I have to admit. I never heard about this band or this album when it first came out. Or If I did hear about it I didn’t pay any attention. (Unfortunately it took the tragic news we got last week to lead me to this review.) Apparently the band has been around since 2011. It is one of those supergroups. That word alone often makes me want to ignore it. Supergroups are very rarely super. They are often a bunch of dudes that get together to form a band. This has been going on since the beginning of music, but someone decided to coin the phrase, and it stuck. Take a group of famous musicians and lump them together an you have a Supergroup. So this version has Scott Weiland on vocals. Ok. I have to admit, he can be classified as super when he is on. The rest of the band slowly goes downhill from there in the super category. Jon Moyer on bass. I like his work in Disturbed and his work in Adrenaline Mob is promising, (I won`t get into Operation:Mindcrime) so his name is kind of super-light. Ron “Bumblefoot“Thal. Not a bad guitarist. I liked his work with Guns N Roses (also known as Axl Rose solo project) on Chinese Democracy, but I have not heard another note from him. I don`t own any of his solo stuff, and haven`t heard any of his songs in compilations. I would bet I`m not alone. One controversial album does not make a super guitarist. Then we have the brothers, Jon and Vince Votta. “Who?” you ask. Exactly. I`ve never heard of them. So we are to believe this is a supergroup with only one member that might be considered super. And by the way, lead/rhythm guitar work is shared by Jon Votta, and “Bumblefoot”. So put the guy with more cred that wields a double neck guitar on co-headlining duties. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me too. At least Bumblefoot does a lot of the solos.
The timing of this band formation and album release are sort of confusing to me. Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts released their new album on March 31 2015. This album was released on June 8, 2015. Scott Weiland distanced himself from this album. He stated he was never part of the band. The fact that he co-wrote the lyrics, sang all of the songs, was in the band videos, and the album cover shoots seem to be proof to me that he was in the band. If he was just a hired gun as he says he was, it is strange why he got so involved. Anyway, on to the review itself.
Black Rain – Sort of a mix between flamenco guitar and Black Sabbath like rain and thunderstorm. I like it, but is way too short. This seems a weird choice as the first song though. The band is trying to portray themselves as a heavy band, but this is how they start off.
Small Batch Whiskey – Has a Rob/White Zombie flavour to it. It even repeats the line 1925 yeah, similar to 1965 yeah(Thunderkiss `65). Scott`s voice is good form here, the guitar work is good, and the harmonica at the end helps out. It took a few listens to this song at increasingly higher volumes to get it. It felt too generic the first few times, but it does get better.
Time Every Time – Apparently these guys are fans of the Kiss no make up era. All I can hear when I listen to the chorus is Heavens on Fire. Decent guitar work, and Scott doing his trademark singing through a megaphone make this a decent song, if you can look past the Kiss similarities.
Get On Down – I like the mellow guitar to start this one off. The guitar solos are subdued but good. The vocals are perfect for this song.
Grand Applause – Great guitar work begins this song. Although there is a bit where the guitar notes go too far. Kind of like how the Killswitch Engage guitarist ruined the Holy Diver cover, but I digress. The guitar work overall is really good in this song. The drumming is decent, the bass is louder than some of the other songs, and Scott Weiland is Scott Weiland. The “We Want To Say” bridge was a little much for me, but overall a decent song.
Till The Dust Is Gone – Again, with the mellow guitar to start off, and it works here as well. Scott`s voice is in peak form here, and the background music is mellow enough to emphasize it. Bonus points for the acoustic guitar work , and the use of a Trans Am in the video.
Death Of It – Mellow piano and guitar start this song off. Dual vocals are a nice touch. “Bumblefoot” has co-writing credits for the first time on this song, and he must have influenced them to start slow and then go heavy. Also, the guitar solos are really good here. A really decent song.
Superstar – High pitched guitar screeching and booming bass, followed by guitar moving to the forefront mixed with pounding drums. The vocals pick up in another Rob Zombie sort of way. The drums sound better here than the previous songs, and the bass is not drown out here. Decent song.
Aqualung – I was not sure what to think when I saw this title before listening to the song. This is not a cover, but a new song. Why didn’t they just call this song Stairway to Heaven? There is no legal recourse to calling a song Aqualung, but come on. There should be some unwritten rule about song titles. If it is classic, no one else can use it. Anyway, title aside, this is a pretty good song.
Long Ago – Has kind of a Nu Metal sound to it. Korn meets Linkin Park, with better lead singer, bass and guitar work. Also, Scott gets to break out the megaphone again. Decent song.
The Drift – Awesome guitar work starts this song off, and the bass and drum work are the best on this album. Dualing vocals sound great. The song is leading in the right direction, nice and heavy. The song has a section that is too mellow to suit the song, but overall might be the best song on the album. The guitar work has some effects that really sound awesome. Good album closer. It leaves you wanting for more, but we all know that will never happen now.
I would like to say a bit about the presentation. The tri-fold cd case is beautiful. The artwork and photos are really well done, the included full lyric booklet is well laid out, and the fold up poster of the band is a nice touch. I wouldn’t say I loved this album, but it really did grow on me. On the first listen I thought it was too generic. The drumming especially was mostly generic, but overall the musicianship and vocals were really good. The lyrics went off the rails a few times, and the band sometimes sounded too much like bands of the past. It is too bad we will never get to hear this version of the band again, because it was a decent first album. If you are a fan of Scott Weiland you should buy this as it may very well be his last recorded work.