Released by: Wind Up
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Scott Stapp – lead vocals
Phil X – guitar
Tim Pierce – guitar
Scott Stevens – guitar, backing vocals
John Paul Nesheiwat – guitar
Paul Bushnell – bass
Who I Am
Proof of Life
New Day Coming
Hit Me More
Jesus was a Rock Star
What Would Love Do?
Dying to Live
After some 20 years (on and off) as the frontman of US rock band Creed, Scott Stapp finds himself working alone to deliver his second solo album. Clearly not content with simply rehashing old Creed styles / formats, he’s taken time out to look at the current scene and in an age where the media is always looking for the next big thing without allowing the current big thing to continue to grow and present their output to a solid fan base, he’s taken note and delivered something of a modern rock classic.
Notably reminiscent of the type of music Shinedown are currently delivering to the masses across the globe, this is an album that will appeal in spades to the home US crowd and should hopefully chart well for him as a result.
‘Slow Suicide’ opens the album and as noted above, would not look out of place on Shinedown’s ‘The Sound of Madness’. It kicks in with a neat riff and the vocal style too mirrors that of Brent Smith. Not a bad thing who you note that Shinedown’s star is clearly in the ascendency. “I can’t let this life pass me by, in the blink of an eye” sings Scott on the chorus confirming his intention to remain in the eye of the public, media and the fan base he has built up over the years. The track contains some innovative guitar tricks akin to RATM’s Tom Morello and it’s touches like this that give the album an edge not necessarily seen with other ‘modern’ rock acts that chart inexplicably high at the moment. The musicians playing across the album are numerous including Phil X who, of course, was last seen standing in for Richie Sambora on Bon Jovi’s ‘What About Now’ tour.
‘Who I Am’ really stretches his vocal range, delivering a powerful message that again seems to prove his desire to be who he is and bring music his way, to the public.
Title track ‘Proof of Life’ gives us the first gentler track on the album. Incorporating musical styles from the Middle East in the background gives the track a wonderful arabesque feel and again proves that experience and craftsmanship can bring the small nuances that make a difference from the mainstream. ‘New Day Coming’ maintains the mellowed vibe with the acoustic guitars higher in the mix. “It’s the dawn of a new day coming” and “I was lost but now am found” continue the theme of the album so far.
‘Only One’ should in my opinion kick everything up a gear but what we have is what could be considered a ‘safe’ track on the album. It’s a box ticker, good sound, good vibe but too mellow when the listener is faced with three in a row.’Break Out’ thankfully has a chorus that re-engages the listener just in time for the wonderful ‘Hit Me More’ which will have the live audience on their feet every night.
There is a real story to be told by Stapp on every track of this album and taking a quote from a recent interview, “This is the most meaningful record of my career,” says Stapp. “I’ve made a lot of messes in my life but I’ve learned I can take a mess and turn it into a message. This album chronicles my struggles, my journey and it’s the most honest record I have ever written”.
‘Jesus Was a Rockstar’ , ‘What Would Love Do’ and ‘Crash’ all add an extra insight into the struggles Stapp has clearly faced of late and the more you listen the more you understand about the man as he lays bare his life in song. The album closes with ‘Dying to Live’ and given comments he’s made in the press about almost committing suicide, we take this as positive affirmation of the direction he’s taking from now on.
Overall a great insight into (as is often the case) the life of a troubled artist who has bounced back.
Written by Adrian