Art of Anarchy
Release Date: March 24, 2017
Formed in 2011, Art of Anarchy got off to a complicated start. Comprised originally of brothers Jon and Vince Votta, Disturbed’s Jon Moyer, and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal alongside vocalist Scott Weiland, their debut album was met with mixed reaction largely due to Weiland’s public denial of his role in the band. While I initially felt that we had heard the last of this supergroup, they returned with The Madness, and new vocalist Scott Stapp. And what a return. What a return.
The Madness is not at all what I expected. Right from the start, it’s got that huge, crisp sound with just a little bit of edge that I am a total sucker for. Where Weiland took the songs on the first album into darker, more alternative territory, Stapp does exactly the opposite here. Stapp helps these songs rise up into anthems. “Echo of a Scream,” “A Light in Me,” and “Dancing With the Devil” are as anthemic as they come and you can’t help but smile and sing along.
This album is far from a one trick pony though. The brilliant guitar work on “Won’t Let You Down” takes you from technical to riff heavy seamlessly, while “1,000 Degrees” is a heavier-edged stomper with a headbanging chorus.
“Changed Man” and “The Madness” are the highlights here in my opinion though. They are both spectacular lyrically and it makes them really easy to connect with. “Changed Man” is a desperate plea for reconciliation that comes in the form of a big, Creed style, arena rocker. It’s an emotional roller coaster that you’ll say you don’t like and then secretly listen to over and over. Meanwhile, “The Madness” seemingly deals with Stapp’s very public battle with his mental health. It’s a brave tune that is brought to life by some fearless guitar work and a rhythm section that would make the Scorpions jealous.
Everything about this album is inspired sounding, from Stapp’s powerful, perhaps career defining, performance to the musical void the songwriting fills. The Madness is an easy contender for Album of the Year and goes a long way in reminding fans how great of a vocalist Stapp can be and how underutilized Thal was in GNR, among other things. The songs here are very intimate lyrically and the deeper it gets the more the songs soar. If you love anthems then this is an album you do NOT want to miss.
Reviewed by mark1340