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About Astat

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  • Birthday 05/08/1988

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  • LP Shows Attended
    2004.08.05 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center 2007.08.17 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center 2008.08.19 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH - Blossom Music Center 2011.01.28 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center 2014.08.26 - Falcon Heights, MN - Minnesota State Fair 2017.10.27 - Hollywood, CA - Hollywood Bowl

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    White Bear Lake, Minnesota

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  1. That's absolutely not a Metal Zone. There's a white Boss delay pedal right next to it that he steps on first, and it's a completely different sized housing than whatever the black box he steps on is. Brad using the Dual Rectifier distorted channel is the entire core of the HT sound and has been confirmed in countless interviews. There are any number of aftermarket latching footswitches that work as amp channel switchers, you don't have to use the stock one. Older Dual Rectifiers were also two-channel amps instead of the newer three-channel versions, so you only needed a single-button footswitch to operate the amp. *Edit* Brad has the same pedal setup on the Roxy 2000 video, and there's a close-up shot of it during With You that clearly shows the second box you're referring to only has one cable coming out of it. It's an amp footswitch.
  2. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/warner-music-videos-drop-from-youtube-in-contract-dispute It was on there before that. WB pulled all of their artists' videos off Youtube during a contract dispute in 2008-2009. Everything got re-uploaded later in 2009 and started over with no views. ITE realistically hit a billion ages ago.
  3. The Rising Tied and Post Traumatic are both mediocre albums and none of the CoronaJams I've listened to so far have been worth listening to more than once. The Drive Me Mad remix is better than anything Mike's released on his own lately. You were saying?
  4. Machine Shop isn't a record label anymore.
  5. Idea: Mike should make some CD label art/maybe a back insert in addition to the album cover, and let people print it themselves if they want to have a physical copy. Not like you have to worry much about the bootleg market if there are no real physical copies in the first place.
  6. The predictability with which you bring up OML in completely irrelevant situations is currently my favorite thing about this website. đŸ˜‚
  7. "Chester Bennington Had Secret Metal Band" was one I distinctly remember lol
  8. 01. Sickness - 6/10 The opening track establishes two themes that continue throughout a lot of this album: 1. A distinct disconnect between the newly-recorded instrumentals and Chester's vocals. What they attempted to do here is akin to Frank Zappa's old "xenochrony" composition technique, where he'd isolate a guitar solo from one of his band's many live extended jams, then write an entirely new song around it. And I don't think they'd take offense to me saying this, but these guys aren't Frank Zappa. Completely re-writing a song to fit around old vocals isn't easy, and they did it with varying degrees of success from song to song. On the contrary, while some of Chester's vocals are alternate takes from the ones that originally appeared on Wake Me and/or No Sun Today, it's also very clear that in many cases they used Melodyne or Auto Tune to manipulate the pitch of the vocals to fit the new music (which can be unflattering to Chester's voice at times - these are already vocal tracks from a time when he was still "finding his voice" to some degree, manipulating them and making him sound super compressed with really "un-Chesterlike" timbre isn't doing him any favors). This begs the question of why they claimed they "wrote these songs around the vocals," when clearly they did a lot of work to the vocals to make them fit the songs as well. It's like they couldn't make up their minds which way was better to handle things, and flip-flopped throughout the process of making the record. 