Papa Roach

Talk about trying to leave the past behind. For his band's recent album Lovehatetragedy, Papa Roach's vocalist, until recently known as Coby Dick, reverted to the name Jacoby Shaddix. In addition to sounding cooler than his stage name, that just happens to be what's on his birth certificate. Ditching the nom-de-rock is no mere sleight of handle either; the name change is also indicative of a change in style for Shaddix's (former) rap-metal band.

Gone is the nü-metal of yore (yes, Y2K is now officially yore) in favor of a more old-school punk/metal approach. Check out the chorus of the opening cut with the cumbersome title "M-80 (Explosive Energy Movement)", and there you'll find the kind of energy, conviction and multiple chord layering that only a Bad Religion could muster. True, Papa Roach still has plenty of political, intellectual and testicular ground to cover in order to be mentioned less uneasily in the same sentence as BR, but when Shaddix sings, "I'm knee-deep in our blood only 'cause I got rock and roll," he really means it, whatever the hell it is. And when guitarist Jerry Horton and bassist Tobin Esperance kick it out on the intro to "Walking Through Barbed Wire," you fully expect Greg Graffin to come in screaming some heavy dissertation about Dubya's planned invasion of Iraq instead of Shaddix ranting about his "fucking dog dying," as Casey Kasem might put it. But if Shaddix can press as far into new lyrical frontiers on Papa Roach's next album as his band progressed for Lovehatetragedy, Papa Roach and Bad Religion might just find themselves compared to each other more often.

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