Album review: Scott Stapp – Higher Power

Troubled Creed frontman Scott Stapp stares down his demons on mostly hard rocking and unusually personal solo album…

Album review: Scott Stapp – Higher Power
Steve Beebee

In his first breath on Higher Power, Scott Stapp revisits the moment that he very nearly took his last. ‘Forty feet down falling headfirst off the edge,’ he snarls in the opening song, the title-track from the Creed frontman’s fourth solo release. He’s reliving, confronting and exorcising memories of that day in 2006 when he plunged from a Miami hotel balcony, suffering multiple injuries including a fractured skull. It wasn’t the end of the tormented singer’s battle with depression and addiction, but it was conceivably the lowest point.

On this album it’s clear that Scott is seeking to close a chapter. That title-track doesn’t repeat what’s gone before, musically; there’s a sheen of electronics pulsing through its dark, driving riffs, and there’s the kind of hook most artists of this ilk would gladly pay for. Although not every song on this ten-tracker can match this, Higher Power is obviously a type of confessional for Scott, one that the now older and wiser singer is mature enough to tackle head on.

It is, understandably, dark stuff. Deadman’s Trigger is another low slung, bitter rocker, Scott singing through gritted teeth about ‘Bodies… bodies torn apart’ while the more laid back What I Deserve is compelling in its disarming honesty. Greek guitar genius Yiannis Papadopoulos provides some florid soloing on a handful of tracks, rescuing a few of the less immediate numbers from mediocrity. It is the rather large number of mid-tempo ballads, mostly collected towards the end of the album, that stops it from being the outstanding return it might have been. Closer Weight Of The World is one of those, but its more positive, emergent lyrics are clearly words that Scott had to write.

Ultimately, this is his story and it’s great that he’s still around to tell it.

Verdict: 3/5

For fans of: Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Florence Black

Higher Power is released March 15 via Napalm

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