2. Guests who are under-utilized to the point that you'd never know they were even on these tracks if the album credits didn't say so. When I think of Page Hamilton's guitar playing, I'm either thinking of some mammoth-sounding drop-tuned riffing, or some really noisy, dissonant droning stuff. But on this track, the only thing you really get guitar-wise that's high enough in the mix to be identifiable as a guitar is the long, sustained chords in the chorus. Like, pretty much anybody who's played guitar for more than a few months could pick one up and play that part. So what's even the point of having Page there? They brought him in as someone who was a friend of Chester's, so why not have him put down some crazy cool part that Chester would've been stoked to hear? Is it just for the sake of having another big-name guest on the record? Anyway, those two main points aside, this version of Sickness isn't terrible. It's produced/mixed FAR better than some of the songs on this record (which we'll address later), to the point that I don't quite understand why Pete Nappi only produced this one track. The drum groove mixed with the distorted bass and electronic touches is a really cool backdrop for Chester to sing over, and they didn't do anything TOO out of left field with his vocals on this one. My biggest complaint is that the bridge doesn't feel like a completely finished idea, like there's supposed to be a guitar solo or some other lead instrument layer there that never got put on the track. The last chorus also sounds like a straight copy-paste of the first two, so it doesn't really give the song a climax, it just comes back around to the chorus and abruptly ends. This one was a few tweaks away from being a killer opening track, but as it is, it just feels kind of...lukewarm. 02. Sometimes - 7/10 This one's produced by the combo of Chris Traynor and Kyle Hoffman, who also produced What's In the Eye. Traynor (currently the lead guitarist in Bush) plays guitar as well, and it's also one of two tracks Jamie Muhoberac plays keyboards on. This was always one of Grey Daze's strongest songs in my opinion, so I'm glad they elected not to change the arrangement too much. I like the new piano ending, although I think it ends a little too abruptly by cutting out the extra repetitions of "sometimes" that were part of the outro in the original song. Chris Traynor's wearing two hats as producer/guitarist here, and he's always been known more as a studio guy/sideman anyway, so I'm not going to be critical of him not getting a more prominent part on this track like I was with Page Hamilton on the previous one (funny that a former member of Helmet is a major contributor to an album that also features Helmet's frontman though!). Another pretty well-mixed song, maybe a little more muddy than Sickness but there still aren't any layers that are problematically hard to hear. This song, again, is hampered by a bridge that doesn't quite move the song along as well as it should. There's still a lead guitar part over it, but it's nothing compared to the fiery blues-rock solo Jason Barnes played on the Wake Me version (one reason I actually always preferred that version to the No Sun Today one). Speaking of Jason, what ever happened to him being involved in this project? They were going to do the reunion show with both him and Cristin on guitar, and there was one social media post very early on in the album recording process that showed him working in the studio, but then he just disappeared. And I have to address a huge elephant in the room here too...why didn't they keep some of Bobby Benish's guitar work on this album as a tribute to him? I know this album's supposed to be all about honoring Chester, but the fundraiser show for Bobby back in 2002 never happened, and he died without ever getting much of a tribute. They do dedicate the album to his memory as well as Chester's, so why not feature him on it somewhere? Anyway, a stronger track than Sickness for sure, and my GOD what a powerhouse vocal performance Chester puts in on this one, but the song still falls a little short for me. 03. What's In the Eye - 4/10 This one has the same production duo as the previous track, and also features Marcos Curiel of P.O.D. on guitar alongside Chris Traynor. Marcos actually contributes in a meaningful way on this one, the high tremolo-picked guitar work over the last chorus is totally his kind of thing and it adds a nice boost to the end of the song that was lacking in the arrangements of the first two tracks. The newly-constructed bridge is interesting enough, thankfully they kept the original chord progression for the outro though. The verses stay pretty true to the original version, but I can't stress enough how much I HATE what they did with the chorus here. They basically just decided to change the whole tonality of that section from D minor to D major, but they didn't do anything to Chester's vocals, and they sound TERRIBLY out of place with each other as a result. I feel like they were trying to go for that mixed "playing in a minor key but starting the big chorus on a major chord" thing that's present in a lot of classic Linkin Park songs like Somewhere I Belong and Crawling, but without having the vocals compensate for it, it doesn't work at all. One of the few cases where I wish they WOULD have tweaked Chester's vocal melody. Also, I'm perplexed why this song sounds so much worse mixing-wise than the previous track when it's the same two producers and same mixer on both of them...the drums just completely get drowned out in the heavy parts, and a lot of the distorted guitars are unusually harsh EQ-wise. This one was a pretty big disappointment. 04. The Syndrome - 9/10 We get our first taste of the duo of Esjay Jones and Lucas D'Angelo's production on this track, and it's immediately obvious that they could have (and, in my opinion, should have) done the whole album. This song is SUCH a drastic departure from the original version, and the original is a top 2-3 Grey Daze song that I hold in extremely high regard, but they really knocked it out of the park. Sean Dowdell's son Carston plays drums on this one, and honestly, he probably outplays his dad - that double kick part in the bridge is killer. Carah Faye from Shiny Toy Guns provides some backing vocals in the verses, and while I wish they were a little louder, at least you can hear them. My only gripe with this one is that the extra "are you happy" line tacked on at the very end of the song seems really pointless, the song had already said everything it needed to say by that point. This one covers a lot of ground sonically, and it's a real highlight. Best case scenario "risk vs. reward" situation here. Excuse me while I ignore the first 3 tracks for the foreseeable future and put this one on repeat. Oh, probably a good call to rename this one from "The Down Syndrome" too. 05. In Time - 5/10 This is the first track on the record that I actually had to go back and listen to the original version first to even remember what it sounded like. Ryan Shuck plays guitar, and Lucio Rubino is the producer. Another big departure on this one, and while I honestly love everything they did with the instrumental (the first couple verses have a bit of a Julien-K flavor to them, I don't know if that's due to Ryan's presence or just a coincidence), the problem I have with it is that Chester's vocals on the chorus are just WAY too aggressive to fit with the instrumental in the first two choruses. It's really the biggest case of the first point I made at the beginning of this review - both parts, individually, are VERY good in this case, but they just don't work together no matter how bad you want them to. I also hate how they stuck the "pain, so much pain" vocal in the middle of a bunch of other vocal stuff in the bridge, having it stand alone as a statement was really the high point of the original song. Also, that explosion sound effect at the very end was SO cheesy that I actually laughed. Cringe to the max. Ryan doesn't do anything noteworthy on guitar here either, but I won't be critical since he's known more as a vocalist (why they didn't have him sing something on this record, I'll never understand). Ultimately, the production on this track is great, Chester sings great, and I appreciate what they tried to do here, but this vocal and instrumental were just never meant for each other. 06. Just Like Heroin - 7/10 This one's a packed house of collaborators, as Esjay Jones and Lucas D'Angelo co-produce this one again, but Chris Traynor's also credited as a third producer along with playing guitar, and Jamie Muhoberac makes a second appearance on keys. I was really surprised they chose this song in favor of something like Hole for the record, it was such a weird, down-tempo song in the first place, plus the lyrics are a little...uncomfortable, given the circumstances of this album's release (obviously this is about drugs rather than suicide, but "It's my time to fade/dying on the floor/excuses are just excuses" doesn't make that clear at face value). This track is at the center of what I consider the biggest controversy on this album though - there are some female backing vocal "ahh ahh" parts throughout this one (plus some harmonies that could also be a female voice), and most prominently, those screams in the bridge don't sound anything like Chester, but there isn't another vocalist credited on the track. After doing a little research, my suspicions were confirmed - these uncredited vocals are by Esjay Jones. This wouldn't be too big of an issue if it weren't for the fact that Grey Daze and Esjay are trying to pull the wool over our eyes and avoid admitting it's her, and they can't seem to get their story straight. When asked about the "vocals at the end of Just Like Heroin" on Instagram, Sean replied that it's a mix of Esjay and Chester "both screaming," although he's clearly referring to the last chorus where Chester's singing vocals and the screams from the bridge are layered together (this is the only time in the song this layering happens - I guess Sean's definition of "screaming" includes Chester's aggressive singing). However, I personally asked Esjay about it on Facebook, and she said that the screams are "several vocals from different Chester takes on the original reels with all the backing/atmospheric vocals layered together, then HEAVILY effected to make a 'scream.'" Not only does this contradict Sean, it's straight-up bullshit (Esjay seems like an otherwise