Rating: 6 out of 10
Stone Temple Pilots are a hard rock band plain and simple and I am a huge fan. While all of the recent hoopla surrounded the anniversary of the overrated Core, the fact is the follow up to their debut, Purple is one of the greatest albums of all time. At that point in their career, STP was poised to become the next Led Zeppelin. Unfortunately, the band was racked by internal problems, primarily due to singer Scott Weiland’s substance abuse. The album after Purple is average, which is not the way to create a legacy. Weiland would continue to fade in and out of the band over the next 20 years, while Robert and Dean DeLeo would show glimmers of brilliance over this period while in STP and in other projects. Talk Show and Army of Anyone, are basically Stone Temple Pilots without Weiland. STP’s 2010 release, was also titled Stone Temple Pilots was a very good blend of Zeppelin, Bowie and The Beatles. Unfortunately, this would lead to the end of Weiland’s tenure who left for the final time in 2013 before dying in 2015. Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington would briefly fill in before his own tragic death in 2017.
All of this mess leads to the present day STP with new singer Jeff Gutt, who sounds very similar to Scott Weiland. This band has so much talent in Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo, and drummer Eric Kretz, that the new 2018 titled album Stone Temple Pilots should be an outstanding comeback. What we get instead is bland and generic. First of all, an established band should not tarnish their brand by releasing an album with the same name as the previous release. It is absolutely ridiculous. Then there is the music. It’s weak and tired. “Middle of Nowhere” and “Meadow” are solid rockers but that’s it. Nothing groundbreaking. It’s a great band playing it safe. “Guilty” is probably the best tune but is tarnished by the fact it sounds almost exactly like“Take a Load Off” from the 2010 Stone Temple Pilots album. Are you confused yet?
Gutt’s voice should be part of an upgraded sound much like William DuVall is in Alice in Chains. Instead, STP goes through the motions and sounds like a watered-down Stone Temple Pilots tribute band. The listener deserves more. “Just a little Lie” and “Six Eight” are examples of this, while, “Thought She’d Be Mine” misses the mark as an attempt to capture the old STP mellow side. The rest of the album will leave you feeling the same way or in the case of “The Art of Letting Go” will just put you to sleep.
Stone Temple Pilots circa 2018 should blow us away. Instead, it just leaves us confused, frustrated and bored.
This album review was written by Joe Becht. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBecht