Review Summary: The Nu-Metal group that should have gotten more recognition.
Taproot has always been placed in the lower end of it's contemporary groups. While this album may have spawned one of their biggest hits "Poem", it seems that time has unfortunately forgotten about Taproot as a band. I don't hear people talking about this group anymore and that is an absolute shame. This record came out during the peak of Nu-Metal's height in 2002, it deserves to be up there with many of the greatest albums from that time period like SOAD's Toxicity, Linkin Park's Hybrid Theory and Deftones with White Pony. This record goes along with the more chilled out, alternative metal vibe that you would find in groups like Seether, Chevelle, Staind and Sevendust. Though, there are some great jumpy mosh pit moments that you would find in a Korn or Slipknot record. But Taproot, went to make sure that they carved out their own identity with the music that they were performing.
Taproot's vocalist, Stephen Richards has a very unique voice on this record. Some portions of the whisper like shrills remind me a whole bunch of Deftones, he also pulls out a bunch of sick low screeches that really add on some much needed intensity to really get the listener hyped. Whenever Stephen begins to really pull out his heavy vocals the feeling of it really reminds me of Serj Tankian's low growls or Corey Taylor's mid shrills. It's a wonderful mix that really tries to include all of the heavier parts of Nu-Metal in a great way. The lyrics are all about personal problems like depression and angst. But, Stephen's voice really fits the tone with what the record is setting up to be. Meanwhile, Mike DeWolf provides a good amount of guitar work that really pulls you into the experience. There's plenty of nice breakdowns, lowtuned chugs, staccato riffs that jump about to create melody and fantastic ambient moods. The guitar work really feels like a good take on what Deftones came to work on but it also mixes in some of the grungy elements of Alice in Chains with their work. The best of both worlds when it comes Alt & Nu-Metal being fused well. Bassist Phil Lipscomb creates some deep bass licks that do get lost in the mix sometimes, but you can feel them strongly on many of the tracks. Drummer Jarrod Montague has a very powerful drum set that really adds to the flavor of this record, it's punchy and prominent as it carries the rhythm section very well.
Taproot's song content really shines through, while "Poem" has a great vocal performance and an insane ending breakdown that wasn't uncommon for Nu-Metal groups to add, but the spin that Taproot put on a breakdown really made a great impression on me. It made me love that portion so much, that I think it's the reason why I really started to dig metalcore way down the line when I was really building my music taste. The melodic passage in "Art" was a welcome surprise that really threw me off but I really enjoyed that the band added a calming interlude with some shrills placed on. A great touch, that's for sure. The breakdowns are also even more prominent in the song "Myself" with a really heavy intro, a very nice calming vocal performance and then a middle breakdown that just swoops in unexpectedly. This was a great addition that really surprises the listener and leaves them wanting more from Taproot's performances! It's those little elements that always keep me coming back for more with this record!
Welcome by Taproot breaks the mold by fusing what works in Nu-Metal for the better. For hardcore fans, the breakdowns will provide some sick heavy experiences. Nu-Metal fans get the best jumpy riffs that the genre is known for! The vocal performances are all very interesting takes and the instruments all get the job done to provide a well crafted listening experience. Welcome has aged very well honestly. I don't believe you will walk away disappointed after listening to this sick little gem.
Favorite Tracks: Poem, Art, Myself, When & Mine.