Grey Daze – ‘Amends’ review: lost album from Chester Bennington’s former band is a reminder of his singular talent

Scrubbed from the internet following Linkin Park's explosion, Bennington's former bandmates have reimagined their grunge-inspired tunes for 2020

Before there was Linkin Park, there was Grey Daze. Helmed by the same frontman, the late Chester Bennington, the former’s gigantic 2000 debut ‘Hybrid Theory’ remains one of the best-selling albums of all time and sparked a rock revolution. But it came at a price for former band, Grey Daze. The two-grunge inspired albums they released prior to their 1998 split were caught up in record label politics and scrubbed from the internet for nearly two-decades.

New release ‘Amends’ rights that wrong, cherry-picking the very best of Grey Daze’s back catalogue and reworking it around Chester’s original vocal recordings to make it relevant for 2020. More than a simple posthumous record that throws out whatever scraps are lying about, Chester was the one who initiated the Grey Daze reunion in 2016 and planned to rerecord his vocals for ‘Amends’ when he was done touring Linkin Park’s final album ‘One More Light’ in 2017.

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Of course ‘Amends’ is a heart-wrenching record. Sean Dowdell, Grey Daze’s co-founder told NME that, “’Morei Sky’ sounds like an apology from beyond from Chester in retrospect of the events of losing him,” which makes for uncomfortable listening, while the blistering ‘Soul Song’ deals with what comes next. Chester’s son Jaime directed the video, exploring “my literal experiences with the elusive and, at times, incomprehensible presence of my father after death,” while the closing pomp of ‘Shouting Out’, a slow-burning arena rock anthem, ends with a voicemail message from Chester himself. This is an album unafraid of its heavy emotional weight.

But rather than dwell on loss, ‘Amends’ celebrates the wild extremes of living. The opening snarl of ‘Sickness’ is all moody grunge but deals with the aspirational reach of wanting more, ‘Sometimes’ always wants to look on the bright side of life and the stomping ‘The Syndrome’ offers a supporting hand in the dark, “Tell me how you feel / It doesn’t matter when you’re down,” sings Chester. ‘B12’, which features Korn’s James ‘Munky’ Shaffer and Brian ‘Head’ Welch, is a snarly, crunching march of nu-metal angst and rapid-fire defiance that precedes The 1975’s 2018 anthem ‘Love It If We Made It’ with lyrics like: “Ku Klux Klan makes a plan/To destroy the Black man/Air pollution, no solution / What is causing this confusion?”

A great modern rock record fronted by one of the best vocalists in the game, ‘Amends’ echoes the raw angst that made Chester a superstar with those early Linkin Park albums but also leans into his desire to speak to as many people as possible. Adding to his legacy but dealing in more than cheap nostalgia, ‘Amends’ is a powerful record that offers comfort, motivation and a sense of belonging.

Details

  • Release date: June 26
  • Record label: Loma Vista
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