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The Episodes

Taproot

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Album Review

After the back-to-basics Plead the Fifth, Taproot once again get serious on The Episodes, an ambitious concept album that finds them reconnecting with their prog side without quite abandoning the churning nu-metal that brought them to the attention of Fred Durst at the beginning of their career. Despite those remnants of heavy fifth harmonies in the voices and guitars, The Episodes is certainly a record that flaunts its self-stylized complexities, frequently drifting into extended instrumental interludes, taking its time as it cascades from quiet to loud, often finding space for ominous recitals from a Speak & Spell. While the latter feels like a tired gimmick, on the whole The Episodes is refreshing when compared to the head-down rock of Plead the Fifth. Perhaps The Episodes never relates a coherent story line — it's impossible to tell what the story is without too close of a listen — the album nevertheless gels musically and it's one of the band's better efforts.

Customer Reviews

15 years and still going strong

Taproot fans are somewhat (OK, REALLY) divided; many long for music in the vein of "Gift", while others appreciate the departures from that sound, like "Blue-Sky Research". Fans hoping for that old nu-metal sound circa 1999 are probably not going to be pleased. Personally, I wouldn't listen to Taproot anymore if they still sounded like that. That said, "The Episodes" is another departure, even for this veteran band. This is a concept album six years in the making, and the time devoted to it is evident. Stephen Richards is at the top of his game; his voice sounds better than ever, with the gorgeous harmonies and trademark screams that he is known for. Guitars are solid, and I swear...as much as I hated to see Jarrod Montague leave the band, Nick Fredell is a fantastic addition. The effects and mixing are well done, creating an immersive atmosphere rather than a sound. My only complaint is that perhaps the speak-and-spell voice effect is used a bit too much, especially on "No Surrender". Other than that, this is a solid album. The songs flow well, and the narrative told within them is interesting. The way that it's set up makes me wonder if Taproot doesn' t have a second volume in store. Favorite Tracks: "Good Morning", "No Surrender", "Memorial Park", "Around the Bend", "A Golden Grey"...though I'm digging the whole album. If you are considering picking up only a track or two, I really can't stress enough how much you need to hear the whole album. You'll miss out if you don't.

Give this one a chance…it WILL grow on you

So i will admit that I am much more of a fan of Taproot's heavier work like Plead The Fifth and Gift but I must say that I LOVE this album. This reminds me a bit of Blue Sky Calling which i really hated at first but then it grew on me. I do like the fact that Taproot can change their sound but still stay heavy. Is his album heavy like Plead the Fifth or Gift? No…but what it lacks in heaviness it gains in depth. This album is very deep and dark in its own way. Musically this is Taproot at the top of their game. So just give this one a chance to soak in. In the long run I think you will like it.

Oh. By the this is a concept album, the whole album is a story and the speak and spell (which I hate) is supposed to be the narrator of the story. Yes. It's pretty gay.

It's ok

First off, the Speak and Spell moments are ridiculous. It's annoying. And like the review says, it's a tired gimmick. It really seems beneath Taproot, and the S&S moments in my opinion take away from the songs and bring them down a level. Beyond that, while this album isn't as heavy as Plead the Fifth, which I thought was a fine return to Taproot form, it's not bad either. There really wasn't anything that absolutely jumped out at me though. While this is by far not Taproot's worst album, in my opinion it is a mediocre album. I do not think this is going to propel them to the top of the hard rock charts. I don't think bands should turn out the same old sound for 20 years, so I'm not opposed to change or trying different things. I just think this is a step back for Taproot after a great step forward with Plead the Fifth.

Biography

Formed: 1997 in Ann Arbor, MI

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Ann Arbor, MI's own Taproot sent their demo to Limp Bizkit's frontman/business entrepreneur Fred Durst in 1998, not ever thinking Durst would call them back personally. To the band's surprise, Durst replied, promising the alt-punk metal quartet the world. But Durst apparently took too long to deliver the goods, for Taproot — whose lineup comprised frontman Stephen Richards, guitarist Michael DeWolf, bassist Philip Lipscomb, and drummer Jarrod Montague — landed a deal with Atlantic Records...
Full Bio
The Episodes, Taproot
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