I have been sitting on this album for months now and I am finally getting around to do a review. I will admit that I love listening to Scott Stapp sing. I am a fan so this album really excited me. After Scott Stapp’s last effort, his solo album ‘Proof of Life’, I had really high expectations for this new direction. ‘Proof of Life’ as my favorite album of 2013.
Now Scott was back with a band and not a new solo effort. I was hoping for me solo work or even Creed, but not so…a new band. Well, who is this band Art of Anarchy? Art of Anarchy is a rock band and this is actually their second album not their first. Their first was with Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots fame; however, he died after the release of that album. I will also admit, I had never heard of this band even with Scott Weiland as the lead singer.
The band pushed on and brought in Scott Stapp as the lead singer. I immediately thought these guys were nuts. You are going from a person with addiction & mental health issues and ended up dying from that to another person that has suffered from addiction issues as well as mental health issues that are well documented. I thought that they were either very brave or very stupid. It turns out they were very brave (so far).
Who are the gentlemen that make up the remainder of the band? I am glad you asked. I will happily tell you. First & second off, you have twin brothers Jon & Vince Votta who play lead guitar and drums, respectively. On bass you have John Moyer from the metal band Disturbed. And on the 2nd lead guitar you have the amazing Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal from the great hard rock band Guns ‘N Roses. Not a bad line-up.
Before I get to the songs, why have I been sitting on it for so long? Honestly, I wasn’t impressed with the album upon my first several listens. I think my expectations were so high after ‘Proof of Life’ that anything else was going to be a let down. I have been trying and trying to connect with the album and then finally it happened. I connected and started to find the beauty in the album.
There were some songs that did stand-out immediately and the opening track “Echo of a Scream” was definitely one of them. The foot stomping song comes screaming in (pun intended) and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The thumping bass during the verses was incredible. Bumblefoot and Jon Votta’s guitar work as dual leads shines through and excited me to have such heavy guitar sound. This is the band’s second single.
“1,000 Degrees” is up next and lyrically Scott Stapp opens up about his past troubles. Actually, a lot of the songs are biographical in someway about what Scott Stapp has recently gone through with his mental health & addiction issues. At times it gets to be too much, but I am sure it was therapeutic to him. This song is another rocker and like with this song you will find influences from all three bands that these guys are from throughout.
Things slow down, ever so slightly, with “No Surrender” and vocally Scott really shines on this one. This was very Creed-like for me and is one of my favorites on the album. I think it his shout-out to never giving up and fighting through whatever issues you have. I hope it sticks.
“The Madness”, the first single, is probably the second best song on the album. The song screams of Scott’s troubles and battles with his demons. It is a great snapshot at what he has been going through. It rocks out from beginning to end and you can hear every instrument. This song is why I had such big hopes for the album.
“Won’t Let You Down” is a little light for me and one of the weaker songs on the album. This is where all the songs about Scott’s problems started weighing down on me. I felt this one missed the mark and wasn’t as powerful as the other songs. I could skip this one.
With the next song, “Changed Man”, I originally had the same feel. However, this one grew on me. It is a power ballad to his wife saying how he has messed up and that he has changed. I hope that stays true for a long time. In seeing him in the videos and and interviews, he seems to be doing well. It is a catchy song and I do like this one now. It does sound like something that could have been on one of Creed’s later albums.
“A Light In Me” picks up the pace again. It is very similar to his solo stuff and Creed as well. It is another one that had to grow on me. The more I listen the more I like it. The heavier vocals and the drum work are what I like.
“Somber” completely misses the mark for me. The tone of the song is so somber and brings down the album. This one never got better and disrupted the pacing of the album.
The next track, “Dancing With the Devil”, is really an odd song as it is nothing like any of the other songs on the album. For that reason, I like it. It is one of the heaviest songs on the album. It is a great lead in to the final and best track on the whole album.
“Afterburn” is the masterpiece on this album. It is worth waiting for the last song to get to the best song. It has the strong Disturbed sound with the baseline. The pounding drums and the guitars come at you full throttle. It has the best guitar solo out of all of them as well. They just kill it on this song. A whole album of this is what I was actually wanting.
- “Echo of a Scream” – Keeper
- “1,000 Degress” – Keeper
- “No Surrender” – Keeper
- “The Madness” – Keeper
- “Won’t Let You Down” – Delete
- “Changed Man” – Keeper
- “A Light In Me” – Keeper
- “Somber” – Delete
- “Dancing With the Devil” – Keeper
- “Afterburn” – Keeper
8 keepers out 10 songs – 80% (4 out 5 stars) Art of Anarchy ended up delivering a solid album. It took it awhile to get to a point where I liked it, but that did come so give it some time to sink in. Is it the album I was hoping for? No, but it is not too far off the mark. I really wanted a heavier album reminiscent of “Afterburn” and I would be giving another 100% album if it was. If you are a Scott Stapp fan, it is a must have album. I don’t think it will persuade you one way or another if you are not a Scott Stapp fan, but still a solid effort. I hope he stays healthy and I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship with this band. I expect great things to come.