Before Stone Temple Pilots, before Linkin Park, and before his tragic passing in 2017, Chester Bennington belonged to the band Grey Daze. It was the original breeding ground of ideas that would later help catapult him to fame. Now, over three years since his passing, the remaining bandmates came together to release Amends…Stripped. With the release, Grey Daze included an illustrated album stream that features sand art, which was included to add to the fragile, stripped-down songs with some movement. The bands’ creative process was recorded in a mini-series documentary which highlights all the helpers and inspiration behind the work, as well as highlights of their late bandmate.
This EP includes Bennington’s original vocals combined with redone instrumental tracks; the only exception is “The Syndrome”, which was actually recorded in 1997 on an improvised group session. This piece includes original guitarist Bobby Benish, who had died of brain cancer back in 2004, which makes it even more sentimental (and my personal favorite). Bennington’s unique, pain-ridden voice is perfectly placed at the heart of each song, especially in “The Syndrome”.
In an interview with NME, Grey Daze’s drummer Sean Dowdell explains the true passion behind this EP:
“We would never have spent two and a half years of our lives trying to make something great, just to chase money. Money doesn’t excite me. But completing something that I started with one of my best friends in the world, that does excite me. That’s why we did this.”
Each song plays out beautifully, and some more remastered than others. For example, “Sometimes” includes more string solos and prominent key changes to feel uplifting and hopeful- an emotion that was not usually conveyed in Grey Daze’s discography. Then comes “Soul Song” a fairly untouched piece that seems to speak beyond the grave with its lyrics.
Talinda Bennington, Chester’s wife, took to Twitter towards the end of 2019 to promote the EP’s later release:
“…We looked for a way to continue what Chester was working on, the things he was proud of and wanted to share with his fans. The Grey Daze project is one of the ways we can continue to tell Chester’s story and connect with his fans.”
— Talinda Bennington (@TalindaB) December 11, 2019
In total, ‘Amends…Stripped‘ is nothing short of beautiful; Bennington’s personal memoir, based on where it all started. You can check out Talia Bennington’s foundation, 320, here as well as the documentary series here.
Listen to ‘Amends…Stripped’ here.