After abandoning their Nu metal roots on 2004's Getting Away With Murder, Papa Roach has spent the last decade defining themselves as a bonafide rock band: embracing thunderous guitars and quite literally dropping the beats. After several albums, the group were conscious of musically boxing themselves in, so another evolution was necessary. 2017's Crooked Teeth hints at the direction they would be heading and Who Do You Trust? is the fruition of that groundwork.
It's perhaps unsurprising that Elevate was chosen as the lead track for the album as it connects the two albums regarding style and tone. The guitars are still there, with an added Imagine Dragons electro-rock chorus but also the free-styling MC of Jacoby Shaddix which has become a defining part of the Papa Roach sound over the last two decades. The track teases with a more uplifting vibe to the album rather than merely focusing on the unbridled angst that sends mosh pits into a frenzy. This track is not alone in its sunshine moments; Come Around deals with depression honestly and maturely, allowing allows them to explore their vulnerability. These upbeat major chord moments are in the midsection of the album, but the band are mindful of easing the listener into the daylight, by taking them through the darkness first.
The album opener The Ending typifies the fusion of the sounds they have been working with to carve their new path but it's the album's fiercely defiant anthem, Renegade Music, that shows Papa Roach at the height of their powers. Although the record may be a shift from what fans have been used to, this track is a reminder of the exhilarating music that the band are known for and they've lost none of that drama. Shaddix asks at the end of the track 'are you ready for some new shit? This is Renegade Music.' You get the feeling this is a rhetorical question, yet the message here is that Roach's music is still a place for those who want to buck the mainstream musical system.
If it all feels a little chaotic, it's supposed to. By the band's own admission it's an album of extremes, and everything does feel that it's been heightened. The percussion is heavier and draws on the teeth-rattling bass of hip hop, the guitars growl with a ferocity you don't see outside of thrash metal and all the time the cornerstone of the album is Shaddix's commanding presence. His performance on the album's closing tracks Maniac, and Better Than Life show the full range of his skill as a vocalist.
They've been working up to being more adventurous for some time, but with their tenth album, Papa Roach has finally decided to run with it and make a record that feels honest and unchained.
Groupie rating 4/5