good person, I'm assuming she's legally bound by some kind of NDA to avoid talking about certain production details that Grey Daze doesn't want to admit to). First of all, those screams in the bridge aren't layered at all, it's a single voice screaming. Second, there isn't a combination of vocal processing plugins in the world that can take a non-screaming vocal, distort it in such a way as to sound like an authentic human voice screaming, and then (for no apparent reason) completely change a vocalist's pitch and timbre to the point of making them sound like someone of the opposite gender, again without making the vocal sound unnatural. Third, Esjay happens to be the lead vocalist for the band Pigs, which recently released a cover of Duality by Slipknot, and lo and behold, it includes some of her screaming vocals - they sound like EXACTLY the same person. TL;DR - Grey Daze had their producer do screams on this song, and then covered up the fact that it was her to try and trick people into thinking it was Chester even though it doesn't sound a thing like him. Not only does Sean Dowdell think the fans are "delusional" and "never met Chester," apparently he thinks they don't even know what Chester's voice sounds like. ...But anyway, I'm judging this based on its musical merits, so I'll wrap this up by saying this is just as big of a departure from the original as The Syndrome was, and it ALMOST equals it, but the amount of editing they did to Chester's vocals here is really distracting, and once it's apparent the screams aren't Chester, they sound super out of place. Solid production again though, and if Chester would have sung the verse melody "authentically" instead of them having to adjust the pitch all over the place to create it, it would be a really nice part. The end product is really good here, just a couple things about it that rub me the wrong way (I'm not factoring the drama regarding the band's honesty about the screams into the score though, as it doesn't affect the music). 07. B12 - 2/10 This one features Korn guitarists Head and Munky, as well as Sean Dowdell's other son Brennan Brochard playing drums. This one also has a completely different production/engineering team from the rest of the record, led by producer Alex Aldi. And all I have to say is...what the FUCK were they thinking here? Head and Munky don't really add much here except for the cool low fuzzy guitar part in the bridge, so add another one to the list of wasted collaborations, and more importantly, I can't think of another song on the record that misses the point of the original so badly. The original B12 was a bouncy, fun, tongue-in-cheek track that served as a nicely-contrasting vehicle for Chester's ranting about the world. In particular I always loved how sarcastic the "hooray, hoorah" vocals came across on the original version, and that vibe has been COMPLETELY abandoned here for something that sounds like a watered-down Three Days Grace instrumental. The drums sound more like a drum machine than actual drums, and they really don't have any punch. You're gonna put Head and Munky on a track and not give them a big kick-heavy groove to play over? That's like, their whole thing. The changes to Chester's melody towards the end of the verse and in the chorus are really distracting again on this one, and the melodramatic approach they took to the instrumental manages to make the lyrics go from fiery to cringeworthy without even changing any of the words. This one gets two points for the instrumental itself being...okay. Otherwise, this might be the worst track ever released with Chester's name on it. 08. Soul Song - 8/10 The piano and string duet of Jean Yves D’Angelo and Heidi Gadd make their first appearance here, along with the much-hyped appearance of Chester's son Jamie on backing vocals. Chris Traynor makes another appearance on guitar, although he doesn't have a production credit this time, leaving it to the team of Esjay Jones and Lucas D'Angelo. The strings and piano are a fantastic addition here, and Esjay and Lucas knock it out of the park on the production side yet again, but Jamie's appearance is unquestionably the most disappointing guest spot on the album. I GUESS he's singing the lower octave on the choruses? I literally can't pick out a voice that isn't Chester's on this one at all. I get that having him on the record was more of a gesture of helping the family heal than anything, but for as much as they promoted him being on this track, you'd think you'd at least be able to hear him. That aside, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album, it was always a beautiful ballad paired with some soaring chorus vocals, and they kept that intact here despite completely building a new instrumental from scratch. My ONLY complaints are with the outro. This is a little nitpicky but the way they executed the double chorus at the end results in Chester singing "The rivers of blood opens up the sun," and I can't hear something like that without cringing (this isn't unprecedented for me, Lonely Day would be my favorite System of a Down song ever if not for the "The most loneliest day of my life" lyric in the chorus!). I realize Chester never sang "open up the sun" in the singular form so they had to use what they had, but for all the vocal manipulation they did on this record, they couldn't have just put a de-esser and a quick fade on the end of one word to make a lyric make grammatical sense? Come on! The abrupt cutoff with the vocal echo at the end just doesn't work well either, there's such a lovely build-up at the beginning of the song that this one really could have used some more piano/strings to lead things out at the end. Seems like not knowing how to end songs is a recurring theme on this record...I still REALLY like this track overall though. 09. Morei Sky - 7/10 Jean and Heidi make their second appearance on piano/strings here, and Esjay and Lucas produce again (pretty much a continuation of the previous track minus Jamie and Chris). This one's also the centerpiece of the album in a way, with the lyric "If I had a second chance, I'd make amends" being the inspiration for the album title. This one comes SO close to being another standout track, but it unfortunately suffers from poor mixing more than a lot of other tracks on the album. The kick and snare are just way too quiet in general, and in the second verse the piano kind of drowns out the other instruments (it's like they had it really loud for the first verse and forgot to turn it down once the other instruments came in). I also CAN'T STAND the really weirdly-effected "losing, losing" vocal snippet being so isolated in the intro and outro. It sounds fine in the busier parts of the mix, but it sounds super artificial and awkward by itself. The little clip of studio banter from Chester at the end is a nice humanizing touch, but I'd like to have heard a slightly longer clip with him responding with a laugh or something. Just "How's that sound, Dave?" by itself is a weird cliffhanger kind of thing to end on. I WANT to love this track but it's just so muddy-sounding that I can't rank it above some of the others. 10. She Shines - 9/10 This one's the last track with Esjay and Lucas producing, and it features the guitar duo of a returning Head from Korn alongside Jasen Rauch from Breaking Benjamin (Jasen was the producer of Head's solo project Love and Death, hence the connection). This is definitely one of my top two favorites, along with The Syndrome. It's not hampered by questionable mixing decisions like the previous track, the contributions from the guest guitarists produce some really heavy riffs, and there isn't anything super weird going on with what they did to Chester's vocals (the lower parts in the verses have a lot of effects on them, but they actually do on the original recording as well). The ONE thing that keeps this from getting a rare 10/10 rating from me is the decision to shift the repeated "so eager" vocals from falling on the offbeat to being on the downbeat. If you're used to the groove of how that part worked on the original version, it's REALLY weird hearing it with the vocals shifted a half beat forward like that. That part is going to take some getting used to, but otherwise this one's going on repeat with The Syndrome and Soul Song. 11. Shouting Out - 6/10 The original version of this track featured guest vocals from Kimberly Rogers, and Laura "LP" Pergolizzi takes that role on the updated version. I admittedly probably went a little overboard with accusing the band of recruiting someone professionally known as "LP" to guest on a track just to fool people into thinking Linkin Park was somehow involved with the project, but it still strikes me as odd that she was recruited to be on this record just because Chester mentioned a song of hers that she liked to Sean one time...but anyway, we get yet another producer on this track in Cass Dillon, and the heavily electronic-tinged production is definitely unique. I like how LP's vocals blend with Chester's, and I overall like the direction of the track, but it never quite builds to anything nearly as big as you'd expect it to. The outro ends way quicker than it feels like it should, and it's never a good thing when an album ends on a "that's it?" kind of note. Nothing super wrong with this one, but it's just a kind of "meh" way to end the album. OVERALL SCORE: 70/110 My issues with Sean Dowdell as a person are well-known. My issues with the handling of this project are well-known. But ultimately, I never really expected to HATE this record because I liked the original Grey Daze material so much in the first place. Tracks like She Shines, The Syndrome, and Soul Song are real standouts, and I can't say enough about how great of a job Esjay Jones and Lucas D'Angelo did in particular (none of their tracks got