As of late, there has been a huge resurgence of nu metal bands recording and releasing great material. Nonpoint, who have elected to tread a more hard rock path, released the excellent Miracle earlier this year, while the ambient abundant Deftones dropped Diamond Eyes; arguably the band's best album ever. Even the broken and battered Limp Bizkit are currently in the studio, with the anticipation for their Gold Cobra at an all time high, due to the recent reunion of their original line-up. Enter the Michigan based band Taproot, who are just another nu metal band trying to make a stunning comeback in today’s music market. Unfortunately for Taproot, if their 2010 album Plead The Fifth is the best the band has to offer, it is unlikely the quartet will ever reclaim the massive popularity they experienced in the 90’s.
It seems on Plead The Fifth that Taproot is stuck suffering from an extreme case of identity crisis; in between monotonous nu metal chugging and radio ready rock choruses, the band sacrifices any inkling of originality for a chance at a hit single. Unfortunately, this is an event that is very unlikely to occur. Simultaneously embodying all that was wrong with late 90’s nu metal and all that’s currently wrong with today’s mainstream rock scene, Plead The Fifth has taken two rather uninspired genres, combined them and created a monster that is far worse. Sure, it’s catchy but is it really anything that hasn’t been heard before? The vast majority of verses consist of de-tuned, simple nu metal guitar riffs and utterly ridiculous rapped vocals, two factors that make it almost impossible to distinguish when one song begins, and when another ends. The only true risk taken on the album is Taproot’s ballsiness to pirate the choruses of other mainstream rock bands and apply their own, laughably juvenile lyrics. If you’ve heard the likes of Shinedown or 12 Stones on the radio, then chances are when taking your first listens of songs like “Now Rise” or lead single “Fractured (Everything I Said Was True)" that the tunes will come off as pale imitations of the aforementioned groups.
Plead the Fifth isn’t a complete failure however; feautring just enough of the odd pleasing moments to not be considered totally irredeemable. These moments are mostly spawned from the songs “Words Don’t Mean A Thing” and “Left Behind”, where the band forsakes its Shinedown inspired worship for grunge/metal great, Alice In Chains reverence. Lead vocalist Stephen Richards proves to not only be the most valuable member of the band, but to also have a semi-distinguishable voice amongst his peers, lending his soaring vocals to the song “911OST”, which due to his contributions, its undoubtedly the best song on the album. It really is a shame that these shining moments are just too few, being vastly outnumbered by long stretches of mediocrity.
In a time in music where only the strongest survive, it was essential that Taproot create a strong, memorable and exciting album to complete with the near perfection that has been produced by their contemporaries; instead, the released what could be their ultimate downfall, Plead The Fifth.