Gray Daze – The Phoenix (Album Review)

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When Chester Bennington who passed away in 2017, the world of rock and metal was left in shock and mourning, a man who so often gave his time and compassion to everyone, whether fan or fellow fighter, had lost his battle with sanity and had made the agonizingly sad decision to end his life. Chester was first and foremost a great human, but he was also a formidable singer with his distinctly rich tenor blending seamlessly with his vulnerable and expressive screams to create the voice of a generation – one that desperately longs to hear its voice in new. Thanks to Chesterthe first group of gray stunthose who feel like me can hear it once again, with a 10-track set the band recorded with Chester at the band’s reunion shortly before his untimely death.

I’ll put the elephant in the room away from the start, from Chester the vocals are, as expected, outstanding. In fact, you could say they’re better here than they’ve ever been. Linkin Park – and I say this wholeheartedly. There’s lower tones in his voice here, I barely remember hearing of him before, there’s all that emotion you’d expect in his voice and yet it sounds more measured and deployed significantly than never before and above all, it seems like he really wanted to do the compositions justice with a haunting vocal effort. But “The Phoenix” is not just about Chesteras much as the title might suggest, it’s not “The Chester Bennington Band”, the songs on this album succeed in their own right and are glorified and actualized by the presence of adept musicians throughout.

At the beginning of the album, we have a brief recording in the field of the spoken word of Chester joking around and being himself, before we’re greeted with an anthemic, grungy guitar buzzing over his inimitable vocals. “Saturation (strange love)is a very good song; it has a catchy, liberating chorus and a competent understanding of loud-soft dynamics that makes it sound like a very professional and tight affair. There’s certainly a sense of confidence that pervades the entire track, it’s a lively and thoughtful affair and borrows more than a little from some of the best parts of Linkin Park’s later discography admittedly somewhat uneven.

As happy as I am that the first track sets the tone so well, I’m also very happy to report that “Start to fly“, the album’s second track is also a true classic, with its well-produced percussion and very appetizing sonic evolution throughout. At times, the lead guitar takes a back seat and the percussion, vocals and bass are left to carry the song in a flash of vulnerability, before themes of resilience and escapism recur throughout the rest of the track. It’s far from a groundbreaking idea, but it’s an effective one. which is managed admirably and pleasantly.

There’s a nice mix of genre influences here for an alternative rock record, there’s a great abundance of post-grunge sensibilities (elitists look away in disgust) that combine well with obvious nu metal elements and are all bound by good old Hard Rock. That means a lot of this record could benefit from a fair amount of radio – which isn’t a bad thing here, because simultaneously it has more than enough edge and grit to be a listen. compelling for most rock and metal fans. It also manages to avoid feeling derivative for the most part – sure you can hear bands that have been influences, but they’re just that, they inform the writing, they’re not plotted exactly as they are.

Track number three is “be your manand it’s a slightly slower, more subdued affair, filled with some of the lower-pitched vocals I mentioned earlier in the review. They sound great, they’re very soulful, and they wrap up a deeper composition than this which may be present elsewhere on the album. It’s a bit of a shame that the lyrics here don’t stand out as much as the previous songs, but they’re not exactly bad; they’re just a bit bland. The track is a welcome change of pace in the proceedings and fulfills the mandate for which it was probably created.

Cover of the album “The Phoenix”

The next step is “Hold youwhich is a funky, modern song that uses a lightly upbeat guitar line and spiraling chorus that creates images of cruising on a summer evening and spending time with those you care about. It’s another solid track and she uses David Navaro of Red Hot Chilli Peppers fame’s phenomenal guitar playing for a delectable, intriguing guitar solo that doesn’t feel thrown away or wasted like so many guest appearances can.

It’s so refreshing to see that this album has more substance than just having Chester inside. It’s easy to be cynical and see the album as a cash-in, but that would be grossly ignorant. I feel like I have to point it out “The Phoenix” and its precursor “Edit” both have the blessing of his family and that the group was made up of all his friends who probably mourn him as much as anyone else. It should also be noted that the band composed these songs before their death as part of a collective enterprise, the plan was always to revive the band and release music and this is the ultimate way to honor that intention .

As we reach halfway through the album, we have a slightly ominous track in “Hole” having an opening which consists of from Chester girls singing the opening chorus of the track. There’s an anger and bitterness to this particular song that sounds more resigned and desperate than the upbeat tone of the other songs that came before it. It’s also a little softer and grungier, which shows up in a very understated, gritty tone that mostly eschews riffs or guitar splinters.

