Taproot have been called an Alice in Chains imitation. They are not. Welcome is one of the most creative disks in the Hard Rock genre. Unfortunately, they took a different direction after Welcome (October 2002) with Blue Sky Research (August 2005).
2002’s Welcome separated Taproot from the generic Nu Metal infestation of this decade with off-time beats most clearly heard in songs like Everything, Fault and Sumtimes. Poem was Welcome’s claim to radio play and it was a great, foot stompin’ rocker. There were different styles and sounds to the tunes on Welcome, and the songs didn’t have the Nu Metal Nickelback epidemic of not being able to tell when the track has changed.
Sure, Taproot clearly was influenced by Alice in Chains. In fact, Toby Wright, Welcome’s producer, even co-produced some AiC disks. And singer Stephen Richards has an unmistakably clear singing voice that is a bit similar to the late, great Layne Staley.
But Taproot were definitely their own band on Welcome and put out one of the most unique sounding hard rock disks of 2002.
Unfortunately, Taproot lost some of their unique sound with Blue Sky Research, and went to the Nickelback monochromatic formula for some odd reason. My guess it was pressure from their label (Atlantic) to take the fun and creativity out of the music and make more radio friendly music (indeed they hired Billy Corgan [Smashing Pumpkins] to help with some of the Blue Sky tracks).
This past summer drummer Jarrod Montague revealed on Taproot’s MySpace blog that the band had parted ways with Atlantic Records. So hopefully Taproot’s 4th release will get back to the music that made them unique and hard.
Hard rockers looking for something mostly unique with a bit of an Alice in Chians Dirt influence should absolutely pick up Welcome.