Art of Anarchy were thrown into upheaval right out of the starting blocks. Just as they were promoting their first release, vocalist Scott Weiland was distancing himself from the band. Weiland was quick to point out to anyone that would listen that his part in the project was as a hired hand and a one off. Weiland was prepping for his own solo album and tour. A tour that would see the death of one of his own band members as well as his own untimely demise.
Future vocalist, Scott Stapp formerly of Creed had his own issues. Various news outfits were carrying video clips of Stapp's bizarre rants about being tracked by the FBI and pleas to help him figure out a way to recover money that he said was stolen from his bank account. His family at the time was reaching out to the public to disregard the videos and to get the former rock star frontman some medical help. The videos continued for a few weeks until he eventually did get the help he needed to overcome the various issues he was dealing with.
Cut to the present. Art of Anarchy just released their sophomore effort, The Madness. While I wasn't quite convinced by their first release which I found was pretty bipolar. Between the somewhat diminished delivery of Scott Weiland and the much heavier sound of the band, it just didn't feel the band fit with the singer. The Madness is much a better mix of styles. Stapp's vocals are still quite strong at this stage in his career and that's exactly what is needed to match the firepower of Bumblefoot and company's performance. Art of Anarchy is much more than an outlet for former Guns N Roses guitarist's Bumblefoot to display his chops. This is not a John 5 style project where the guitarist is the focal point. It's truly a quality heavy rock band that's closer to metal than pop rock radio. Ironically, I found a few tracks on this album that echo the style of Alter Bridge, a band comprised of Mark Tremonti of Creed and Slash of Gun's n Roses. Maybe it's the pedigree. "Thousand Degrees" is a stand out track that will satiate the appetite of fans of bands like Creed, Shinedown and Alterbridge. While I'm honestly not quite sure if all or any of the tracks were written before Stapp joined the project, lyrics for songs like "Changed Man" and "The Madness" definitely reflect the events of Stapp's own life.
Overall this is a good heavy rock album. There is a nice blend of heavy and reflective tunes throughout. The band as a whole is a great combination of veteran players playing at the top of their game. The Madness at it's heart is an album about redemption. It's great to see that the band is much more than a footnote attached to the death of a fallen star. Art of Anarchy have risen from the ashes of a false start and have put their faith in a frontman who's been through his own personal hell and back. Best wishes to the future of the Art of Anarchy.