Released: 2012, Victory Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Located in a village in the Norfolk countryside, it’s a bit of an understatement to say that my school wasn’t particularly diverse, or alternative. I can still remember there being a flurry of excitement about Nickelback’s ‘How You Remind Me’ because it was on Top Of The Pops or something – that says all you need to know, and none of it’s good!
Likewise whilst those few who went against the grain were all over Linkin Park’s nu-metal jam, me and my friends leaned towards the melo-depressive tones of Taproot. All these years on the band are still perhaps best known for their hit song ‘Poem’, and like any such band face the struggle of trying to eclipse this success in subsequent releases.
Apparently more than six years in the making, The Episodes is the band’s sixth album, and a concept one to boot. First and foremost though, you’re struck with the fact that Taproot still sound like Taproot – the Taproot of all those years ago, and there’s something comforting about that. Musically and lyrically the band have always been emotionally intense, but rather than merely providing a soundtrack to your plummeting spirits, Taproot usually manage to pull the cord of optimism’s parachute before you hit the ground.
Perhaps it’s the nostalgia talking, but The Episodes doesn’t necessarily stand out as a concept album against the band’s back catalogue – unless you count the lyrical fixation on Sundays as in ‘Memorial Park’ and ‘A Golden Grey’. Unfortunately the only other clear theme is the sporadic use of Stephen Hawking style quotes, which is more annoying than thought-provoking.
Opening track ‘Good Morning’ is guilty of this tactic, which in isolation may have been more effective, however the song’s more System Of A Down-style schizophrenic vocal friction makes it feel a little fresher than some of what follows. ‘No Surrender’s’ chorus builds in a Lost Prophets-fashion out of a more electronicy backdrop, whilst ‘The Everlasting’ is a typical nailed-to-the-wall Taproot ballad, and ‘Around The Bend’ could have been cut from Welcome.
For those who remember, or have since discovered, Taproot in their heyday then The Episodes houses plenty that will raise a smile, but of course in doing so don’t throw anything particularly new in the mix. There will however always be a new generation of disillusioned kids who need background music to hole up in their room to, and Taproot continue to fit that bill.
Review by: Kirsty Birkett-Stubbs