Art Of Anarchy forges new path (and loses identity) in wake of Scott Weiland’s tragic death

Six months after Scott Weiland’s tragic death from a drug overdose in 
2015, Art of Anarchy found a replacement in Creed’s singer Scott Stapp. Now, Art of Anarchy’s second album, The Madness, represents a decidedly new direction for the group.

Their electrical and vibrant sound is gone and, in its place, is something heavier and lyrically-stronger. Personally, I was expecting an album where Scott Stapp would imprint its own character and drive the group into a place somewhere between Creed’s One Last Breath and Velvet Revolver’s Slither, where Stapp’s vocals would surface between an electric and menacing groove slowly growing in the background… but I was wrong.

The change in direction can be felt right from the start with ‘Echo of a Scream’ but remains consistent through the record. ‘The Madness’, ‘Somber’ and ‘A Light In Me’ represent particularly well their new path. The electrical sound of tracks like ‘Small Batch Whiskey’, ‘Grand Applause’ and ‘Superstar’ (from their self-titled record) is gone. Instead, Stapp’s powerful and deep voice drives Art of Anarchy to an involving and heavier sound.

Art of Anarchy’s electrical and vibrant sound is gone and, in its place, is something heavier and lyrically-stronger

Unfortunately, I believe the group failed in keeping its own identity through most of the album. In the Weiland’s era, you could always feel a Velvet Revolver-esque vibe, but in The Madness, almost half of the tracks (including ‘No surrender’, ‘Won’t Let You Down’ and ‘Changed Man’) could have been taken from a Creed’s album. Stapp’s undeniable involvement in the writing process brought their styles together and completely transformed the group’s style, but I would have loved to see something more unique and detached from their parallel groups.

In the end, The Madness is a consistent and surprising album that improves as it progresses leaving you curious for what they will have to offer in the future. Art of Anarchy strayed away from their previous work, but did so consistently from top to bottom. They evolved and adapted to Stapp’s style, and followed a different direction that may not please most of their fans, but will definitely render them new ones. Only time can tell. 3 out of 5 stars. MRR