Overall Score: 8/10 Vocals are strong: 8/10 Feelgood Songs: 8/10 Replay Value: 8/10 Pros: Jeff Gutt proves to be a good addition Cons: falls a bit flat in a couple of places
Losing a singer would end most bands, and in a lot of cases, it has. It is a testament then to Stone Temple Pilots that they have lost not one, but two of their frontmen in relatively quick succession, that not only have they managed to overcome these hardships, but also return with a brand new album and somewhat new lease of life.
Following in the fairly large shoes of Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington is no easy feat, but Jeff Gutt formerly of Dry Cell seems like he may be up for the challenge. His voice has the all the swagger and drawl to carry the weight of the material. He never tries to imitate or replicate those who have come before him, yet there is a familiarity to him which works.
Musically and even vocally I personally have always felt that Stone Temple Pilots were more akin to bands like Janes Addiction and The Doors than their grungier peers. ‘Middle of Nowhere’ the album’s opening cut comes hurtling out of the gates, with a riff groovier than a packet of McCoys, it gets you going right away and never lets up. There could not have been a better way for them to announce their comeback than that.
Roll me Under, Six Eight and Thought she would be Mine are all fine rockers and have all the expected finesse you would anticipate from Stone Temple Pilots. The albums main surprise comes in that there doesn’t appear at least on first listen to be any songs about Scott or Chester. This may have been a conscious decision on their part, as to let it define the album, or it may be that I just missed something that was hidden. It does suck some emotionality out of the album but it doesn’t directly harm it.
The fact that this album exists and is this good is a minor miracle. Given everything that this band has been through and must continue to go through I give them all the credit in the world. Is it a classic album, well no but it is an album of immense quality from a band that still hold such a place in so many people’s hearts. While it may not reinvent the wheel or step wildly out into a bold new direction, it gives the fans what they want and brings back one of the great rock bands of our time to the forefront of music and that is a wonderful thing in itself.