I’m not too fond of supergroups personally. In my opinion, you can have all the talent in the world, but most of the time, whenever a supergroup releases an album, something is always wrong with it, with bands sinking so low to sound like every other band on the market and not showing exactly WHY they are the cream of the crop and why their band was one of the leaders of the genre the said supergroup members originated from. Such case can be said for Hellyeah and Velvet Revolver. No matter what anyone says, the original band that members were a part of before joining a supergroup are more than likely better when they were in their original band(Like how people say Slash was better in Guns N’ Roses rather than Velvet Revolver). But then we have supergroups like Army of Anyone.
When Richard Patrick of Filter was writing new material for the next Filter album, he called on DeLeo brothers Rob and Dean of the disbanded Stone Temple Pilots for help. The results: A Better Place. Then, the three would decide to form Army of Anyone. Shortly after this decision, they would ask experimental drummer Ray Luzier to audition after he left an impression on the DeLeo brothers with one of his sound checks at a show. So Luzier auditions for AoA, and he succeeded. AoA would record more than 30 songs in Patrick’s home studio. 11 would make their way to AoA’s self titled debut. Originally, the album was scheduled to drop in August ’06, but due to delays caused by personal issues, the album’s release date was altered to November 14.
There’s multiple sides to AoA presented in their debut. First, the melodic side, such as It Doesn’t Seem To Matter, Generation, Leave It, and Ain’t Enough. These tracks seem to be the songs that were well thought out and more structured songs. Dean’s guitar matches well with Richard’s vocal, while giving compliment and meaning to his vocal abilities in these songs. AoA also show off their intensity with Goodbye, Non Stop, and Father Figure. Here, the tempo and rhythm increases, with Richard Patrick delivering some harsh-yet-melodic and clean vocal tones. The only difference from these three: the Luizer drum solos in Goodbye and Non Stop. Then we have the acoustic/ballad side of AoA, with A Better Place and This Wasn’t Supposed To Happen. Dean DeLeo contributes well arranged acoustic and soft electric guitar work while Richard shows off his softer vocals over laid back bass lines and relaxed drumming, leaving an atmospheric feeling of serenity.
However, AoA leaves a sort of confused side with Disappear and Stop, Look, and Listen. Disappear is awkward, going from a slow pace, and then upping the tempo with little to no warning. Stop, Look, and Listen may be well structured musically, but the lyrics show no depth or variety to them, notably in the chorus. Even so, with these solid rock tracks, there’s nothing that gives AoA’s self titled a main core/focus. Also, AoA doesn’t really try anything new; everything that’s executed here is done flawlessly, but it’s still predictable coming from a commercialized rock band like AoA, and all of these tracks seem made radio friendly for the masses of teenagers and casual listeners alike.
Army of Anyone’s debut can be summarized as what would happen if Filter and Stone Temple Pilots combined forces. The album stays on one flow: nothing but solid hard rock. The playing styles mainly consist of an in-your-face intensity or melody over psychedelic licks and textures. Richard Patrick’s vocal has a softer approach, instead using a clean and melodic tone, Dean DeLeo still uses the same psychedelic grooves and textures that widened STP’s musical resume on each album following Purple(Take a listen to Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart to see what I mean). Rob DeLeo still delivers enjoyable bass lines that mix well with Dean’s guitar. Ray Luzier is pounding away at the skins and contributes something that makes AoA’s sound interesting. I don’t know what it is about Ray’s drumming, but something about his drumming mixed with the DeLeo’s talents and Patrick’s softer vocal is infectious and groovy. If you are a fan of Stone Temple Pilots or Filter, I recommend that you get this album.
3.75 out of 5