Stone Temple Pilots w/ Chester Bennington- High Rise EP (Music Review)

Band: Stone Temple Pilots w. Chester Bennington
Title: High Rise EP
Release date: October 8, 2013
D. Mac rating: 3.5 / 5

In the heyday of grunge, many critics considered Stone Temple Pilots a substandard imitation; a conglomerate clone of the hook-heavy sensibilities of Nirvana, the heaviness of Alice in Chains and the energy of Pearl Jam, among other rock radio darlings of the era. Though critical dismissal did not stop these outsiders to the Seattleite invasion from selling several million copies of their first two releases, it did, in a way, undermine their eventual musical progression right up until their eponymous 2010 release. After having seen an incredible performance during their 2000 tour in support of No. 4 opening for, and blowing away, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I assumed that Stone Temple Pilots, despite singer Scott Weiland’s repeated misgivings1, were poised to proceed as Pearl Jam has: consistently fruitful despite the long since demise of their initial popularity and the genre they helped herald. However, personal turmoil and an extended hiatus shaped the decade that followed and the end result proved unfortunate. Be it known that the only show I have ever walked out of due to disgust was during Stone Temple Pilots’ 2008 reunion tour2 and though I have heard positive things about the rest of the tour, I see that experience now as more of an omen than a fluke.

Even without Weiland behind the mic, the core3 of Stone Temple Pilots remains the same. The evolution of Robert and Dean DeLeo and Eric Kretz collectively as musicians has brought them to a significantly more classic rock-influenced style with nods to Aerosmith, old and new, being particularly abundant on their most recent releases. With no surprises on that front, all expectations are affixed to the one different ingredient. Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington is known for his intense vocal performances, be they soft and wistful croons or gritty yet powerful roars. However, on High Rise, with the exception of the opening track, Bennington opts to scale his voice back, often putting on his best impression of Weiland’s more subdued performances (e.g.. Black Heart is reminiscent of Big Bang Baby). Though Stone Temple Pilots’ style is far and away from that of Linkin Park, Bennington deftly exhibits adaptability without wholly sacrificing his distinctiveness. As such, the new voice unsurprisingly suits the material as it largely sounds like latter-day STP sung at a slightly higher tone.

I must applaud the band for the decision to release this material as an EP. High Rise arouses interest in a seemingly unlikely collaboration and gives the audience a taste of their worthwhile product. The obvious downside is that it only clocks in at a little over sixteen minutes total. This would not be as much of an issue if stores charged less for it. My proclivity toward not spending more than $9.99 on a standard edition new album carries over into EPs, as the $7.99 price tag at my local Best Buy felt a little steep for less than seventeen minutes of music.

m/ Dan Mac m/
A Lighter Shade of Black 007

1Wikipedia: Scott Weiland (Issues with Substance Abuse)
2PNC Bank Arts Center concert recap
3Ha! Pun!

Be sure to tune in to The Shred Shack on every Tuesday night from 7:00pm to 9:00pm EST for two hours of heavy metal. I co-host occasionally.

If you like the music, support the band and buy their stuff.
If you’d like to try before you buy, check your local library.

Editor’s Note: RealGamerNewZ has moved web servers, some older posts can no longer be commented on and have been preserved without their images. Thank you for your understanding in this matter. This article was written by Daniel MacDonald on 20131027 and was last modified on 20131027 .