Rock | Post Grunge
Close to three years ago now, we lost one of the most almighty voices in modern metal; that of course being the LINKIN PARK vocalist and frontman, Chester Bennington. His passing unfortunately arrived due to Bennington’s own mental health issues, and it shook the entire rock scene to its core.
That being said, there have been a few artists who have made attempts to create projects that either have a contextual relationship with Chester, or include a posthumous feature from the vocalist. Two of the most prominent examples that I can think of, right off the top of my head, would be the 2018 album Post Traumatic, which was created by fellow LINKIN PARK member and rapper Mike Shinoda, and covered Shinoda’s battle with grief and loss. The other example is the fantastic single from Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton, titled “Cross Off”, which was recorded with Chester before his passing.
However, after looking into the history of Chester Benningtons musical career a little deeper, I was able to discover a band that predates Chesters comeuppance in LINKIN PARK; and that band was called Grey Daze.
In the time that Chester played with Grey Daze, they were able to complete three albums; those being 1993’s Demo, 94’s Wake/Me, and …no sun today in 1997. It was following the third album, that Chester left the band to ultimately pursue his big break with LINKIN PARK.
And while, over 20 years on, Amends is the only Grey Daze album available on Spotify, the only thing it is “only” with, would be the posthumous inclusion of Bennington’s vocals. However, while this album brings us the most insight into Chester musically for a few years now, Amends was able to be released as complete-sounding as it is, with the help of some guest vocals from Chester’s own son, Jamie Bennington.
As a result of how this album was crafted, Amends serves as a project that carries a completely unique level of nostalgia; one that I feel no other album ever will be able to replicate, given the entire situation behind the project. When you combine all of the important aspects; that this album was made with old vocals, from a much younger Chester Bennington, the reunion of a band that predated LINKIN PARK, and the way that the band have musically managed to keep the post-grunge spirit, one should not struggle in realising just how genuine and heartfelt the whole project is.
But with all of the situational gravitas behind this album, I personally found it difficult to take myself out of the contextual side of the album, and found it more challenging than usual to get immersed in the music itself.
It also left me questioning my honesty about how I truly felt about the songs individually, and ultimately had to adopt a mindset of Grey Daze having no affiliation with Chester in order to organise my thoughts on what the album’s highlights were.
And indeed, thanks to this album being one of the truest to classic 90’s post-grunge in a very long time, there were still unfortunately a few moments on the album that felt quite underwhelming. Although coming away from this record, I still found myself enjoying the majority.
I also enjoyed how this album wasn’t leaning in either direction towards being too heavy, or too graceful; its a very good balance of the two, and only furthers the already genuine nature of the record.
And it should really go without saying, but even in a posthumous, early recording state, Chester’s vocals remain as phenomenal as ever, and has no trouble at all with carrying such a raw sense of emotion over to the listener. While fans remember this emotion washing over them as teenagers forming a bond to LINKIN PARK, we now find ourselves with that same energy after coming of age; oh how far we have come.
Favourite Tracks: Sickness | What’s In The Eye | The Syndrome
Least Favourite Track: Just Like Heroin
Sean Dowdell, Mace Beyers and The Chester and Talinda Bennington Family Trust | Loma Vista Recordings | Concord