Up there with the likes of Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell and Layne Stayley, there can be no bigger recent loss to the world of rock music than that of Chester Bennington in 2017. A man whose words meant and still mean so much to his millions of fans the world over, Bennington’s passing is immeasurable. Like all of us, Grey Daze want to keep his flame burning strong and in 2020, the pre-Linkin Park band Bennington fronted released Amends, a collection of their work dating back to the early ’90s.
Rising with a new collection, The Phoenix, hearing Bennington’s unforgettable vocals on the stadium-sized opener “Saturation (Strange Love)” will send a shiver down your spine while the absolutely thumping “Starting To Fly” is equally as huge-sounding in a fist-pumping, anthemic ’90s rock kind of way. Continuing the pumping pace of The Phoenix, “Be Your Man” is a swaggering lump of alt-rock with the kind of chorus you could picture thousands of rock fans bellowing out. Following that, the first of three guest appearances shows up in the form of Janes Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro on the absolutely screaming rocker “Holding You.”
However, following Navarro’s full-throttles tones on “Holding You,” nothing can prepare you for “Hole,” a track which features Bennington’s two daughters, Lily and Lila. Now, if hearing their father’s voice on “Saturation (Strange Love)” didn’t set the emotions going, the appearance of the late frontman’s two daughters must surely kick you right in the feels. How the rest of the album can even attempt to follow that is anybody’s guess, but through the equally emotionally-charged “Drag” and the hauntingly heartbreaking “Believe Me,” where Grey Daze are joined by Filter frontman Richard Patrick, The Phoenix just continues to pull at all the heartstrings.
Upping the tempo for the foot-to-the-floor, balls-to-the-wall “Anything, Anything,” The Phoenix really is proving itself to be an album of “all killer and no filler” as the powerful “Spin” wrings out any remaining emotion before the guitar-slinging rock of “Wake Me” wraps up this truly great recording. Obviously, the selling point for this and, let’s face it, any Grey Daze work is going to be the Chester Bennington fodder. Taking it as a standalone album, The Phoenix hits the target over and over again. However, taking it as a tribute to the career of one of the most iconic frontmen in rock and The Phoenix becomes next-level beautiful.
The Phoenix Track Listing:
1. Saturation (Strange Love)
2. Starting to Fly
3. Be Your Man
4. Holding You (featuring Dave Navarro)
5. Hole (featuring Lily & Lila Bennington)
7. Believe Me (featuring Richard Patrick)
8. Anything, Anything
10. Wake Me
Run Time: 38:39
Release Date: June 17, 2022
Record Label: Loma Recordings