Taproot Gift

With the glut of Korn-fed hard rock bands popping up on record store shelves, it's a real chore separating the kernels from the cob. That's why it's actually refreshing to hear a band like Taproot - who have nothing to do or in common with Michael Hedges - doing the thundering groove-rock thing well. Hailing from Ann Arbor, MI, the same fertile musical region that brought us Twitch and Thought Industry, Taproot definitely have the hooks and grooves down, but they also realise the limitations of the genre and aren't afraid to experiment a little. Fortunately, they also have the skills to try new things sonically and structurally and make them work. (Warner)