Art Of Anarchy - 'The Madness'

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Art Of Anarchy - 'The Madness'

A compelling response to the debut.

Although the band was founded by twin brothers Jon (Guitar) and Vince (Drums) Votta, Art Of Anarchy has quickly become something of a (and a personally despised term) "super-group". Starting with the inclusion of ex-Guns 'N' Roses member Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, bassist John Moyer (from Disturbed), and the late Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver) on vocals, the self-titled debut caused heads to turn in the Hard Rock community. Soon after the album's release, however, Weiland quickly distanced himself from the band and left the remaining members floating in proverbial limbo. Surprisingly, the group persevered and has been awarded new life with another Scott at the microphone in the form of Scott Stapp, former front-man of the massively successful Creed.

The revitalized AOA combines their supreme talents with the end result being 'The Madness', an impressive album for a band clearly in need of some new energy. Not only is this a heavier affair than its predecessor, it possesses more focused and identifiable songs. Jon Votta's guitar work plays perfect foil to Thal's otherworldly chops; both shred with similar fanfare and their musicianship is more apparent than that featured on the debut. Overall, '...Madness' has very strong leanings to the late nineties Alternative Metal scene that harkens back to bands who dominated that decade with the likes of Tool ('A Light In Me,' 'No Surrender'), Candlebox ('Won't Let You Down' and 'Changed Man') as well as clear influences from each singer's prior ensembles ('Somber' and 'Dancing With The Devil').

Thankfully, the guitar pyrotechnics largely forgotten during that "Grungy" era are featured on most tracks. However, instead of dominating the music, the fret-board gymnastics are kept well in check, and provide an elegant spice to the excellent song-writing on display. The difference with the two albums boils down to the influence each singer has had on the band's personality. Weiland's contribution pushed the songs into a more experimental direction, whereas Stapp's presence has resulted in a much more accessible and memorable experience.

The current incarnation of Art Of Anarchy is very much a different band, with 'The Madness' being a compelling response to the debut. The album is impactful, sans filler and Stapp's influence clearly has produced an overwhelmingly positive result that will resonate with fans that run the gamut of the Alternative Rock/Metal spectrum.

Brent Rusche

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