Papa Roach – Who Do You Trust? (Album Review)

Papa Roach – Who Do You Trust?
Release: January 18th, 2019

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


“We have reached the place where we always wanted to be, creating new and exciting music.”

While bassist Tobin Esperance here is reflecting on 10th album Who Do You Trust?, his words also point to the ethic spanning the band’s more recent music, particularly eighth record F.E.A.R. (2015) and ninth release Crooked Teeth from 2017. Pushing boundaries further, Who Do You Trust? is brimming with some of Papa Roach‘s best qualities – vocalist Jacoby Shaddix‘s poetic yet razor sharp rap hooks, soundscapes that easily transition from being bare to full-bodied, and drumming from Tony Palermo that elevates the tones of its tracks.

Opening the record is the atmospheric intro of ‘The Ending’, before distorted guitar and the rest of the group kick in. Shaddix’s transitions from desolate rapping to soft melodies and screams are simply stunning – they’ll make you believe that this truly is the start of the ending, while you hold onto hope that the ending won’t come.

‘Renegade Music’ – one of the album’s first singles, co-released with ‘Who Do You Trust?’ – shows off some of Palermo’s biggest drumming on the record. Its chorus, with Shaddix screaming, So get down / Everybody everybody get down / Take it to another level right now / No resolution, stand up this is renegade music, already sounds huge, but will go next level in a live setting.

Personal favourite ‘Not The Only One’ brings the real melancholy with Jerry Horton‘s acoustic guitar mixed with electric, and Palermo’s lighter hits. Now the title track Who Do You Trust?‘ really kicks things into gear, moving fluidly between the band barely moving and spontaneously combusting.

‘Elevate’ points to the album’s dynamism by slowing thing down in pace but not stature, featuring a hip hop-style beat, and lyrics pulling people in an imaginary crowd out of their individual miseries. Then ‘Come Around‘, while much less complex instrumentally, continues the previous song’s themes, inviting you to admit to yourself that you’re not okay, but you will be. Powerful message. 

After a slight lull, the vitality on most of Who Do You Trust? comes right back with interlude ‘Top Of The World’.

Shaddix’s punchy raps, distorted guitar, and those hip-hop elements present on ‘Elevate‘ transition disjointedly into short track ‘I Suffer Well’. Yet the choppiness works here, as the track is a balls-to-the-wall punk rock banger. It’s one of the album’s absolute highlights, with Shaddix particularly going into another gear (and then some). Horton’s wailing guitar ringing out and Palermo’s drumsticks clattering at the end both add a nice touch.

The second-last song ‘Maniac’ is a slow but heavy burner, and well-placed as one of the last ones on the record. Really shedding life on Shaddix from an artist’s perspective (with lines such as I’ve been living in my anxieties), the in-and-out soundscape strengthens the image of being in his own head.

We’ve now hit ‘Better Than Life‘. While sonically the album-closer isn’t as memorable, the heavy song is strong enough overall to seal the deal on a visceral album experience. In closing, Papa Roach just continue to evolve and kill the game with being inventive, but with that old school spirit, such a hard task to do for some.


Papa Roach – Who Do You Trust? tracklisting
1. The Ending
2. Renegade Music
3. Not The Only One
4. Who Do You Trust?
5. Elevate
6. Come Around
7. Feel Like Home
8. Problems
9. Top Of The World
10. I Suffer Well
11. Maniac
12. Better Than Life

Rating: 8/10
Who Do You Trust? is out tomorrow via Eleven Seven/Sony Music Australia, pre-order here
Review by Genevieve Gao

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About Genevieve Gao (38 Articles)
Music Journalist