Plead The Fifth

Written by: PP on 11/08/2010 17:40:20

Nu-metal died ten years ago, but Taproot are still going strong as one of the best (if not the very best) bands to come out of that debacle. You might ask why, but there's really no need because their albums speak for themselves. For starters, they never succumbed to the rap/hip-hop element in their music, relying on more of a hard rock / alternative rock approach to songwriting instead. Moreover, they are one of the most consistent bands in the scene, and have now released four excellent studio albums and one decent one ("Our Long Road Home" from two years ago), all of which have maintained a superior quality level to nearly all of their genre peers. So don't be turned off by the nu-metal label, because "Plead The Fifth", their fifth studio album if you don't count their early demo albums from the unsigned times, doesn't sound anything like the old school nu-metal movement, nor does it sound dated.

Instead, it's another fresh fruit of heavy alternative rock for the fans of Chevelle, and as a new influence, Deftones. Opener "We Rise" namely borrows heavily from the latest Deftones album, kicking off with piercing screaming that draws a close parallel to the desperate wail of Chino Moreno. It immediately notifies the listener that "Plead The Fifth" is going to be the heaviest Taproot album since 2002's "Welcome"; the guitars crunch, tear and distort at crushing levels unseen for more than half a decade from this band. Now this is exactly what fans have been hoping from Taproot for a while now: a heavier, chunkier sound that doesn't sacrifice any of the band's melodic nature. "Fractured (Everything I Said Was True)" is monster catchy, but it manages to be so while allowing the guitars to dig deep down to their metal roots. "911ost" is classic Taproot at their best, an infectious chorus sung with just the right degree of desperation and emotion to make it sound so god damn convincing. Screaming breaks in on a number of tracks, "Stares" as a good example, signaling that their new label Victory understands something that the major labels didn't: allowing Stephen Richards to explore his entire range from high-pitch melodic croons to full-on screaming is bound to lead into something excellent. In this album's case, it allows for lots and lots of variation, where some songs crush the listener underneath their weight, and others are mellow, but all sound unmistakably like Taproot, and perhaps more importantly, all sound consistently excellent. I don't think there is a single track on the record which wouldn't have a memorable chorus or a groovy, down-tuned guitar riff that sticks to mind.

The thing is, Taproot have been releasing songs like this for more or less a decade now. It continues to surprise me that these guys are so unknown and underrated on this side of the pond, and don't enjoy mainstream popularity in the modern rock radio waves overseas. Their melodic-but-heavy approach to alterna-metal is both unique and rock solid all around, leaving critics and haters of the 'nu-metal' tag looking stupid while the rest of us listen to some of the most enjoyable music that's precisely halfway between rock and metal. Do yourself a favor and check out a couple of songs from these guys, be impressed, and get a copy of this album - and the whole discography while you're at it. The most consistent band in the business.


Download: Now Rise, Fractured (Everything I Said Was True), 911ost
For the fans of: Chevelle, Deftones, Evan's Blue
Listen: Myspace

Release date 11.05.2010
Victory Records

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