More about: Grey Daze
Before there was Linkin Park, there was Grey Daze, a formative band for one of the most recognisable voices in modern rock: Chester Bennington, who took his own life in July 2017. Grey Daze’s back catalogue is long out of print, notoriously hard to track down and conspicuously absent from streaming sites. It might surprise you to hear, then, that Amends is actually the band’s third album.
Amends represents the fulfilment of one of Bennington’s final wishes - prompted by an out-of-the-blue phone call from Bennington to drummer Sean Dowdell suggesting the band should reunite. Of course, that concert never came to be, but there did happen to be an entire album’s worth of recorded vocals from Grey Daze’s heyday in the archives. Drafting in the help of a series of musicians Bennington had a great deal of respect for, Grey Daze finished those songs and Amends is the final result.
'Sickness' hits the ground running, establishing the tone for things to come excellently – it's no wonder this was chosen as the album’s lead single. Showing Bennington’s versatility expertly, with reverberating guitar work to accent proceedings. 'Sometimes' also represents an early break from the angst the majority of Amends is drenched in, offering a lyrical glimmer of hope against songs like 'The Syndrome' or 'Morei Sky'.
'What’s In The Eye' is one of the album’s highlights, with clean guitar giving way to a wall of sound that more than appropriately matches the chorus’ plaintive tone. Not all of Bennington’s showboating vocals entirely work here, but it doesn’t come across as indulgent, but rather, explorative.
'The Syndrome' could easily have been a Minutes to Midnight B-side, aping the effortless mix of arena-filling choruses and more melancholic, minimal verses weaponised for big crowd singalongs. It’s funny to think this same formula took Linkin Park to stratospheric heights almost 10 years after Grey Daze broke up.
It’s interesting how much it sounds like Bennington is exploring the limits of his own voice throughout Amends because on 'In Time' he seems so firmly in control. It must be sickening for other rock vocalists to hear. It's in sharp contrast to 'Just Like Heroine', whose refrain has not aged well. It might have seemed edgy then, but feels try-hard in the cold light of 2020.
Thankfully, 'B12' is the only major miss in Amends’ track list (any of the joke songs on Mmm… Cookies (Sweet Hamster Like Jewels From America) would have been preferable).
'Soul Song' is another clear single candidate: it's astonishing just how well Jaime Bennington's vocal complements his late father’s, especially given he himself is older recording now than his father was when he recorded originally in the mid-late 90s.
'Morei Sky' is a song whose central chorus practically predicted one of Linkin Park’s biggest hits 'In The End', with an all too familiar theme in its chorus: “If I had a second chance, I’d make amends / Only to find myself losing”.
Amends is a fascinating time capsule, passionately and faithfully delivered without feeling like it's selling out, or worse still, cashing in. It's a striking example of a posthumous album done right. A curiosity for most, a goldmine for many, Amends presents a youthful sounding Chester in his prime, exploring the limits and range of his own voice throughout the album’s runtime.
Amends comes across as a key moment in Bennington’s development as a singer, creating a confident, unmatched style that only took him from strength to strength across Linkin Park, Dead By Sunrise and Stone Temple Pilots.
Amends arrives 26 June via Loma Vista
More about: Grey Daze