How do you pay tribute to one of the most recognisable vocalists of a generation? When Kurt Cobain passed away nobody seemed to know the perfect way to pay respect with musical tributes. The result was just a few underground compilation albums that featured various bands paying tribute to the music of Nirvana.
The same can no longer be said though about Chester Bennington. As his hardcore fans would know Bennington was working with his original band – post-grunge outfit Grey Daze – in the months before his tragic passing. The ideas were to get Grey Daze back doing shows and to also go over the thirty-five tracks that had been lying idle for over twenty-years and turn them into a new album.
Well, Bennington may have passed but the guys from Grey Daze decided after a break to keep going with the project he so badly wanted out there. Now we have Amends, the first eleven tracks of the thirty-five to be released. The result is an amazing tribute that only further shows what a genius Bennington was with both his vocals and his lyrics.
There is a true amazingness to Amends. Picking out the best tracks is nearly impossible because every track has its own kind of greatness. Opening track “Sickness” is reminiscent of the later more electronic Linkin Park tracks while Bennington’s vocals are very similar to what he delivered on the Queen Of The Damned soundtrack.
Then there are the thought-provoking lyrics of tracks like “Soul Song” (which feature the vocals of Chester’s son Jamie on it) and “Morei Sky”, the latter taking on an even more haunting feeling as Bennington declares ‘if I had a second chance.’ That same haunting feeling is also present on “The Syndrome” which closes with Bennington asking ‘are you happy?’
One of the things that makes Amends so special though is the rawness that surrounds the songs. Yes, the instrumentals have been re-worked but these are the vocals that Bennington laid down when he was just twenty-one. You hear that rawness shine though on the vocals several times – it is there as he teams up with Marcos Curiel from P.O.D. on “What’s In The Eye.”
That same rawness is also present on “She Shines” which features the work of Head from Korn and Jasen Rauch from Breaking Benjamin. Perhaps though it is never more present than it is on the sensational “Just Like Heroin” which features some blood-curdling screams from Bennington that prove to be some of his finest work.
Amends is a truly amazing album. The true genius of Chester Bennington shines through on so many of the tracks and there is little wonder that the rest of Grey Daze wanted this music out for the world to hear. One listen to this album and you will view the work of Bennington in a whole new light.