Since they broke through in 2000 with nu metal megahit Last Resort, Papa Roach have continued to surprise us. In that time, they’ve consistently tested boundaries, transitioning from rap-metal to a diverse, arena-eyeballing sound that pulls from all corners of the musical spectrum. Here are their albums, ranked in order of greatness.
11. Old Friends From Young Years (1997)
Before they became nu metal superstars, Papa Roach released their raw, Deftones-indebted debut album, which was famously funded by a loan from a drug dealer. Punky and far more angular than any of their later material, while it’s undeniably and unsurprisingly wet behind the ears, even back then the hunger and potential of tracks like Orange Drive Palms was impossible to miss.
10. Metamorphosis (2009)
The band’s sixth album found them in a strange place. Despite its title, musically, Metamorphosis contained little of the risk taking and sonic evolution Papa Roach would explore over the next decade, while lacking the anthemic songwriting on which the band had made their name. Furthermore, the album’s most prominent song, Hollywood Whore, has aged about as well as its title suggests. Their most flat and forgettable effort.
9. Who Do You Trust? (2019)
Who Do You Trust? knows exactly what it wants to be but doesn’t quite nail the execution. Just like F.E.A.R and Crooked Teeth before it, the band’s tenth album draws from hip hop, metal and electronica, but with mixed results. There are triumphs here – The Ending combines elastic riffs with vintage synthesisers, the propulsive Renegade Music nods its cap to Rage Against The Machine with an incendiary “MOTHERFUCKERRRRR!” and the a balls-to-the-wall punk assault of I Suffer Well is the most fired up the band have sounded in years - but it’s all weighed down with a disappointing amount of filler.
8. F.E.A.R (2015)
F.E.A.R was the album that saw the band pull more pop and electronic influences into the mix, although arguably they hadn’t quite figured out how to make it all work together yet. That said, Papa Roach have made few albums that don’t contain at least one banger, and this is no exception, with opener Face Everything And Rise and Gravity bubbling with trademark we-can-take-on-the-world exuberance. Taken as a whole though, F.E.A.R saw the band still feeling their way around a new sound and as such, feels like a steppingstone in their discography.
7. The Connection (2012)
The genre-mashing that has defined Papa Roach’s output over the last decade can all be traced back to The Connection. This was the album where the band started to experiment with their sound, injecting a heavy electronic influence to the fore on Where Did The Angels Go and Silence Is The Enemy. It resulted in an intriguing new step forward, let down by the fact The Connection is front heavy, putting its best songs upfront and running out of steam by the end.
6. Crooked Teeth (2017)
Continuing their insistence to evolve with each album, Crooked Teeth was a more successful attempt than its predecessor, F.E.A.R, to mould pop, hip-hop, rock and electronic influences into one concerted sound. A lot of the more experimental moments here hit the mark. Born For Greatness is a brass-infected pop anthem that shouldn’t work but totally does, while Periscope and Help prove the band could pack plenty of emotional weight without tipping over into angst. The moment the band started to wrap their head around their musical direction and make it their own.
5. Lovehatetragedy (2002)
Despite being dismissed by critics on its release and representing a step backwards commercially from the juggernaut success of breakthrough, Infest, Lovehatetragedy is a much better album than it was initially given credit for. At the time of its release, nu metal was still rising high but, unhappy with being pigeonholed and lumped together with bands like Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park, the band’s third album was an attempt to shake up the formula. Alongside nu metal-tinged bangers She Loves Me Not and Life Is A Bullet, tracks like M-80 (Explosive Energy Movement) and Time And Time Again looked to side-step the scene, embracing a hard rock edge.
4. The Paramour Sessions (2006)
While Papa Roach had consistently tweaked their formula since 2000’s Infest, The Paramour Sessions represented the first real sonic volte face of their career. Written over six months in the Paramour Mansion in Los Angeles and inspired by bands like Motley Crue and Queen, the band’s fifth record is an outlandish, over-the-top rock record, that drips with excess. The album’s first anthemic single, ... To Be Loved captured the vibe with its irrepressible, lung-swelling chorus and was picked up by WWE who used it for three years as the theme tune for flagship show Monday Night Raw. It was solid proof for the band that there could be life after nu metal.
3. Getting Away With Murder (2004)
By the time Papa Roach went into the studio to write their fourth album, nu metal was dead. Unwilling to go down with the sinking ship, the band knew they needed to shake things up and while the spirit of nu metal still lives on in the crunchy riffs of Not Listening, Getting Away With Murder leans largely on anthemic alt rock. The result was a surprisingly consistent album that silenced the naysayers and focused on melody, rather than angst. Eschewing the rapping of previous records, it was also the release that established vocalist Jacoby Shaddix as a truly great modern rock singer with power ballad Scars. “It was a turning point for our band,” Jacoby would tell us later. “Especially with a song like Scars. You listen to that song, and you don’t think of nu metal. You think, ‘Fuck that’s a great song!’”
2. Ego Trip (2022)
Who would have thought in 2000 that Papa Roach would still be here almost three decades after their formation, eleven studio albums deep and making some of the strongest material of their career? Recorded over the pandemic, Ego Trip bursts with pent up energy. And whereas their genre-mashing approach was found to be lacking on previous releases, this time they nail it completely. From the punchy can’t-hold-me-down bounce of Kill The Noise, to the hip-hop infused Swerve, a collab with Fever 333’s Jason Aalon Butler and rapper Sueco, to No Apologies, Jacoby’s heartfelt message of forgiveness to his once absent father, Ego Trip delivers on a sonic and emotional level.
1. Infest (2000)
It might not be their most diverse piece of work, but Infest is undoubtedly Papa Roach’s finest moment. On its release in 2000, the album pushed them to the forefront of the nu metal movement, spawning one of the genre’s most enduring songs, Last Resort, a song which refuses to fade away – even getting a viral revamp last year on Tik Tok. Since its release, the band have successfully shrugged off their nu metal tag, but there’s no doubt that powerhouses like Between Angels And Insects, Broken Home and Dead Cell helped to secure the band’s longevity, still featuring consistently in their live sets. The Papa Roach we know today has evolved into a very different band, but with Infest they captured the zeitgeist in way they never have since and probably never will again.