by John Karnay
This is a published review for Army of Anyone originally posted on Zen Grooves.com.
Artist: Army of Anyone
Album: Army of Anyone
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Once upon a time there were bands that really rocked. Bands that could create platinum albums, fill huge arenas with almost no commercial radio play, and do so for less than twenty dollars per ticket. They had classic rock influences and bridged the gap between sixties folk, seventies rock and eighties metal. Sounds like a fairy tale these days, doesn’t it? These were the bands of the hard rock scenes that influenced the later part of the Twentieth century. Guns n’ Roses, Rage against the Machine, Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam were just a few of the major headlining bands gearing up to earn legendary status next to Led Zeppelin, The Stones and the Beatles by 1994. Unfortunately for this era of music; egos, dissension, and drug use drove most of these bands to fall apart before achieving truly legendary status. Copycat groups and novelty acts ranging the gambit from Rap Rock to Creed attempted to fill the musical gap left in their absence. Almost fifteen years later, amidst of a tidal wave of pop punk and emo, some of the remaining members of these prematurely ended rock behemoths are attempting to regroup and jigsaw their careers back together through collaboration. Thus the term “Super Group” was reborn. Army of Anyone epitomizes most of the strengths and weaknesses in this categorization.
In 2003, Scott Weiland announced he was leaving Stone Temple Pilots after two years without a new album. This unofficially resulted in the dissolving of the group. Dean and Robert Deleo, the guitarist and bassist respectively for STP, who were responsible for the bulk of the song writing credit, were without a band. After three years of stagnancy, the brothers offered to help out Filter front man and friend, Robert Patrick on tracks for what was to be the new Filter CD. Three days later Army of Anyone was formed. After listening in on a sound check for David Lee Roth, drummer Ray Luzier was added to the roster.
The opening track of the self titled album “It Doesn’t Seem to Matter” has a strong hard rock groove, with a chorus reminiscent of Zed Zeppelin’s “Out on the Tiles”. Patrick’s fairly high vocal range evokes Robert Plant on a number of other tracks, including “Disappear”, giving even more reason for this sort of comparison. “Disappear” also features one of the more extensive and Jimmy Page influenced guitar solos in Dean Deleo’s career.
The first single released from the CD is “Goodbye”, is a powerful, melodic and driving track revisiting the feel of earlier STP songs such as “Vasoline” and “Sex Type Thing”. The minute and thirty seconds instrumental conclusion of the song highlights the unsung hero of the band, Ray Luzier. The drum fills during this section and through out the entire album would bring a smile to the face of John Bonham. Unfortunately, on this track Dean Deleo leaves us pretty hungry for more, as his guitar solo seems to end prematurely. Be sure to give this section a listen to with a good pair of headphones and you will not be disappointed.
Not surprisingly, the Army of Anyone CD is reminiscent of early STP with all the influences that were inclusive to that group. Patrick does an excellent job at applying his stylized vocals without falling into the trap of mimicking former STP front man, Scott Wieland. Patrick’s voice is softer and more ethereal, bringing forth memories of early Pink Floyd in places. Not unrelated, AOA chose Pink Floyd producer Bob Ezrin to work with them. Check out the track “A Better Place” for a real taste of Pink Floyd.
Other tracks that highlight Army of Anyone’s heavy groove roots are “Generations”, ”Ain’t Enough” and “Father Figure”. All of these tracks exhibit strong song writing skills and great melodies, while still managing to pound their grooves into you like a pile driver.
Overall, the Army of Anyone album is musically one of the best efforts in the careers of its illustrious members. The one downside being that neither the Deleo brothers nor Patrick seems to have the star power to fill the iconic shoes of past front man Scott Weiland. This has hurt the overall commercial reception of the album. As of this writing the band has no plans of releasing a second album so enjoy these eleven tracks.
Check out these truly excellent tracks by Army of Anyone: