Pretty much everyone knows about this project by now. The dearly departed Chester Bennington, most famous for his role as part of Linkin Park, was in a band called Grey Daze prior to fronting the alt rock behemoths. He left behind an album’s worth of vocal recordings and plans for a reunion with his Grey Daze bandmates. The band and Chester’s family didn’t want to see these being left on a shelf. As a result, an impressive array of musicians came together to help flesh them out, making full use of Chester’s original archived work as the songs were re-recorded and remastered.
Names included in the work include: Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Shaffer, Page Hamilton (Helmet), Chris Traynor (Bush, Helmet, Orange 9MM), LP (Laura Pergolizzi), Jaime Bennington (Chester’s son), Jasen Rauch (Breaking Benjamin), Marcos Curiel (P.O.D.) and Ryan Shuck (Orgy).
While this is a fairly mainstream rock album, and a decent one, something to note that is isn’t: a Linkin Park album. The musical style is very different, the rap content in particular being absent, and Chester’s vocals (while recognisable him) aren’t quite what they grew to become. Hardly surprising given how long ago they were recorded, and with different musicians around him. What is very similar is the lyrical content – introspective, downbeat, full of angst and pain. They’re focussed on emotion and feelings, much as all of the best ones from Linkin Park’s reign were.
And when you look at me with your eyes
That smile on your face seems happy
Are you happy?
– “The Syndrome”
Musically the album more laid back and ambient than the LP days, but still rocks quite gently. While Bennington’s vocals can be quite throaty and raw, they’re frequently backed by simple, floating rhythms. The heavier sections are used to good effect, but there’s not a track that I’d call “heavy”. This is definitely a rock album, a head-nodder rather than a head-banger.
I’ll be honest that it took me a little while to get into it, and I blame that partly due to focussing on the vocals and lyrics, forgoing the big picture. Taken as a whole, this is a solid collection of songs that shouldn’t be overshadowed for its history.
Amends is out now.