This pattern has been played out far too many times. Band comes along and kicks ass from the start. As time goes by though, original members start flaking away, and the core sound slowly begins to go in different directions. Finally, you get down to one original member and a sound that seemingly forces itself to touch on the original direction, but falls away to some completely new signatures that render said band to being little more than a shell of their former selves. After 14 years, Mnemic has eroded away to guitarist Mircea Gabriel Eftemie and four other jags (JAG = Just Another Guy) that have come in to sing the old songs while changing the entire chemistry and vibe of the band. For most, a listen to MNEMESIS followed by a listen to MECHANICAL SPIN PHENOMENA, and you'll think you listened to two entirely different bands. Some will call that musical growth. I'll call it failing direction as a band.
It's interesting to follow the progress, or lack thereof, that some bands make. Since 2004, Hydrogyn has been a band that has tried to market the hotness of their frontwoman Julie Westlake, hoping that it would overshadow their ultimately boring and clandestine music. Album after album, there's been nothing but photos and videos of Westlake to promote the band, and nothing behind it musically to fully capture any interest her looks might have enticed. By contrast, a band like Benedictum is also fronted by an appealing woman named Veronica Freeman, and yet the focus with them is always on the tunes and not Freeman's looks. Not surprisingly, they are a lot farther along, respected and known than Hydrogyn.
LIVE & INSPIRED
I'm sure I'll probably get killed here by my metal brethren, but I actually like Godsmack. Certainly, I realize they are a more metal version of Nickelback; a band whose sole goal is to create three or four radio hits on each album, sell a good amount of music and concert tickets, and basically be a key cog in the radio rock syndicate. I get it - it's less about the art of music than the business of music with them. That said, they have been consistently solid with their albums...so much so that most say they are the modern day AC/DC where there's NO difference from record to record. For Godsmack, all a new album means to most people is that they will be invading radio with the sames songs as always...but with different words attached to them.
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.
FIRE FROM THE SKY
There's definitely some credit that has to be given to Shadows Fall. Without question, they are one of the most recognizable band from a collection of extreme metal bands to have broken out in the early 2000s. When you look at their contemporaries - God Forbid, Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage - they fit perfectly in there with that small collection of bands that a lot of modern metalheads actually care about from release to release. To me personally, they've done the most with the least amount of "it" factor. To their credit (or discredit if you must), they have always featured a sound that's all their own while merging pieces parts from everything else around them.