 5:12
8. “Faultline” … 3:49
9. “Beg” … 3:40
10. “Hollywood” … 3:50
11. “Doperide” … 3:26
12. “My Goodbyes” … 6:29

Band:
Josey Scott – Vocals
Wayne Swinny – Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin, Steel Guitar
Chris D’abaldo – Guitar
Dave Novotny – Bass
Paul Crosby – Drums

Produced by: Bob Marlette

Saliva, I find, is like a lot of new (nu?) metal/hard rock bands… More filler than killer. This isn’t the only Saliva album I own and while I think the singles they release range from decent to good, I’ve always been disappointed after buying one of their albums.

Every Six Seconds is easily their worst outing though. They burst onto the scene in the middle of the nu metal & rap metal craze and fit right in. And that’s NOT a compliment. But…  I will say they were a bit more melodic and old school hard rock than most bands of that time were. That would be a side of the band that would be further explored in future outings. Conveniently, they did that  just as the rap metal scene was fizzling out.

Highlights: “Superstar”, “Click Click Boom”, “Your Disease”, “After Me”, “Greater Than/Less Than”

www.saliva.com
www.myspace.com/saliva

ALICE COOPER – Dirty Diamonds

Alice Cooper – Dirty Diamonds (2005, New West Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Woman Of Mass Distraction” … 4:00
2. “Perfect” … 3:30
3. “You Make Me Wanna” … 3:31
4. “Dirty Diamonds” … 4:03
5. “The Saga Of Jesse Jane” … 4:16
6. “Sunset Babies (All Got Rabies)” … 3:28
7. “Pretty Ballerina” … 3:02
8. “Run Down The Devil” … 3:29
9. “Steal That Car” … 3:17
10. “Six Hours” … 3:25
11. “Your Own Worst Enemy” … 2:15
12. “Zombie Dance” … 4:23
BONUS TRACK
13. “Stand” [w/ Xzibit] … 4:05

Band:
Alice Cooper – Vocals, Harmonica
Ryan Roxie – Guitar
Damon Johnson – Guitar
Chuck Garric – Bass
Tommy Clufetos – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Xzibit – Rap on “Stand”

Produced by: Steve Lindsey

God bless Alice. He keeps crankin’ ’em out on a steady basis and it’s always a solid showing. “Solid” is definitely the word here as this is a continuation of the more garage rock “back to roots” effort that was 2002’s The Eyes of Alice Cooper. There are a few more curve balls tossed in this time though.

I’ve made it no secret that I’m not a fan of garage rock, even if it is part of Alice’s roots. Eyes, this album and 2008’s Along Came a Spider are pretty much along the same vein and while all are good, I don’t find them to be amongst his best albums and each one took me some time to get into (The Eyes of Alice Cooper being the best of the bunch, IMO).

Dirty Diamonds particularly is loaded with filler, though there are some classic Alice moments such as the rockin’ “Dirty Diamonds” (a song I swore would be awesome if done live with a gangster/thief set up, and sure enough, Alice did just that) and the trademark Alice humor with the Johnny Cash-impersonation “The Saga of Jesse Jane”.

“Stand” is a “bonus track” and really seems out of place here sound like a much more modern rap rock song and featuring rapper Xzibit. It was originally released on the 2004 Olympics soundtrack. I quite like it though. Just doesn’t fit the sound of the rest of the album and it’s inclusion was an obvious attempt to get a few more sales (from hip hop, fans?).

Highlights: “Woman of Mass Distraction”, “Perfect”, “Dirty Diamonds”, “The Saga of Jesse Jane”, “Pretty Ballerina”, “Stand”

www.alicecooper.com
www.myspace.com/officialalicecooper

END OF DAYS – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

End of Days – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Clean Version] (1999, Interscope Records)

Track listing:
1. “Camel Song” performed by Korn … 4:22
2. “So Long” performed by Everlast … 5:00
3. “Slow” performed by Professional Murder Music … 3:58
4. “Crushed” performed by Limp Bizkit … 3:24
5. “Oh My God” performed by Guns N’ Roses … 3:40
6. “Poison” performed by The Prodigy … 6:15
7. “Superbeast (Girl On A Motorcycle mix)” performed by Rob Zombie … 3:52
8. “Bad Influence” performed by Eminem … 3:40
9. “Nobody’s Real” performed by Powerman 5000 … 2:54
10. “I Wish I Had” performed by Stroke … 6:34
11. “Sugar Kane” performed by Sonic Youth … 5:58
12. “Wrong Way” performed by Creed … 4:20

Soundtracks can be a great (and not so great) snapshot of a certain time in music history when said soundtrack is full of contemporary songs & artists. The soundtrack to 1994’s The Crow perfectly captures the grunge & alternative rock scene and End of Days does a fairly good job of showing what rock music was at the turn of the century: rap metal, nu metal, industrial metal and post-grunge rock.

BUT… While the soundtrack covers it’s musical bases just fine, that doesn’t necessarily mean those genres were any good in the first place and that this album is. Okay, okay… I’ll be honest, there’s actually some solid stuff going on here and not your usual soundtrack throwaway filler.

I could mention that, surprisingly, I like the Korn, Limp Bizkit, Creed and Eminem songs, but that’s not what is important about this album. What IS important is that it holds the only officially released single from the mythical Chinese Democracy from Guns N’ Roses. Of course, I’m talking about “Oh My God” which is a loud, aggressive NIN-inspired song that is just awesome and features Axl at his angriest and most sneering. It’s a far way from “November Rain” or “Nightrain”, but so what? Good is good and I love this song and it’s the only reason I bought the soundtrack. At this time though, if Democracy does ever come out, I think it’s probably best to leave this one off the record due to the time that’s elapsed since it’s original release.

In the end (of days), despite the genres involved, this album actually offers up some really great tunes and to this day, it’s an album I’ll occasionally pull out and listen to. Which is a lot more than I can say about the supposed “comeback” the movie was meant to be for Arnie.

And yes, I have the “Clean” version, picking it up at Wal-Mart and not realizing until later that there was an explicit version.

Highlights: “Crushed”, “Oh My God”, “Superbeast [Girl on a Motorcycle Mix]”, “Bad Influence”, “Nobody’s Real”, “I Wish I Had”

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