A couple of years ago, Art of Anarchy released their debut album with Scott Weiland on vocals. Throughout the publicity and release, there had been some unusual turmoil with Weiland claiming he was merely a hired gun, and the band claiming that he was a full-fledged member. Regardless, Weiland met an untimely end, and the band was, more or less, left scrambling to figure out how to fill his shoes.
Enter Scott Stapp. His arguably iconic vocals from his time fronting Creed is a fresh breath of air for Art of Anarchy. Joining the band, it has allowed them to explore new sounds and a new musical direction in comparison to their debut album.
After his breakdown, and subsequently crawling back up from the mire, Scott Stapp sounds the most pointed, honest, and blunt than ever before. Let’s get it straight, this is a complete return to form, if not even better than before. Vocally, he’s more clear and sharp than he ever was during his time in Creed or even his solo material. Lyrically, he’s found something deep within his soul, where the aching and pain has created something beautiful out of the ashes.
The album’s first, and eponymous single, The Madness, kicks off the band in such an incredible way, this time around. Not being marred to their former sound, the exploration in sound is beautiful! The chorus is strong and full of a positive message. “The other side of fear is freedom
/ The other side of pain is healing / The madness keeps me from the other side.” This is definitely some of the most clear and honest work that Stapp has written in a long, long time.
Musically, wow! The change in sound and direction is precisely what the guys needed. Unfortunately, their debut, self-titled album, was a mess of riffs and melodies lifted from a variety of 90s and 2000s rock and alternative bands. However, this review isn’t about that album. The Madness is a conglomeration of melodies that are more modern sounding and recent, with a bit of additional post-grunge mixed in for good measure. Some electronic styled intros are somewhat reminiscent of Disturbed, but different enough that it doesn’t strike you as odd, or just reusing something. Some of the guitar riffs have a small semblance of a Creed-esque sound, but that complements the vocals of Stapp more than anything.
Any comparison to Creed will be inevitable, given Stapp on vocals. His melodies and singing will forever be attributed to them, but Art of Anarchy gives him a little more room to stretch out than he had before. “Echo of a Scream” and “A Light In Me” are perfect examples of Stapp stretching out his repertoire.
This time around, I believe Art of Anarchy have finally found their core sound, and look forward to hearing them spread their wings more and more. A strong second effort is just what they needed to really get out there and make something of their music!
4 out of 5 Stars
4/3/17 – Amityville, N.Y. – Revolution Bar & Music Hall
4/4/17 – Asbury Park, N.J. – The Stone Pony
4/6/17 – Toronto, Ontario – Velvet Underground
4/7/17 – Sarnia, Ontario – Station Music Hall
4/8/17 – Battle Creek, Mich. – The Music Factory
4/10/17 – Libertyville, Ill. – Austin’s Saloon
4/11/17 – Chesterfield, Mich. – Diesel Concert Lounge
4/13/17 – Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Rusty Spur
4/14/17 – Ringle, Wisc. – Q&Z Expo Center
4/29/17 – Henderson, Nev. – M Resort