After 27 successful years with a consistent line-up, Robert DeLeo, Dean DeLeo and Eric Kretz took the bizarre decision to fire co-creator, co-song writer and stand alone voice of Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland. Unsurprisingly not going down well with the man himself, the two parties are currently engaged in several court battles about the name and performing rights. Meanwhile, Linkin Park frontman and lifelong fan Chester Bennington has been taking over the singing duties. The first Weiland absent record, ‘High Rise’, has plenty of expectation/disappointment to live or not live up to, depending on your view on the whole scenario.
Released back in May, ‘Out Of Time’ stood at the forefront of this Stone Temple Pilots revamp, doing the rounds as a lead single, played at live shows and even featured on the soundtrack to a wrestling pay-per-view in America. A monster riff eases fans into the new era for the band, and Bennington bellows out big “yeah”s to introduce himself. It’s going to be a difficult transition for the new singer, but he must assert himself as the alpha male and demand respect instead of sloping into a step-father role for the fans.
‘Black Heart’ has a mid-90s STP feel to it, but will be interpreted as too familiar as a Weiland track and makes you long for him to be on the track instead, as with ‘Cry Cry’ which Bennington nails perfectly as a sound-a-like and fits the grunge rock frontman persona with ease. Slower songs ‘Same On The Inside’ and ‘Tomorrow’ are radio friendly classic rock ballads with catchy choruses, which are easily capable of drawing in big sing-a-longs.
It’s not easy to pick out any big changes in the style of these songs despite the new addition to the writing team, which would lead us to believe that Bennington‘s been planning these in his head for years, and is the big fan that he so claims to be.
Your enjoyment of ‘High Rise’ will be decided by your loyalty to Scott Weiland, whether you’re a big Linkin Park/Dead By Sunrise fan and how you cope with change. There are certainly large aspects of STP here, and perhaps Chester Bennington is trying to sound like Weiland a bit too much, but it’s a good introduction to a new phase in the band, which could either turn into a full blossoming chapter for STP or be shut down by legal proceedings. Either way, it’s been an exciting period for the fans, and at least Chester has got to live his dream of being Scott Weiland.
Written by Mike Heath