High Rise (EP)

Stone Temple Pilots With Chester Bennington

Play Pen/LLC, 2013


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


The on-again off-again relationship between Scott Weiland and the other three members of Stone Temple Pilots seemed to end for good in February 2013, when said three members fired Weiland, then went out and recruited Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington to fill the lead singer slot. Since then, the two sides have filed competing acrimonious lawsuits, with neither side wanting the other to use the good STP name, which is why “with Chester Bennington” had to be added to the band’s name.

The move sparked controversy among fans, some of who argued that STP without Scott Weiland is not STP, and others saying his erratic behavior, substance abuse issues and solo projects were a constant distraction. The DeLeo brothers write the music, though, so while any new project will have a different voice out front, it will likely retain the classic STP sound.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

High Rise proves this to be true, with five songs that recall latter day STP and Bennington doing a very good Weiland impersonation throughout, to the point that you won’t really notice. Ardent fans (of which I am one) will disagree and forgo this out of loyalty to Scott, while others will give this a shot as a sample for the full length that is supposed to appear later in 2014.

The music comes out of the same well that fed 2010’s comeback Stone Temple Pilots, so how you felt about that dictates how you will feel about this. Bennington is a fine singer, but he lacks the glammed-up alien sexiness that Weiland brought, and so “Tomorrow” and “Same On The Inside” seem like little more than pale rewrites of the last album. “Cry Cry” is a little better, hardly up to par with the best of STP but good for getting back into recording, especially with a new member on board.

Of course, there’s always pleasure in hearing these guys play, and they exude fun and spirit on the two best songs here. “Black Heart” and “Out Of Time” are great, fast post-grunge glam rock songs in the grand late-period STP tradition (which involves everything from 1999’s No. 4 onward). It’s hard not to envision Weiland singing them, of course, but get past that and it suggests that this collaboration could be fruitful.

Like many EPs, High Rise is more interesting as a sampler than a standalone piece of work, and certainly putting out songs to get people talking – to get them used to the idea, really – is a smart move. Longtime fans will have mixed reactions but should check it out anyway, newcomers and casual fans should check out “Black Heart” and “Out Of Time,” and the world will wait to see if this partnership goes anywhere. Hopefully, the album will feature more in the way of new ideas and Bennington’s unique stamp on the songs; only then will we truly be able to move on from the idea that Weiland is the only ingredient that makes STP.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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