Stone Temple Pilots

High Rise EP

Written by: MBC on 24/11/2013 14:14:04

Since the band was formed in 1986, the members of Stone Temple Pilots had remained the same with Scott Weiland on vocals, the DeLeo brothers Dean and Robert on guitar and bass and Eric Kretz on drums. The band was associated with the grunge sound in the early 90s, but later their sound became more influenced by progressive and classic rock from the 60s and 70s. The band had taken several hiatuses throughout its career but had never broken up. When Weiland was officially fired from Stone Temple Pilots earlier this year, this was the first time in the band’s long history that an original member was no longer a part of the band. The remaining members would continue the band with new front man Chester Bennington of Linkin Park fame. It is always a bold move when a band with a long history replaces its vocalist. Fans will always debate whether the new guy can fill the old frontman’s shoes and there is always the risk that the band will turn into a karaoke version of itself. Well, this new constellation apparently is not actually Stone Temple Pilots, it is now called Stone Temple Pilots With Chester Bennington and this new “High Rise” EP is the first few songs officially released from the group.

Bennington has often stated STP as a major musical influence on his life. He became friends with the band on the 2001 Family Values Tour which featured STP and Linkin Park, where he got to do guest vocals on performances with the band on songs such as “Dead and Bloated” and “Wonderful”, which he has stated as some of the greatest experiences of his life. In this respect he would seem like the perfect candidate for the band. Bennington is very experienced as a front man and can put on a great live show. He is a gifted singer with a wide range who can sing in various vocal styles as heard on the albums of Linkin Park as well as his side project Dead By Sunrise. Both Weiland and Bennington are amazing vocalists, and although there is no doubt that Bennington has the range to be able to sing the songs of STP, listening to his tenor is a completely different experience compared to Weiland’s baritone. The problem with his performance on “High Rise” is then that he often seems to try his best to impersonate Weiland’s vocals instead of doing his own thing. This is probably not a conscious decision, and it would not fit STP if he was doing his snarling singing or his fry screaming from Linkin Park, but it seems like he is yet to find his own place within the band and often his delivery falls a little flat.

The Deleo brothers are great song writers, but the songs on “High Rise” do not really live up to their former standard. Maybe it is the chemistry with Bennington that is not quite there yet, but in general the songs lack the dirt and sexiness of the band’s releases with Weiland. First song “Out of Time” is a good way to start off the EP with its hard rock riffs and a fine vocal delivery with Bennington displaying his range. The song hits home and sounds similar to the STP of the early 90s. On next song “Black Heart” the band displays a new pop-rock approach with a groove that is more straight forward than usual for the band, and it sounds more like Oasis than Stone Temple Pilots. “Tomorrow” goes into more familiar territory with a melodic riff and Bennington singing in a soft, laid back fashion in the verse and opens up in the big chorus once again demonstrating his impressive vocal range. These are good songs, but they do not leave much of an impression and do not live up to STP’s earlier releases.

Stone Temple Pilots has always been an innovative band that does not release the same album twice. Once again they have gone in a new direction whilst still keeping some of their main core intact. “High Rise” is somewhat of a disappointment considering the band’s great catalogue of music, but is a step toward something that could eventually become very interesting.

Download: Out of Time, Tomorrow
For The Fans Of: Velvet Revolver, Slash
Listen: Facebook

Release Date 08.10.2013

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