With the upcoming 5th anniversary of Chester Bennington‘s passing, the release of Phoenix comes at an apropos moment in time. Grey Daze first formed in 1991 in Phoenix, Arizona and was Chester’s band before Linkin Park. While this is their forth release, this is the second posthumous album for the band and all ten of the tracks on this album were originally recorded in 1994 and 1997 and were hand picked for this project from those recordings. The recording was done at Sunset Sound Recorders and exclusively produced by Esjay Jones for Loma Vista Records.
The first track is “Saturation (Strange Love) and hits like a Mack truck. The first thing I noticed was the youthfulness in Chester’s voice. He was just 17 years old when some of the vocal tracks were recorded and the angst driven, youthfulness of his voice shines through in every track. That, combined with the power of the newly recorded musical track is a perfect throwback to the energy that was the 90’s musical movement. Every track is so good and flawlessly assembled under the watchful eyes of drummer Sean Dowdell, Chester’s widow Talinda Bennington and the rest of the band. Special guest musicians include guitarists Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction) and Richard Patrick (Filter/Nine Inch Nails) and vocalists (and daughters) Lily and Lila Bennington. This rounds out the sound and brings an extra flavor into the mix.
“Holding You” brings in guitar virtuoso Dave Navarro. Dave’s guitar intro set the pace for this track which is a little slower and a little more psychedelic in it’s sound until the crisp clean guitar solo hits about three quarters of the way in. I think this track would bring a huge smile to Chester’s face seeing how he cited Jane’s Addiction as a major influence.
“Believe me” brings in guitarist Richard Patrick. Also cited as an influence, Richard seamlessly blends his hard rocking guitar riffs into the mix rounding out that perfect 90s sound that is just a poignant today as it was then. I guess that is the beauty of music, while trends are circular, true classics will always be a constant. Richard’s guitar playing in this track brings the nostalgia while also sounding fresh and modern at the same time.
One of my personal favorite tracks is “Hole” featuring his daughters singing the chorus and the nursery rhyme intro. I just find the the addition of his daughters in the mix makes this an enduring track. I think Chester would be very proud of this one especially. That being said, it’s actually pretty hard to nail down one, two or even three tracks that stand out. Every track is amazing in it’s own right and I do not say that lightly. This is one of those albums that, if I was making a playlist for a road trip, I would be able to pick any random song off this and not be disappointed in my selection. I guess that is the true sign of a classic album.
If you are or ever have been a Linkin Park fan or a fan of the 90s rock music, this is the album for you. The nostalgia is real and so is this album. The sheer love that was poured into this project is overwhelming, and it shows. As of writing this, I have now listened to it at least 10 times back to back and it just keeps getting better. Chester’s legacy is alive and Grey Daze are proving it.
I am giving it 11/10 stars because 11 is more than 10 and it’s well deserved.
Order your copy here
1.) Saturation (Strange Love)
2.) Starting To Fly
3.) Be Your Man
4.) Holding You (featuring Dave Navarro)
5.) Hole (featuring Lily & Lila Bennington)
7.) Believe Me (featuring Richard Patrick)
8.) Anything, Anything
10.) Wake Me
Gray Daze are :
Chester Bennington – Vocals
Sean Dowdell – Drums
Mace Beyers – Bass
Cristin Davis – Guitars
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