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Taproot-Welcome Review

By Shawn McKenzie 10/29/2002

I have to be honest, I had barely heard of the group Taproot before their single "Poem" started getting heavy airplay on rock radio. That single is from their new album Welcome. I actually had to do some research into the band (well, actually I do research into all of the artists I review, even ones I have been a fan of for years, but this one required more than the usual amount.) What I found was a little contradicting from what I heard on the album.

The thing I kept seeing was that Taproot was yet another "nu-metal" act. I’m still trying to figure out what "nu-metal" means, because every band today from wimpy metal bands like Incubus and Staind to harder edged groups like Korn and System of a Down have been given that label. Half of the bands given that label are just bands that sound slightly different. The other half, unfortunately, sound very similar. Taproot is in the later category.

The other thing I kept reading was that Taproot was a rap-rock group. With Welcome being their second album, this could be true, but I didn’t hear any rapping or DJing that I hear on other rap-rock albums, like Limp Bizkit or P.O.D. Their first album, 2000’s Gift, might have had some rap elements, but I didn’t get that from the two songs I heard off of it ("Again & Again" and "I.") I’m beginning to wonder what their definition of rap-rock is.

What I did hear on Welcome is twelve tracks that were okay, but nothing spectacular. Lead singer Stephen Richards does the Disturbed technique of alternating between singing and screaming (minus the jungle sounds that Disturbed’s lead singer David Draiman makes.) The difference is that Richards’ voice isn’t as interesting. What’s worse is that the two singles I heard from Taproot’s first album prove that this is a recent occurrence. Even though vocally he sounded similar to Korn’s Jonathan Davis, Richards’ voice fit the aggressiveness of the music. On the latest album, he almost sounds as if he is doing duets with himself. He jumps from Mr. Singy to Mr. Screamy so abruptly that you are left wondering where he musically meant to go.

The first half of the album is probably slightly better than the second half, but most of the songs sound the same. The only song that alters from the pack is the song "Like," which sticks out like a sore thumb with its acoustic guitar backing and soft vocals. The album ends a little weird with Richards going falsetto for the last few seconds after a whole album of singing in practically one key.

Welcome may or may not be a "nu-metal" album and is definitely not rap-rock (at least in my definition), but it does sound fairly pedestrian for the metal genre. I do hope Taproot experiments a little more on their next album, because this one doesn’t really have anything I haven’t already heard.


Buy this album at

Ratings System:


Buy this album when you get the money...

Burn a copy of your friend's album...

Listen to your friend's album at his/her house...

Throw away your friend's album or use it as a coaster!

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