Taproot

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Taproot's sophomore disc replaces the Korn worship of the band's debut with a much more melodic replication of post-grunge Alice in Chains idolatry down to the muted minor-key harmonized choruses that appear on every song (and practically with every verse, for that matter). Vocalist Stephen Richards does shriek a bit more than Layne Staley ever did, and Welcome offers some ideas that would have been out of place in 1993 Seattle, but they're not much different than what could be found on 2003 rock radio -- a bit of Tool melodrama here, a dash of Staind's acoustic-flavored melodrama there. The fact that the group tried to do something different for them is notable but severely mitigated by the fact that they didn't do much different for anyone else. Even though a few tracks, such as lead cut "Mine," will evoke a Pavlovian reaction due to the familiarity involved, that's not nearly enough to save Welcome from being average and nothing more.

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