High Rise review by Stone Temple Pilots

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  • Released: Oct 8, 2013
  • Sound: 6
  • Lyrics: 6
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 6.3 Neat
  • Users' score: 7 (19 votes)
Stone Temple Pilots: High Rise

Sound — 6
Stone Temple Pilots formed in 1986 and kept a stable line-up for 27 years - let that soak in for a minute - before finally attempting to fire the vocalist/frontman who had helped to write most of their greatest hits. Of course, their front-man, Scott Weiland, was also a drug addict and alcoholic. Oh, and maybe just a little bit of a diva. Since then both sides have been launching lawsuits against each other like it's going out of style. So everybody has strong feelings one way or another about whether this firing should have happened or not and whether the band should continue on with a different vocalist but at the end of the day, you have to let this EP speak for itself. There are 5 tracks on "High Rise," and the EP clocks in for a total of about 16 minutes. The tracks "Out of Time" (which has been available for download since May 2013) and "Black Heart" were made available before the release of the EP.

The EP opens with the track "Out of Time," which is the heaviest track from the album. The song, rhythmically, is very reminiscent of something that might have been released in the early days by STP. "Black Heart" is up next and tries to rely too heavily on a catchy little riff that is over-used so that I was tired of it by about 30 seconds in. "Same on the Inside" might be the song where Chester Bennington's original identity comes out most in the vocals, as well as showing the band trying to stretch their legs a little bit, creatively. "Cry Cry" is another riff-driven track, but more expertly executed than "Black Heart," and with a chorus that actually got me tapping my foot. "Tomorrow" is possibly my favorite track on a strictly instrumental scale - it just has a vibe/feeling to it that is pleasant - but one of my least favorite vocal tracks. I can't say that this stands up to STP's other releases, and I'm not a fan of the way the EP was mixed. With all that being said, it isn't a bad EP it just doesn't stand up to STP's back catalog.

Lyrics — 6
Scott Weiland was replaced by Chester Bennington, the vocalist for Linkin Park, in early 2013. This was quite a big deal for Chester Bennington who has always been an openly huge fan of STP, even stating that his lifelong dream was to sing vocals for STP. Of course, he definitely isn't living up to Scott Weiland's legacy circa "Core," but neither was Scott Weiland in recent years, to be honest. Chester Bennington does an adequate job at vocals - unfortunately, that is about it. There doesn't seem to be any strength behind his vocals, which is something that seems necessary in a band like STP. At his best Chester sounds like his own person doing a decent job with the vocals, but at his worst he sounds like a bad impression of Scott Weiland. I really think that what needs to happen is Chester to quit thinking about Weiland, so maybe it will be a good thing if their lawsuit with Weiland forces them to change their name. Needless to say, I have mixed feelings about Chester doing vocals for STP. The backing vocals are decent. The lyrics are solid and fairly engaging. Here is a sample of the lyrics from "Same on the Inside": "Sending out a message to the world/ But I just can't seem to find the words/ No one wants to die alone/ Broken and insane/ Question every last decision/ Another empty page/ Do you know the answers? / Tell me, I find my happy ending/ When do we start pretending that/ We're all the same on the inside/ Wanting what I know won't satisfy/ Just to live this, need to live a lie/ Never meant to run away/ Jumping out the train/ My cage was built on good intentions/ Running every page."

Overall Impression — 7
I can't help but feel like "High Rise" is trying too hard to be radio friendly for rock and alternative stations, but maybe this is just me. There seems to be a stronger current of "pop" in their sound than I've previously heard except in small flashes. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it isn't something I'm happy about, either. I know I've said my fair share of negative things about this EP, but there are also some flashes of the same type of genius that released albums like "Core" and "Purple." To me, this is especially visible on passages from "Out of Time" and "Cry Cry." I really wanted to like the track "Black Heart" just because I liked the song title, but it just wasn't doing anything for me. I think that there is some promise for the future from the band; especially of Chester Bennington starts being himself instead of a poor copy of Scott Weiland.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fair enough. But I think its more fair/accurate to describe Chester's performance as more of an imitation of Scott rather than a "poor copy". He's simply too powerful at times (see Out of Time) to be compared to Scott that way. That being said, I don't agree that they should be weening fans onto it by underusing Chester like that. Its a good EP and I'm still listening to it but it feels a little uncomfortable that he sounds like that. Let the guy show off what the new STP isn't missing.
    I think the reason that Chester sounds so much like Scott on this album is because I remember reading that most of the material had already been written for the album, meaning that Chester is probably singing the melodies that Scott had written
    I honestly couldnt get into this. Hopefully whenever the full length album is out, it will catch my interest.
    First song of the EP is ok, I could barely make it through the rest... Chester sometimes sounds like Weiland on helium. Still can't imagine a better replacement. Full album please.
    Many of us felt it, and I have seen it mentioned on youtube. Vocals on Black Heart are so Liam Gallagheresque.....
    a drummer
    It has such a "Tiny Music.." vibe to it. It's good, but isn't great. Chester did an awesome job though, even if his melodies are quite similar to Scotts. A future full length could be promising
    I think Scott's a royal pain in the ass and would never tolerate him as a band member, but by God if Chester doesn't just sound awkward. Let him sing his style. Scott is Scott. Chester is Chester. If Chester was really the best fit for this band, it wouldn't sound so bad to hear him emulate Scott. For instance, William Duvall is in AiC because he can emulate Layne Staley extremely well. It also helps that he'd toured with Jerry Cantrell already, but anyone who saw Jerry's solo show knew that he had an afro'd guitarist who could emulate Layne Staley's sound.
    I don't think Duvall sounds like Layne at all. His voice is rich but without grit. He has to force some roughness singing older AIC tunes and he definitely sounds different thank Layne. I think that they hired him because of skill and similar work ethics, you know, Jerry worked with him and kind clicked.
    Your standards are based on sounding exactly like Layne. DuVall can emulate Layne's style, at the very least. Listen to him sing "Nutshell." It's about as perfect as it can be considering the original vocalist is dead.
    a drummer
    It's not necessarily that he can emulate his voice well, because like said above, he just doesn't have that grit layne had. What Duvall does so well, and why he was such a good choice, is his tone when he sings harmony with Jerry.
    I thought a very similar thing about this EP, I reviewed it on www.rockatlantic.wordpress.com =]