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Scott Stapp “Higher Power” Album Review by Scott Douglas

SCOTT STAPP solo

If Scott Stapp got Alter Bridge pregnant, would they not give birth to… Creed… ? No! Turns out the child of such a pairing would be Scott Stapp’s eponymous band. But it is impossible not to hear both Creed and Alter Bridge in this offering. It seems Scott Stapp has a type. 

 Oh, I’m so thankful for Scott Stapp for a number of reasons, and one of them is his apparently undying love for the Post-Grunge musical aesthetic. Much to my oldest daughter Brianna’s chagrin, I have a love-hate relationship with the late-80s/90s musical scene. Part of what made Grunge tolerable is that it spawned Post-Grunge; a very melodic, crunchy, emotive child of our beloved metal realm. 

Scott Stapp has famously been through a lot. His career and personal life have had intense ups and downs. He’s come through that refiner’s fire, (re) embraced his faith, grown and as we’re about to discuss, it shines through with his music. 

Higher Power begins his fourth solo album. Some things jump out at the listener immediately: Bass! The bass is not buried. It’s there rumbling in your ears. Thank you! The rhythm section is on-point as the drumming is nice and bombastic as well. Scott Stapp’s vocals are as powerful as ever and maybe… maybe better? His experiences and growth lend a gravitas to his voice. We’re off to a blistering start. 

Things do not let up at all with Deadman’s Trigger. It’s perhaps a bit less crunchy and metallic, but very melodic. The song is anthemic and the chorus is a powerhouse of melody and hooks. 

All things being equal (melody, songwriting, skill) I prefer faster, up-tempo music. Higher Power showcases something that draws me in with bands like Alter Bridge, Scott Stapp, Creed: Although most of their songs are mid-tempo or slower, I’m a huge fan because these bands are such good songwriters and so skilled with their instruments that I don’t notice the lack of hyper speed. They are able to create interest, power and heaviness with the way they write and perform their songs. 

What I Deserve highlights those attributes in spades and introduces the Scott Stapp novice to guitar wizard Yiannis Papadopolous. Heavy Metal has these interesting hot-beds of talent and Greece is one. Papadopolous blesses us with truly incredible solos and melody. What I Deserve is replete with emotion pulled from both musician and vocalist. 

If These Walls Could Talk ups the ante, if possible. Stapp and Dorothy’s Dorothy Martin pool their resources and bring them to bear in an incredibly powerful ballad. Martin evokes Stevie Nicks with her plaintive lower register and compliments Stapp perfectly while they draw you into the struggle and rise of someone who’s seen and done things they wish they hadn’t.

Just in the nick of time Black Butterfly pulls you out of the sweet gloom with another classic anthemic rocker. Papa-guitar (surely someone calls him that?) pounds the riffs along with the rest of the rhythm section and then rips off absolutely epic solos throughout. 

Whoa! Quicksand finds us squarely in Alter Bridge land. Quicksand sounds exactly like peak-era Alter Bridge with the pummeling riffs combined with expert melody, Stapp’s monster baritone and Yiannis’ nimble solos. Miles Kennedy’s vocals would be in a higher range, but that’s the only distinction I can make. **Note to reader: As my youngest daughter Dominique – an AB fanatic – can attest to, this is a good thing as I count Alter Bridge’s first three albums as an unbroken streak of perfection. The adrenaline is back to full tilt. 

Okay, I like faster metal and I don’t like it when bands put too many slow-tempo tunes into albums. With back-to-back-to-back slow jams You’re Not Alone, Dancing in the Rain and Weight of the World I would normally be annoyed about ending on a (s)low note, but these folks are just that good. Even when they slow way down, they do it with a great sense of theatricality and emotion. I know Stapp is heavily involved with lyrics and songwriting. He and his team receive high marks for their accomplishments on this album. 

From 1997-2010 Creed/Alter Bridge put together the most fantastic run of Post-Grunge the world has ever known. I simply cannot escape how Scott Stapp’s solo work so closely cleaves to the style of those bands. Higher Power is a worthy addition to that tradition.Stapp  seems like a man who has battled his demons and came through as a tougher more passionate version of his root self. Although not reaching the absolute heights of those aforementioned bands, this is still a very strong effort. 

Scott’s Score:  9/10

Pre-Order Higher Power HERE:

SCOTT STAPP album

Higher Power track listing:
1. Higher Power    
2. Deadman’s Trigger    
3. When Love Is Not Enough    
4. What I Deserve (feat. Yiannis Papadopoulos)
5. If These Walls Could Talk (feat. Dorothy)
6. Black Butterfly    
7. Quicksand (feat. Yiannis Papadopoulos)
8. You’re Not Alone    
9. Dancing in the Rain (feat. Yiannis Papadopoulos)
10. Weight of the World    

About SCOTT STAPP:
One of the most iconic voices in rock, SCOTT STAPP first emerged as the high-energy, post-grunge frontman of Creed. With anthems like “Higher,” “My Own Prison,” “My Sacrifice,” “One Last Breath” and “With Arms Wide Open,” the band sold over 55 million albums, including a Diamond certification. Throughout the early 2000’s, Creed broke airplay records, sold out arenas, earned countless Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards, and a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. As a solo artist, Stapp has released the Platinum-certified The Great Divide (2005), Proof of Life (2013) which featured his first solo #1, “Slow Suicide,” and 2019’s The Space Between The Shadows. In April 2024, Stapp will reunite with his Creed bandmates for the first time in a decade. 

Higher Power Tour US Dates: 
3/10/24 – Ponte Vedra Beach, FL @ Ponte Vedra Concert Hall
3/12/24 – Charleston, SC @ Charleston Music Hall
3/14/24 – Chattanooga, TN @ The Signal
3/15/24 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
3/18/24 – Nashville, IN @ Brown County Music Center
3/19/24 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom
3/21/24 – Omaha, NE @ Steelhouse Omaha
3/22/24 – Clear Lake, IA @ Surf Ballroom

SCOTT STAPP online:
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
TWITTER
NAPALM RECORDS

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