Review: Taproot – Welcome

Taproot hits the mainstream with the release of 2002″s “Welcome” as their hit single “Poem” has grabbed the attention of many, including Mtv. Taproot put Ann Arbor, Michigan on the map back in 2000 when Taproot was first recruited by Limp Bizkit frontman, Fred Durst. After talks fell through, Taproot left Fred Durst and signed with Atlantic. Steve Richards, Mike DeWolf, Phil Lipscomb and Jarrod Montague make up this four piece set. The band first met back in 1997, and started writing stuff that would later appear on their self-released “Pimp Ass Sounds”, “…..Something More Then Nothing”, “Mentobe” and “Upon Us” EPs and LPs. In 2000, Taproot released their first major LP off Atlantic Records. “Gift” put Taproot on the map, with the big hit “Again and Again” and “I”. Taproot”s “Gift” apparently peaked at 160 on the Billboard Chart, but Welcome is n/a.

The first track gives you such little light into what “Welcome” is made of. The first song, entitled “Mine” starts off with a bang. Everything comes together, guitar, bass and drums start this cd off with huge burst of energy, then Steve”s mellower vocals announce that some person or maybe himself are his for the taking. “Poem” is the first and mega hit off “Welcome” so far, many people had heard this song before though. Taproot first debuted this song on Linkin Park”s Street Soldiers tour in 2001, the band also played “Poem 2 Self”(as it was called) on Ozzfest that year. The video was shot in an abandoned house, with the band jamming out while the main character reacts to his girlfriend cheating on him. Trapped in a dark house trying to get out his feelings on paper, he fails, but keeps trying, until he breaks out of the house and into the light.

Most every song was newly written by the band. Throughout all of Taproot”s touring, they had been writing new songs for an upcoming record and that is where “Welcome” began. All songs are unique in their own way, after months of writting material and layering of Steve”s voice(yes that background voice is his) to the multi-layered guitars and bass, their really is a change in every song. From the downright rock “Sumtimes” and “Time” to the most mellow in “Like” and “When”, Taproot stays true to its original self, but the maturity is there. A few years ago, Rolling Stone admitted that Taproot will be “the next contenders for the new-metal crown”, and who can disagree” The song I feel most strongly about is “Like”, I wouldn”t want this song to be released, cause it shows the softer side of Taproot and some people have seen that side with the release of “I” off “Gift. One song I would like to hear on radio would be “Myself”. This song starts off loud and encompasses a part of “Again and Again” which I think is pure genius.

“Welcome” is definitely one of the best albums of 2002, it really shows a maturity and the big, bright and huge future the guys from Ann Arbor have. This cd is a four star rating, all the songs are original, they kept their hard rock and the melody that they had in “Gift”. As of now, Taproot are in Europe, but will be back in the US to help kick off Disturbed”s Music As A Weapon Tour.

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