The Episodes

Written by: PP on 09/05/2012 12:53:39

For their sixth studio album "The Episodes", Taproot have chosen to go in the direction of a concept album that's following a story the band wrote six years ago. Like the title suggests, its written in the form of a single season TV series with each track title named after a particular episode in the overall story. It's an interesting and highly relevant idea given the widespread success of TV series these days, but unfortunately Taproot fail to milk the concept for all it's worth. Instead of being engulfed in a story in the same way as a TV series, the listener is merely left curious about the song titles (S01/E01 - S01/E10) and the occasional spoken-word samples that sound like Stephen Hawking using his speech generating device. Even after multiple active listens on repeat, I'm not really getting into the story much, instead I find myself just listening to the songs for their melodies, and I'm guessing most people except the core die-hard fans of Taproot will do the same.

So are the melodies good then? Well, they are quintessential Taproot melodies so you shouldn't expect the band to have changed much from "Plead The Fifth" from two years ago; therefore you can safely assume that if you were a Chevelle fan before listening to Taproot, "The Episodes" still sounds like something that should be of interest to you. The hints of their nu-metal past are still there, though today Taproot sounds more like an alternative rock/metal band, with vocalist Stephen Richards' trademark croon leading most melodies forward. He's always had a knack for drawn out, Deftones inspired melodic croons for most of his choruses, and that's also the case here, even if "Strange & Fascinating", "The Everlasting" and "A Kiss From The Sky" here are softer tracks than what we're used to from the band. Where he really shines, however, are on the opening two tracks "Good Morning" and "No Surrender". These are vintage Taproot tracks with powerful melodies that stick to your mind in an instant, though without feeling as shallow or as recyclable as most other mainstream alternative rock/metal bands (post-grunge movement I'm looking at you).

But just like most new TV series "The Episodes" starts out great with two strong opening cuts, but then fades out towards the end when the band runs out of hit material. That's been a problem before as well for the band, however, their consistency often rescues them from a bad rating because even the songs that aren't intended as singles are better than, say, anything Nickelback produces as filler on their records. That is also the case here. Even though the middle tracks aren't as impactful, they are still solid Taproot tracks that make it difficult for any reviewer to argue for a lower rating than 7/10. Lets just put it this way: Taproot are still one of the most consistent bands around, and although "The Episodes" is far from their best work, there's plenty of material here to make new people Taproot converts and to hook in old fans for a few listens.


Download: S01/E01: Good Morning, S01/E02: No Surrender, S01/E05: The Everlasting
For the fans of: Chevelle, Evan's Blue, Deftones
Listen: YouTube

Release date 10.04.2012
Victory Records

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