For the third or forth time in their history as a band, Stone Temple Pilots have experienced another rejuvenation. The result this time is their new EP High Rise, their first release since 2010’s Stone Temple Pilots. It’s also their first release without former lead singer and founding member Scott Weiland, who was fired from the band last February. In his place is Linkin Park frontman and longtime STP fan Chester Bennington.
“Out of Time,” released as a single in May, hits the ground running, immediately informing the listener that the three veteran members of STP – Dean DeLeo (guitar), Robert DeLeo (bass), and Eric Kretz (drums) – haven’t lost any chops. Bennington proves throughout the track that he’s got an impressive vocal range. He knows there’s a lot of STP fans out there who will not be quick to accept him as the new lead singer, so it does seem like he’s trying to stay true to the style that Weiland carved out during his tenure with the band.
This is especially evident on “Black Heart,” which suffers from the same problem that the next two tracks – “Same on the Inside” and “Cry Cry” – suffer from. They all start off promising, but a disappointing chorus kills the momentum. The EP ends with “Tomorrow,” the best-written song in the bunch. Bennington’s dynamic, impassioned performance perfectly complements the veteran three-piece band, sounding like they did in the Purple and Tiny Music eras.
High Rise sounds like what you would expect from Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington. The DeLeos and Kretz are definitely still at the top of their game, but it is not exactly the STP we remember. In my opinion, Scott Weiland’s greatest contribution to Stone Temple Pilots was his gift for melody. This EP is in need of that element at some points, but Bennington’s performances make a pretty good argument that he can work well with this band. Of course I would rather have STP carrying on with a new singer than no STP at all. All together, this batch of songs might not be up to standard with their earlier work, but there is potential for more good music to be made.
Rating: W-P (Out Of W-P-G-U)
RIYL: Soundgarden, The Darkness, Foo Fighters
Key Tracks: “Out of Time,” “Tomorrow”
Stream the album below: