You have to feel for a band when one of their members passes away. You especially have to feel for a band like Stone Temple Pilots, who are one of the most popular bands to come out of the grunge-heavy '90s era and lost two lead singers to tragic deaths over the past three years.
Stone Temple Pilots have faced many obstacles in their career, but they have persevered and battled on. The new album, released today on the band's longtime label Atlantic Records, is a triumph in the face of adversity and a great addition to their catalog that fans should enjoy.
From 1992 to 2010, the band released six studio albums, then singer Scott Weiland's substance abuse became such a big problem that the band kicked him out. In 2013, the group recruited Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington as a replacement. After Weiland's death in 2015 and Bennington's in 2017, it was unclear whether STP would continue on.
Despite the uncertainty with the group's singers, the rest of the lineup has been the exact same since the band formed nearly thirty years ago in San Diego. Brothers Dean DeLeo and Robert DeLeo are still on guitar and bass, with Eric Kretz on drums.
In 2016, the group held an online audition for a new vocalist, and chose former X-Factor contestant Jeff Gutt. In late 2017, guitarist Dean DeLeo revealed the group was working on material with the new singer and the band released "Meadow," the first single with Gutt and the first single from the album.
Today, Stone Temple Pilots shared the full album, which is their first new record since the 5-track High Rise EP with Chester Bennington in 2013. It is also their first full-length LP since their last with Weiland in 2010, which was also self-titled.
At 12 songs covering 48 minutes, this new album is the perfect length. Produced by Robert and Dean DeLeo, the band did a fantastic job taking their music to another level with truly inspired songs and performances.
From front to back, you can hear the core STP sound in many of the songs, with hook-heavy guitar riffs, pounding drums, and thick bass. Jeff Gutt's vocals are a natural fit for the songs, ranging from soaring heights in songs like "Meadow" and "Six Eight" to a more gentle and passionate delivery in "Thought She'd Be Mine" and "The Art Of Letting Go."
The only problem with this album is that some of the slower songs may test listeners' patience. STP has always had a softer side, and that is part of their unique sound. On this album, the songs that are slower and softer may be a little too slow and too soft. The album starts to feel a little tired when it hits "Finest Hour," but even with that criticism, the songs aren't bad because they are so heartfelt.
For an established band to push forward with a new member takes guts, because it can hurt a band's reputation if it doesn't come together. There's no telling whether the fans will support you, and there's no guarantee that you can still tap into the magic that made you great in the first place.
With the addition of Jeff Gutt and the release of this new album, it seems that they are ready for the next chapter of their career. Fans have plenty to be excited for, and it will be interesting to see where STP goes from here.
Pick up the album on Amazon. You can also stream it for free above, via Spotify.
The band will begin a headlining North American tour beginning in late April. For concert tickets and more, check out the Stone Temple Pilots Zumic artist page.