March 12, 2018 Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots (Album Review)
Stone Temple Pilots (STP) are undoubtedly one of the most resilient and hard-working Rock bands of the last twenty-five years. A platinum-selling, Grammy Award-winning legacy validates the band’s first-rate talent for writing hit after hit (“Plush,” “Interstate Love Song,” “Big Empty”), cementing STP as one of the biggest Rock bands in the universe and they are not going away any time soon. That said, the band’s triumphant return, the self-titled Stone Temple Pilots, is set for release on Friday, March 16, 2018, via Rhino Records
Facing not one but two tragic losses in under two years, recent memory has surely found Stone Temple Pilots at a crossroads in their career. On December 3, 2015, former Vocalist Scott Weiland passed away. Then sadly, Chester Bennington of Linken Park – who had served as STP’s Vocalist from 2013-2015 – passed away on July 20, 2017. Despite the lows, one thing remains clear, STP will not back down in the face of adversity; and, as the band have always been about the music, this has kept them moving forward throughout their career.
Spanning an 18-month search for a new singer, on November 14, 2017, Stone Temple Pilots – Dean Deleo (Guitar), Robert DeLeo (Bass), and Eric Kretz (Drums) – announced Vocalist Jeff Gutt, formerly of Nu Metal band Dry Cell, had received the official the nod to take over as frontman. Soon after, the reincarnated STP announced new music was on the horizon as the band’s seventh studio album. Taking it all in, Dean DeLeo commented: “We are thrilled about what lies ahead. The best way for us to honor our past is to keep making new music.”
With that, the eponymous Stone Temple Pilots arrives as STP’s second consecutive self-titled album, following-up 2010’s Stone Temple Pilots. More significantly, this Stone Temple Pilots is Gutt’s initiation as the voice of STP: no small task being the new face of a world-renowned band like STP. The album, therefore, is truly a trial-by-fire for Gutt, one which the singer has not taken lightly.
Getting into Stone Temple Pilots, over the years long-time fans have become accustomed with the two sides of STP’s sound: there is the heaviness of albums like 1992’s Core and the straight-up Rock ‘n’ Roll sound of an album like 1996’s Tiny Music…Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop. Encompassing the latter, Stone Temple Pilots opens via “Middle of Nowhere,” ushering in the dynamic energy STP is well-known for instilling into their music. In a surreal moment, you can close your eyes and Gutt sounds nearly identical to a young Weiland; it is both strange yet comforting at the same time.
Outspoken “Guilty” precedes the first-single off Stone Temple Pilots, “Meadow” – which upon release back on November 15, 2017, served as a nice first-look at Gutt’s pipes – as this catchy track takes pride in enjoying life. Destined to be a hit, “Thought She’d Be Mine” is a nice, uptempo ballad about a girl, and to praise Gutt, the number shows off some choice harmonies by the vocalist, baring resemblance to the singer-songwriter sound of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Starting with “The Art of Letting Go”, Stone Temple Pilots appear to bare their soul regarding loss, as the ballad begins with simple chord strokes that lead to heartfelt lyrics about moving on (“I hope to see your smile again, but someday’s far too long of a road”). The next track, “Finest Hour,” strongly speaks for itself (“I know the pressure you were under, behind your eyes there lied a war”).
One of the more robust tracks, “Roll Me Under” brings a bit of the heavier STP tones to the album before “Never Enough” takes on a solid combo of vivid 1960’s Blues Rock meets classic STP. Thereafter, “Good Shoes” is a decent Rock ‘n’Roll tune about feeling down as, closing things out, “Reds & Blues” kicks back with a cold beer.
Breathing new life, Stone Temple Pilots finds STP true-to-form and making music on their own terms, while Gutt’s introduction as the band’s third vocalist is impressive; Gutt shines and does not force himself to sound like Weiland, though the resemblance is remarkable. Dean DeLeo previously noted the band hoped to find a singer who could vocally carry the flag for the STP catalog and they have certainly found their man. Overall, Stone Temple Pilots have authored a revival they can be proud of and the band is excited for the future. Worth checking out, CrypticRock gives Stone Temple Pilots 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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