Art of Anarchy is a rock-n-roll ‘supergroup’ that was formed by Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver), John Moyer (Disturbed, bass) and Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Guns-N-Roses, guitar) along with twin brothers, Jon (guitar) and Vince Votta (drums) in 2015.
Their self-titled album combined the extremely talented vocal work of Weiland with the pure rock power of the other four members. The result was a masterful piece of work that never really got the credit it was due because of Weiland’s other project at the time with the Wildabouts. It seemed to be an afterthought for him and he never really vested the time that was needed to make the collaboration as successful as it could have been.
Unfortunately we’ll never know for sure where his heart was as far as AoA is concerned due to his untimely passing in December of the same year.
Jettison forward nearly a year-and-a-half later and the four surviving members of the band welcomed another iconic vocalist, Scott Stapp (Creed), into the fold. Yes, the same Scott Stapp who fell upon hard times in 2014 while fighting bipolar and substance abuse issues.
Stapp has fought the hard fight to try and exercise the demons that plagued his personal life and from where I sit, the man has done an amazing job in doing so. Although he may not sit atop the rock world like he once did as the front man of Creed, he appears to be well on his way to ascending towards reaching that level of success again. And AoA’s latest release ‘The Madness’ is definitely a positive first step in the right direction.
To me there is a definite distinction between Weiland’s effort and that of Stapp. Not that the former STP front man sounded bad on the initial album, but Stapp’s stamp on ‘The Madness’ is very distinct, not only with his vocals but also in the writing. It seems to be more personal and heartfelt, and you can tell he was enjoying what he was doing.
“Echoes of a Scream” is the opening track on the Century Media Records release that features Thal and Jon Votta showcasing their six (or twelve in Bumblefoot’s case) string prowess. The duo can lay down some heavy riffs and licks which is obvious in this power-filled album intro.
“1,000 Degrees” and “No Surrender” are an excellent bridge to the meat of the album, which begins with the fourth and title track. I’m not to saying the pair of tunes are a waste by any stretch. But just as it is for an engine to get up to speed, you have to have inertia in order to get there. The first is the type of song that gets the gas pumping while the second has the wheels moving forward. I envision both as a staple of a live performance that will build an audience into that frothy frenzy that any band is looking for.
“The Madness” is the beginning of what can only be determined as Stapp’s signature on the compilation. The words are poignant and they clearly convey what his struggles were and what his eventual way back is all about. “Won’t let You Down” needs no explanation and leads into what is my favorite four minutes of the album.
“Changed Man” is a power ballad in the ilk of those that allowed Creed to rise to superstardom. It can be interpreted as if he was asking for forgiveness from his wife or his even his fans. Whichever it is, I believe Art of Anarchy has most assuredly given him new life from a career standpoint. This tune is a monster in the making. In fact it took me several times of listening to it before I could make it to the remaining four pieces of work.
Once I did get to that point, the joy that filled my earholes continued with “A Light in Me”, “Somber”, “Dancing With the Devil” and “Afterburn”. In particular was the sound of “Dancing With the Devil” which had an eerie similarity to that of Weiland.
While I may have been focused on the return of Stapp for most of the article I’d be more than remiss in failing to make you fully aware of the abundant of talent that collaborates with him.
Thal and Jon Votta’s dueling role of guitar solos are what all rock albums should be made of. They complement each other with unbridled enthusiasm that is felt throughout the entire album. Meanwhile the rhythm section of Moyer and Vince Votta provide a tremendous in-your-face thumping that rivals that of a howitzer.
Collectively these five individuals have created an amazing rock-n-roll compendium that is worthy of not only being a part of your library but one that could easily be in your player of choice for a very long time.
My hope is that it’s just the beginning of what is many more to come! I’m giving it an 8-out-of-10, which means I highly recommend you pick it up today. Not only that but while you’re at it, get online and order a ticket for their upcoming tour which begins on Monday in Amityville, New York. I already have mine for the April 11th performance at Diesel Concert Lounge in Chesterfield, Michigan. Perhaps I’ll see you there.
Until the next time this is Big L saying ‘keep those horns up and rock on’!! \m/ \m/
ART OF ANARCHY TOUR DATES
4/3/17 – Amityville, N.Y. – Revolution Bar & Music Hall
4/4/17 – Asbury Park, N.J. – The Stone Pony
4/6/17 – Toronto, Ontario – Velvet Underground
4/7/17 – Sarnia, Ontario – Station Music Hall
4/8/17 – Battle Creek, Mich. – The Music Factory
4/10/17 – Libertyville, Ill. – Austin’s Saloon
4/11/17 – Chesterfield, Mich. – Diesel Concert Lounge
4/13/17 – Fort Wayne, Ind. – The Rusty Spur
4/14/17 – Ringle, Wisc. – Q&Z Expo Center
4/29/17 – Henderson, Nev—M Resort