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Taproot - "The Episodes" (CD)

Taproot - "The Episodes" CD cover image

"The Episodes" track listing:

1. No Surrender
2. Good Morning
3. Lost Boy
4. Memorial Park
5. The Everlasting
6. Around The Bend
7. A Kiss From The Sky
8. A Golden Grey
9. Strange & Fascinating
10. We Don't Belong Here

Reviewed by on March 17, 2013

"No, Taproot isn't exactly reinventing the wheel with 'The Episodes,' but the album is a solid, heavy entry in the band's canon."

With an Alice in Chains-meets-Korn heaviness, Taproot has come up with a mostly winning outing on "The Episodes," the band's sixth full-length record. Sure, it's basically the same post-grunge growl the band is known for — they just get it done better this time.

Frankly, the sheer heaviness of the guitars on this album probably excuses a lot of sins. The riffs are never all that memorable, but they're delivered with such volume and force that you'll be blown back in your seat the first time you hear tracks like "A Golden Grey" and "Good Morning."

Singer Stephen Richards alternates between a double-tracked Layne Staley style on tracks like the aforementioned "Good Morning" and "A Golden Grey," while sounding quite a bit like Korn's Jonathan Davis on the whispery "Around the Bend." His lyrics are much better this time than on outings like "Our Long Road Home." "The Everlasting," in particular, is splendidly creepy as "the radio chokes out my favorite song."

One thing that happens way too much on the album, though, is what seems to be the use of a Speak 'n Spell to deliver long spoken-word passages. It works OK in "Good Morning," but when it's repeated later in the album, it starts to feel quite silly. There's some other ambient noise thrown in that also seems rather pointless, including the burst of static that ends "We Don't Belong Here," the final track on the album.

No, Taproot isn't exactly reinventing the wheel with "The Episodes," but the album is a solid, heavy entry in the band's canon. If you're looking for some good post-grunge metal, this one will do the trick.

Highs: "The Everlasting," "Good Morning" and "A Golden Grey."

Lows: A little too much dependence on weird vocals and sound effects.

Bottom line: A solid bit of post-grunge metal, if nothing amazingly original.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)