From listening to THE EPISODES from Taproot, I guess it really wasn't that far of a leap for them to go from talented alternative rock band to a more emo flavored version of said talented alternative rock band. You have to give these Michigan rockers credit for keeping themelves somewhat relevant in the wake of a trendy landscape that has changed markedly since they debuted.
With some elements of emo or post-hardcore or whatever you want to call it mixed into the sound, THE EPISODES certainly is the most diverse album of this band's career. In some places, that's a good thing. In others, maybe not so much. There are songs like "No Surrender" which are interesting and solid. Then, there are songs like "Memorial Park that are literally a collection of everything that's wrong with modern metal today. The song sounds like a bad alterna-rock metal track that was meant to be erased in a bad Deftones session throughout parts, meant to be thrown out of some bad screamo session in other areas, and is full of all the "love me" emo crap that plagues the modern generation of rock pussies that don't have enough spine to man up for themselves. Vocalist Stephen Richards is most responsible for this. While he's more diverse than on any other Taproot album, it's to the point of overkill throughout. In short, his vocal changes styles and ranges throughout, but just has a lot less dynamic punch than on past efforts. His whiny bitch voice he uses on material like "The Everlasting" rivals modern Day Chester Bennington's non-screaming voice...although he's not nearly as strong or emotionally attractive vocally.
Still, there are moments. While still whiny vocally, "A Golden Grey" is much more of a rocker that could find its way to some commercial radio playlists sitting comfortably next to a new Staind or Nickelback track. In fact, it's far more interesting than anything either of those bands do.
PITRIFF RATING - 52/100 - Listening to THE EPISODES is akin to riding one of those rollercoasters that a travelling carnival might bring with them. It seems like a rollercoaster, but the highs aren't too high, it doesn't go nearly as fast as a good rollercoaster, and the drops are far less dramatic. THE EPISODES won't have you cheering "they're back". It also won't find you throwing it out your car window because it's so bad. Bland, dull, average - best three words I can give it.