anything less than a 7 from me). Chester, as always, shines on this record. His level of talent at what he did was nearly unrivaled, and I'm glad that his incredible vocals on some of his pre-Linkin Park work are finally being heard by a wider audience. However, this record's score is significantly brought down by B12 and What's in the Eye being absolute duds, and In Time attempting to marry a vocal and instrumental together that never would have worked together no matter how badly they wanted them to. Several other songs that would otherwise score more highly have their scores hampered by issues on the production/mixing side of things, and many of the guests on the record may as well have not even been there. I feel like having so many producers involved also hampered the band's ability to put out a cohesive product, and while Jay Baumgardner generally has a great reputation in the industry, I feel like his mixing on this album wasn't his best/most consistent work. If the goal of this record was simply to release it to posthumously honor a friend's talent while updating these songs for a modern audience, it succeeded in the broadest sense. Was it as good as it could be? No. Was it good ENOUGH/a better idea than simply remastering the original Grey Daze recordings? Ehh...maybe. It's clear that this record and the original versions are meant to serve two completely different purposes and be seen as almost unrelated entities (although it would be nice if Grey Daze would quit doing everything they can to scrub their first two records from the Internet, ironically as they falsely complained Warner Records tried to do many years ago...). My biggest takeaway from this record is that for as much as I want to really like it, I can't help but wonder how much better it would've been if Chester would've been around to contribute to it. Maybe the end product in that scenario would have ended up so different that it's not even worth trying to consider, but I'm still really bummed about how excited Chester was to play with Grey Daze again, only for it to never happen. Despite a couple big clunkers, you did a pretty respectable job with the music, Grey Daze. Now please work on being better people.
  9. Listen to Esjay's screams on her band's cover of Duality by Slipknot, guys. The long one at the end of the first chorus especially - it's literally the same voice. Yeah, the ahh-ahh's are her. I think she sings a few of the higher harmonies too. The only place Esjay and Chester's voices are layered is in the last chorus where the screams are mixed in with Chester's singing. Putting the finishing touches on an album review, should have it up soon.
  10. FYI, the screams on Just Like Heroin are Esjay Jones, not Chester.
  11. Oh please, Chester was saying the same kind of stuff when everyone was shitting on A Thousand Suns too. It's almost like artists are quick to defend their work when they know they had a good reason to make it the way they did. Yeah, considering you bring up OML every time you talk about anything, we know you can't stand it. You've got as much of an unhealthy obsession with OML as Geki does with me.
  12. They've made it work before with Mark Wakefield being credited on several LPU tracks, Trent Reznor obviously getting credit on the cover of Wish, and Kutmasta Kurt/Motion Man having co-writing credits on Standing in the Middle (although interestingly, there are two BMI entries for that song - an older one that just credits Mike/Motion Man/Kutmasta Kurt, and a newer one that credits the six members of Linkin Park but not the collaborators).
  13. It's definitely not. Timbre of whoever sings the higher backing vocals is completely unlike both Chester and Mike. I'm 99.9% positive it's Brian Howes. I don't think anyone from LP other than Mike is even on that song.
  14. - "Please share It's Goin' Down music video making stories." -> "You know, Joe directed it. Joe basically wanted to do a performance video in a really unique environment. It wasn't anything crazy. Brad wasn't available, I played guitar on the song. I wrote and recorded the guitar on the song, so anybody could have played guitar. And we wanted me to be rapping in the video. And Joe reached out to Wayne Static from Static-X about doing it." Oh wow, imagine that, I've been right about Mike playing guitar on the studio version of IGD for the last 15 years even though all the "wHy iS wAyNe In ThE vIdEo ThEn" people never believed me.
  15. Yeah I'd barely change anything. Maybe cut the guitars a little below 100hz just to give the bass some more room. Maybe have Dave re-record bass on One Step Closer because Scott's tone on it is garbage compared to the bass sound on the rest of the album lol. Some of the really dated-sounding keyboard strings like on ITE could sound a lot better, but I'm not sure if it'd be worth making the song sound drastically different.
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