Could someone please tell me why Stone Temple Pilots are continuing to perform under their name? After "kicking out" Scott Weiland (who, by the way, founded and fronted the band) and replacing him with Chester Bennington, it's a mystery as to why they didn't change their name. For me, Stone Temple Pilots will forever be associated with 90's grunge and Weiland's Vedder-esque singing style, not with Chester's nasally "nu-metal" voice leading the band. One could say that they kept the name for popularity reasons, but plenty of bands have gotten new lead singers, changed their name and remained successful. Look at Alter Bridge or Audioslave, both of which retained commercial and critical success even with a different moniker. Some people will make the argument that the album is credited as Stone Temple Pilots (with Chester Bennington), but it doesn't matter. The first thing people will see are the words 'Stone Temple Pilots', when in reality this isn't a STP record.
It's clear by the opening track, and the first single that Stone Temple Pilots released with Bennington as vocalist, "Out of Time", that this is a completely different band. It's not a completely horrible song, but it's nothing more than standard post-grunge with average vocals. The DeLeo brothers' bass and guitar work aren't that much different, but Bennington's vocals aren't a great fit for the band. On songs like “Black Heart” or “Cry Cry”, it seems as if he's trying to imitate Weiland's vocal style, and the song suffers as a result.
Meanwhile, songs like “Same on the Inside” or “Tomorrow” are pretty decent alt rock jams, and contain both the hooks and the riffs that made them such a great band to begin with. The latter steals the riff from “Vasoline” in the verses, and as a result, makes the song a little too familiar than it should be. Luckily, its chorus is original and really shows off Chester’s vocal range, something which can also be said for “Same on the Inside”. The highlight of this EP, “Same on the Inside” has a hook that is one of the best that the Pilots have made in the last twelve years. DeLeo’s guitar riff is what drives the song to its high point, and Bennington's vocals fit in perfectly with his crunching guitarwork.
Overall, if you’re looking for a Stone Temple Pilots record, you’re not going to get one. Chester’s vocals are pretty different from Weiland, and whenever he tries to sing like him, the whole track suffers. But if you take High Rise
as a debut effort from a new group, it’s ultimately not that bad. Some songs are rather bland, and that’s mainly because Bennington’s vocals are rather weak on those tracks, but there are a couple of good tunes that make High Rise
more than a misfire.