Release Date: Mar 31, 2015
Record label: Universal
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Neo-Psychedelia, Hard Rock, Post-Grunge
For all his success, there’s always been something a little anonymous about Scott Weiland, as evidenced by his beginnings with grunge/alt. rockers Stone Temple Pilots and latter-day work with the Guns N’ Roses-pedigreed Velvet Revolver. Following on from the latter, Weiland has continued to produce work that’s neither “classic” stadium fodder nor more thoughtful alt.rock, but something that’s unsatisfyingly neither and both.
Scott Weiland spent so much time as a one-trick pony. Even in his softest work with Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, his tunes could be best described as “guitar-heavy” and “furry.” Blaster is no different, though he has gone more glam than before. By the standards of the Weiland of old, Blaster falls softly short; its best flavors come from the handful of new touches.
With Stone Temple Pilots, Scott Weiland was one of grunge's greatest singers, crooning and growling in equal measure. His husky howls were also one of the super-ingredients in Velvet Revolver. But on most of Blaster, Weiland's first all-new solo album since 2008, he suffers from a bad case of Generic Rock Voice, firing off gravelly clichés like, "In the nick of time/I was taken by surprise by this girl of mine" ("Amethyst").
Emerging from a seven-year semi-hiatus -- one broken for the release of Christmas and covers albums, plus a flirtation with playing in a band called Art of Anarchy with Bumblefoot -- Scott Weiland returns to action with Blaster, the first record he's cut with a new backing band called the Wildabouts. The supporting cast may be new but the sounds remain the same: he's still enamored of the heavy metal, glam, and psychedelia that have formed his signature since the glory days of Stone Temple Pilots. With such a familiar palette, details matter and the aptly titled Blaster lacks in subtlety.
Scott Weiland has been through the mill —marital troubles, drug rehabs, breakups with Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver — but he’s back with a low-key and surprisingly decent album featuring his new band. The Wildabouts aren’t particularly wild, but they’re dedicated disciples of ’70s rock: the theme of this virtual homage LP, which opens with the hard-rock grind of “Modzilla,” an effective play on Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla. ” The crunching “Bleed Out” has riff-heavy, Aerosmith-style hooks; “Beach Pop” echoes David Bowie, and the arena-rocking “White Lightning” could be a Peter Frampton tune.