Review: Art of Anarchy Album Featuring Scott Weiland and Bumblefoot

Art of Anarchy Combines Heavy Metal Songs with Weiland's Chameleonic Vocals

Art of Anarchy. Promo Photo: Catherine Asanov.

Art of Anarchy was announced in January 2015 as a hard rock 'super group' featuring former Stone Temple Pilots/Velvet Revolver singer Scott Weiland, solo artist/Guns N' Roses' guitarist Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal, Disturbed bassist John Moyer, and twin brothers Jon and Vince Votta on guitar and drums respectively. Weiland provides his signature cameleon-like vocals for this metal edged album which at times is reminiscent of his work with Velvet Revolver. The instrumental tracks were recorded, produced and engineered by Bumblefoot at his New Jersey studio, while Weiland's vocals were recorded separately at his Los Angeles studio with recording engineer Doug Grean. Although the manner in which Weiland recorded AoA's vocals may seem like a long-distance isolated effort, Weiland recorded his vocals for Stone Temple Pilots' 2010 self-titled album in the exact same manner. AoA has been compared to many different bands. One way to describe their sound would be, 'What would Metallica sound like with Scott Weiland as their frontman?' Regarding AoA's sound Bumblefoot recently told Revolver, "This has a foundation of Metallica/Megadeth style metal." 

Regardless of how the album was recorded or who they sound like, Art of Anarchy's album showcases what Bumblefoot (I call him Ron) described as "combining different people that normally you don't see together" in our recent exclusive interview. The album begins with Ron playing Spanish-style acoustic guitar on the instrumental "Black Rain". This segues into the heavy guitar groove song "Small Batch Whiskey" which features a guitar "talkbox" effect (also used on Aerosmith's "Walk This Way" and Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart") which compliments Weiland's vocals perfectly. On "Small Batch Whiskey" and throughout the entire album Ron Thal and Jon Votta trade off guitar solos. For this album review Ron sent a detailed list of who played which solos on the album including the start times for each solo in each song. (Look below this review for Ron's 'who-played-what' guitar solo list).

The ballad "Get On Down" features shimmering guitar work and multi-layered Weiland vocal harmonies. Although Weiland has distanced himself from the band since January, it is evident that he put a lot of time and effort into his vocals. "Grand Applause" is a hard-charging rocker with a blistering Bumblefoot guitar solo and some of album's most intricate drumming. First single "Til The Dust Is Gone" is the album's standout track. It combines quiet verses, sing-along power chord choruses, tasteful Spanish-style acoustic guitar breaks, and lush synthesizer string orchestration. "Death Of It" is a power ballad with a quiet verse/loud chorus dynamic, a Metallica-style bridge section, and scorching guitar solos.

On the melodic riff-rock song "Aqualung" (not the Jethro Tull song) Weiland curiously sings on the pre-chorus, "On and on, I sing this song trying to listen to the music/Play the game, it's a passion play, either change it or rearrange it" — as if he's writing lyrics about writing the song's lyrics. Weiland lays to rest any doubts about his current vocal abilities with every song on the album. None of Weiland's vocals ever sound 'phoned in' and he gives his best effort on each song, which were given to him as instrumentals without vocals. Despite the fact that this album was a bi-coastal effort, it sounds remarkably cohesive.

"Long Ago" is one of the mellower songs on the album with chiming guitars, synth strings, and some of Weiland's most personal lyrics on the entire album. He sings, "Tried to live/Tried to die/Never was one to give up inside." Album closer "The Drift" finds Weiland shouting over heavy, stomping verses and crooning throughout the choruses. Ron's fretless guitar solo this song sounds slightly like Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. The song ends with 20 seconds of pure heavy metal instrumental fury.

Although the future of Art of Anarchy as a band is currently uncertain, their self-titled album is a successful blend of five musically diverse musicians coming together as a unit for 11 unique songs. Whether the band continues will be figured out sometime in the future. For now Art of Anarchy is an album that's out in the world for people to enjoy for many years to come.

Art of Anarchy's self-titled album is out now on Century Media Records.

Watch Art of Anarchy's "Til the Dust Is Gone" official video and Behind The Scenes footage.

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal and Ron Votta traded off guitar solos on the Art of Anarchy album. Here's the 'who-played-what' breakdown:

1. "Black Rain" - Ron played the instrumental acoustic guitar solo.

2. "Small Batch Whiskey" - Ron plays a short fretless guitar solo around 2 minutes (m) 03 seconds (s), Jon takes the main solo at 3m05s.

3. "Time Everytime" - Jon solos at 2m42s.

4. "Get On Down" - Ron takes the first solo at 0m54s, Jon solos at 1m57s, Ron plays the outro solo from 3m06s until the ending.

5. "Grand Applause" - Ron solos at 3m07s.

6. "Til the Dust Is Gone" - Ron plays both acoustic solos.

7. "Death Of It" - Jon starts the solo at 2m35s, Ron takes the end of the solo at 2m57s.

8. "Superstar" - Ron does the guitar intro, Jon plays the guitar solo at 2m39s. Ron does the outro solo starting at 3m58s that fades out.

9. "Aqualung" - Jon does the solo at 2m35s.

10. "Long Ago" - no solo.

11. "The Drift" - Ron does a fretless guitar solo at 2m27.

Thanks to Bumblefoot for providing this list.