Since his last album Proof of LifeScott Stapp has been through a lot of turmoil, battling addiction and depression. Six years down the line and new record The Space Between The Shadows (Napalm Records) charts his successful battle with his personal demons and the lessons he learned on the way.
A cathartic outburst of emotion, this his third solo album follows the arena-friendly, grunge influenced Hard Rock of Creed. The lead single ‘Purpose For Pain’ typifies this with its stomping beat, pounding riff and message of finding faith when times get tough. ‘Face of the Sun’ is also of this ilk, a catchy number with a Shinedown-sized chorus, a foot-tapping groove and lyrics urging positivity.
The fiery album opener ‘The World I Used to Know’ sees Stapp spitting feathers about the current state of America in amidst a loud wall of guitars. It is not original but commercial Hard Rock with big riffs, big choruses, and emotive lyrics is fertile ground for Stapp, with the defiant attitude and crunching guitars of ‘Survivor’ another prime example.
Although a bit generic these rockers are catchy and impassioned, but there are a few missteps like the bland, slow crawl of ‘Red Clouds’. Overtly glossy and swelling to a bombastic finish ‘Wake Up Call’ is another; a saccharine pop ballad complete with choral backing singers. The emotive final track ‘Ready to Love’ is another forgetful addition to his expansive canon of cheesy ballads. ‘Gone Too Soon’ also fits this bill but the heartfelt outpouring of pain and grief about Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington is palpable, and lifts up this schmaltzy but touching U2 inspired ballad.
The Space Between The Shadows is a cathartic blast of Post-Grunge flavoured, arena-ready Hard Rock that is energetic and full of hooks, albeit a bit formulaic.
6 / 10