We encounter an oriental-inspired intro in track number six, “Slide” which is instantly captivating because of it. It layers quickly and with focused intensity in a haunting, intoxicating song about addiction and overcoming. The lyrics here are simple but are by far some of the best on the album, harking back to themes of healing and resilience and elevating the mood of the album from its rather doomsday-infused sound.Holeand create a sense of thematic boost that does as much to keep the album from becoming stale as it does to embolden and emphasize the overall themes of the album. It’s so important for an album to be thematically cohesive, even if it it’s not a concept album, and gray stun understood it well.

The variety in “The Phoenix” is no small part of what makes the album so enjoyable, it’s very easy to become stereotypical with your songwriting in genres such as alternative rock, where often listening can be somewhat passive in because of too conservative an aversion to change his sound, but gray stun have cleverly avoided this by creating a solid center of their sound that is modular and malleable, and can be connected to various flairs and approaches without sounding banal or convoluted.

Track number seven is an understated affair to begin with, reminiscent of a moody pop song more than an outright rock track before layering over a grander rock track, with an expected but still welcome anthemic chorus adorning almost all the songs on the album. The calm and quiet opening somewhat reframes the effect of this here, instead of being catchy the chorus is actually relaxing and gentle in light of the context that precedes it and it goes even further to show the diversity of the scrapbook. “Believe meis a highlight among many other scintillating songs.

This is diametrically opposed to track eight,”anything, anythingwhich is the bombastic, punk banger of a song that’s intense from start to finish. Of particular note here is the syncopated and painstakingly precise percussion which is absolutely perfect for the track, and all instruments seem to benefit from what is being done with it. It’s a simple track and it really works, there’s very little to write about because it works on such a simple level that trying to do it would complicate its appeal too much.

Considering the album is only around 38 and a half minutes long, it feels longer – not in a bad way, but the tracks are often very epic and drawn out, with lots of changes along with them contributing to that. largely. It’s always a nice thing when a band keeps a tight drive and keeps it from getting bloated with filler while not leaving you craving more or feeling dissatisfied.

The home stretch of “The Phoenix» is introduced by «twirl” with its synth-accented flairs and mellow vibe. This is probably the worst track on the album, I don’t particularly like the vocal approach, nor do I feel captivated by the way the song evolves, it’s surprisingly half-baked for a song on such a good developed album. It should be noted though that it took nine songs before any of them were disappointing. It’s by no means the worst song, but I can guarantee you that every time I come back to listen to the album (which I most definitely will) I’ll just skip it every time because it doesn’t contribute nothing to the whole experience, even with a neat little guitar solo near the end of the song.

So now we come to the final track, “Wake me up” which returns to a more nervous atmosphere and I am happy to report that it is one of the best tracks on the album. It’s exhilarating, it’s coherent, there’s a feeling of tension that fades towards the end of the piece. It could perhaps be a bit more typical for the album as it’s really rather grungy and a bit out of touch with the rest of what’s here, but it still does the album justice and feels suitably conclusive and well measured.

What exists in “The Phoenix” is a moving, transformative and varied album that would be an asset to any band’s repertoire, but more importantly, honors and glorifies the memory of the late Chester Bennington in a touching and thoughtful way. Chester is the final piece of the album’s puzzle, and in many ways, it’s the final piece of the puzzle of Chester. It does my soul good to know that this album will forever exist as a testament to him along with all of his others, and the band should be extremely proud to have delivered it in such a good way.

fly high Chesterfor your voice rests in the hearts of so many and forever resonates in the spirit of your music.

Produced by: Concord Records
Release date: July 17, 2022
Gender: Post-grunge, alternative rock

The musicians:

  • Chester Bennington / Voice
  • Sean Dowdell / Drums
  • Cristin Davis / Guitar
  • Macé Beyers / Bass

Tracklist “The Phoenix”:

  1. Saturation (strange love)
  2. Start to fly
  3. be your man
  4. Hold you
  5. Hole
  6. Slide
  7. Believe me
  8. anything, anything
  9. twirl
  10. Wake up

8.5


Excellent

“The Phoenix” is an exciting and haunting effort that honors Chester’s memory and showcases the talent of his former bandmates in a varied, intriguing and colorful display of Alt-Rock that is sure to touch the heart and soul. mind of all who listen to this.

  • song writing
    9

  • Musician
    9

  • Originality
    8

  • Production
    8

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