Grey Daze – Amends… Stripped (EP Review)

Grey Daze – Amends… Stripped (EP Review)

Formed in 1993, Grey Daze is the little known band started by Chester Bennington along with Drummer Sean Dowdell prior to the success of Linkin Park. A band which also featured Guitarist Jason Barnes and Bassist Mace Beyers, though they separated in 1998, their story is still being told. 

In fact, almost twenty years later, in 2017, Bennington announced that Grey Daze would have a comeback: they would remaster and re-release some of their past gems. That same year the recording for this project began, but was abruptly put on ice by the tragedy of the vocalist’s passing. Ultimately, Bennington’s wife and family, as well as the remaining members of Grey Daze, insisted on finishing what they once started in honor of their beloved friend. And this was how Amends came to be in the summer of 2020.

Now in 2021, Amends… Stripped, a five track EP digs deep while offering more insight into the world of Grey Daze.  Set for released on January 29th through Loma Vista Recordings, it is a selection of songs off the Amends album that is stripped of all electronic sounds, filters and samples, leaving behind Bennington’s voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar or piano.

As if the songs are not emotional enough already, due to the fact that Bennington is no longer with us, this EP makes it even tougher on the heart to listen. Not only because we have lost the amazing vocalist in 2017, but also because of the intensity in his vocal performance that is so much stronger when there is no noise around to distract. The guitar or piano accompanying his voice is kept simple and to a minimum. As a result you have the chance to fully grasp the range, intensity and emotions that Bennington put into these songs—songs about pain, heartache and loss. 

Starting with “Shouting Out,” a song which closes Amends, you are offered a slow, mellow piece that will causes your heart to melt and mind to wander. Then there is “Sometimes” which has an almost shouted choruses which adds a lot of despair. This is while “What’s In The Eye” ends with a painfully shouted “Why?” that resonates in your soul for a while after its ending. The finale, “The Syndrome,” begins with a distant conversation in the studio before the piano sets in. Though it is slightly louder than the vocals, you still get the feeling of sitting in the room along with the band, way back when they originally recorded the demo.

Half a year after the last release of Grey Daze, we now get an even deeper insight into the musical beginnings of Bennington with Amends… Stripped. Each song is beautiful and comes from the heart. Overall, this EP is a true gift and not only meant for fans of Bennington, but instead anyone who appreciates good music. A well worth spent twenty minutes, Cryptic Rock gives Amends… Stripped 5 out of 5 stars.

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Nina Mende
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