Review Summary: Frenetic guitar riffs, audible bass, and Jacoby Shaddix going crazy.
Old Friends From Young Years is Papa Roach's first full-length album. This is one of those incredibly obscure first releases for a band that actually is worth giving a listen. You would not expect this to be the same band who made hits such as "Burn", "Scars", or "Getting Away With Murder". You may find it easier to connect a song such as "Last Resort" with this version of Papa Roach, but it would actually make more sense if this was HED P.E. or System Of A Down's rare first album.
Frenetic guitar riffs paired up with front-man Jacoby Shaddix's often inaudible, often crazed ramblings make for quite the entertaining album. Songs such as "Liquid Diet" seem more like the Papa Roach of future with Jacoby practicing his singing, screaming, and rapping. "Liquid Diet" also shows the knack of writing hits, but at this point it is obvious Papa Roach was still learning cohesiveness. In addition, less than quality production could plausibly hinder (S.B.) newer fans from getting full enjoyment out of Old Friends. Although the production is not necessarily a weakness because the raw sound matches up with Papa Roach well and sometimes is refreshing rather than hearing what mainstream media would call 'clean' music. "Grrbrr" even sounds exactly like Post-Hardcore band BoySetsFire in the beginning, which brings me to what's probably my favorite part of the album. The fact that the bass work is in the mix high and makes the album flow is what makes this record digestible.
Jacoby's singing is definitely off-putting at times, but he is still impressive by just being all over the place screaming, singing, and providing nonsensical silliness. The bass stays consistent the whole time though and gives Old Friends it's own identity. The biggest flaw is not found in Old Friends, but in the band themselves. There is a lot of creativity found on Old Friends and that begs the question, "What the hell happened to Papa Roach?". Key members Jacoby and guitarist Jerry Horton have stayed in the band since this album and while Infest is great, the band consistently dumb themselves down with each release. So maybe that is the best thing that Old Friends From Young Years can offer. Old fans who hadn't heard this will definitely be pleased because this is not just some crappy first album made by kids. This represents everything Papa Roach could have developed to become System Of A Down's twin brother.