Grey Daze – Amends
Released: June 26th, 2020
Chester Bennington // vocals
Christin Davis // guitar
Sean Dowdell // drums
Mace Beyers // bass
I still think one of the saddest losses in rock is Chester Bennington. I’m a LP fan and his death really shook me. It still does. I actually can’t listen to LP without a little tear in my eye. I don’t know what it is, other artists have died by their own hand and I have always dealt with it but something about Chester really gets to me.
Maybe it’s because the way Mike Shinoda and the rest of the band got around Chester’s family and sought to protect his legacy at all costs, that his death will not be in vain, and that we can learn something from it. “Fuck Depression,” as they said. And one of the ways they have honoured Chester was to go back to something that he was working on before he died, some unfinished business to attend to.
Before Chester joined Linkin Park, he was in a band called Grey Daze from 1994 to 1998. They were a hybrid of grunge and a little bit of industrial and for whatever reasons, didn’t quite make it. They had their fans I’m sure, but Grey Daze went the way a lot of bands of that era did. A couple of years later, he joined a band called Linkin Park and their debut album sold over 10 million copies. Such is life.
Back in 2017, Chester reached out to his former bandmates and offered to go into the studio to re-record some vocals, do some remixing and release their songs. Only a couple of tracks were done before Chester died, however the remaining members of Grey Daze with the help of LP (with videos directed by Chester’s son, Jaime) have put together a fitting time capsule of where he was before he became the lead singer of one of the biggest bands in the world.
Firstly, that voice. One of the most unique in rock history. It’s all there, from his crooning to his screaming, Chester Bennington is in full flight and all over Amends. However Grey Daze sound nothing like LP. And yet, if Grey Daze had not broken up the world would not have heard that voice. Amends is a fine record, albeit an album of its time. The first track, ‘Sickness‘” sounds a lot like Filter and Nine Inch Nails. And that’s the thing with Amends; it sounds like a lot of what was popular in rock at the time. ‘Sometimes‘ sounds a bit like Days of the New. Grey Daze wear their influences on their sleeves. They are clearly influenced by the aforementioned artists as well as Soundgarden. You can tell that Chester loved Soundgarden and Chris Cornell which is doubly sad.
I do not want to damn this release with faint praise because you can feel the intention in this album. It is a snapshot of a time and an artist becoming something. However, because Amends sounds like other bands from that era, it doesn’t quite stand out from the crowd. The songs are fine with ‘B12‘, ‘Soul Song‘ and ‘Shouting Out‘ (with some great vocals from Jodi Wendt) being the standouts, but they don’t stand out the way Mike Shinoda’s and Brad Delson’s songs did.
And that’s probably why Grey Daze never got any music released until now. The music business is a very fickle industry. Why does Grey Daze not get a release, but Linkin Park sell millions of records? Grey Daze would’ve found their fans, but would they have been as big as Linkin Park? We just don’t know. All I can say is, if Grey Daze had been picked up, we never would’ve gotten the incarnation of LP that we all fell in love with. I feel that they sounded too much like other bands of that era in a time when grunge and alternative rock was starting to wane. Nu-metal was on the rise and GD were probably a little out of step.
Amends is worth a listen as it’s a pretty decent record, however, unless you are a Chester Bennington completist and have to own everything that he and the other members of LP did, then go and get it. It’s something that wouldn’t be out of place in a Linkin Park boxset. It does not sound like a bunch of demos, but a completed album, however it does not jump out at you like Hybrid Theory did when it first came out in 2000. That’s not saying it’s bad, just understand that you are listening to a completely different sounding artist. As I said before, it’s a snapshot. I can only commend Chester’s family and the members of LP and Grey Daze for putting this together.
Grey Daze – Amends tracklisting
3. What’s In The Eye
4. The Syndrome
5. In Time
6. Just Like Heroine
8. Soul Song
9. Morei Sky
10. She Shines
11. Shouting Out