Mudvayne, Taproot

Need a shot of pure Midwestern rage this week, but can't find anyone willing to go see 8 Mile for the eighth time? Take your tortured ass down to Deep Ellum Live on Tuesday night, where Taproot, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Mudvayne, from Peoria, Illinois, will prove just how furious five-month winters, industrial manufacturing and adenoidal accents can make a young man. True to its college-town roots, Taproot proffers the thinking man's variation on the theme: On its second album, Welcome, the quartet winds through verses of ominous guitar and propulsive percussion, then explodes into choruses that singer Stephen Richards (how's that for heartland anonymity?) does his best to make melodic with a strangled moan he might've picked up from an older brother's Rush records. It's a formula, but Taproot works it well, especially when it titles songs "Art" and "Poem." Mudvayne strains against more visceral frustrations on The End of All Things to Come, its second album: Singer Chüd (how's that for heartland imagination?) growls about "fucking head games" and "sticks and stones" on "World So Cold," while his bandmates churn behind him like the Slipknot protégés they are. There's elaborate makeup and paranoid Matrix-mucking, too, but stick with the fixed fury that drives these guys. They have.
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Mikael Wood

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