Disowned by Scott Weiland months prior to its release -- the vocalist dismissed it as a "side project" on a Facebook post and called it "a scam from the beginning" elsewhere -- Art of Anarchy don't seem to be a tossed-off busman's holiday on their eponymous 2015 debut. Certainly, the record is a heavier affair than Weiland's Blaster album of the same year -- that's only appropriate for a group built on the friendship of Guns N' Roses guitarist Bumblefoot and the Votta brothers, and features the bassist from Disturbed -- but he has a heavy presence on the record, responsible for the melodies and words and giving the grinding, heavy rockers a bit of a psychedelic lift. That fondness for turns of phrase from the Lennon and Bowie songbooks marks this album as the work of Weiland, but it's clear the rest of the band took this project seriously, buckling down to write muscular power ballads and dense post-metallic rockers, songs that seem part throwback to late-'90s post-grunge but have a millennial digital glint. Any listener attracted to Weiland at his heaviest -- a side he often eschews in solo projects, although he dabbled with it in Velvet Revolver -- will find this record a bit of a bracing surprise: perhaps it could've used some of the trashy glam swagger of Blaster, but its heavy swing works so well, all due to the charisma and hooks of its lead singer, it doesn't deserve to be disowned. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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