On their first release since firing frontman Scott Weiland, Stone Temple Pilots’ musical identity remains intact albeit reserved in ambition. Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) has big shoes to fill in Weiland’s stead and he largely gels with the remaining original members on a selection of bare-bones rock numbers.

“Out of Time” fills all of a listener’s expectations for an STP track, featuring charging riffs, a big melodic chorus and a blistering solo by Dean DeLeo. It is obvious from the start that Bennington’s vocal style marks a significant departure from what Weiland brought to the group. Weiland’s cocky swagger and love for Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie brought an air of danger and debauchery to STP’s best material. Bennington’s vocal approach is certainly more direct, bringing a distinctively modern-rock singing style to STP’s ‘70s-influenced brand of stadium rock. Still, “Black Heart” is a catchy glam-rock stomper with a huge chorus. “Tomorrow” effectively captures the very psychedelic tendencies that made STP so interesting as a mainstream rock act in the first place. The High Rise EP marks a band in transition, for better or for worse.

By James Olson

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