Stone Temple Pilots return to form with ‘Meadow’

For the past two years, Stone Temple Pilots fans have faced plenty of uncertainty regarding the future of the iconic rock outfit. After the firing of Scott Weiland in 2013, Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington stepped in as lead vocalist. Bennington recorded an EP and briefly toured with the band before stepping down to focus on Linkin Park’s new album.

There was never a fear that Stone Temple Pilots would split as members Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo, and Eric Kretz were adamant they’d continue in spite of it all. The only questions were who’d assume the mantle of frontman and how long the search for that person would take.

All became clear at an intimate, invitation-only gig where the new lead vocalist was unveiled. Jeff Gutt, whom some may recognize from his recent stint on reality competition series “The X Factor,” beat out 15,000 prospective candidates and landed the coveted spot.

“It’s a strange feeling, but, at the same time, I’m blessed and very honored,” Gutt said. “It’s like joining the Led Zeppelin of my generation. I feel like I’m living in a movie.”

The band wasted no time and released a single entitled “Meadow” soon thereafter. “Meadow,” which serves as a formal introduction to the latest incarnation of the group, is a callback to the early ‘90s that any classic rock ‘n’ roll fan could appreciate.

A wave of nostalgia will sweep over longstanding Stone Temple Pilots admirers upon hearing the riff-laden track. It bolsters the infectious high-energy that flooded radio stations during the grunge era.

Full of grit and aggression, Gutt immediately makes an impression. At certain times, the Michigan-born rocker’s voice bares an uncanny resemblance to that of Scott Weiland’s. However, it is very clear that he is not attempting to imitate the singer who came before him. Gutt’s voice evokes remembrance of the band’s past, but he still stands as his own man.

With this stunning release, Stone Temple Pilots have made a statement: They’re back, and I’m chomping at the bit to hear what’s next.