|Stone Temple Pilots - Core|
|Music Disc Reviews DVD-Audio|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Tuesday, 07 November 2000|
Stone Temple Pilots, along with an elite group of acts like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains, were the brightest stars of the early 1990s grunge scene that picked up where the excessively decadent metal acts of the late 1980s left off. While bands like Nirvana have received unnecessary props as a creative force, especially after the death of singer Kurt Cobain, STP remains strangely left out of the historical musical spotlight. Core was STP’s breakthrough record that features a host of hit tunes, all mastered onto the new DVD-Audio format in high-resolution 5.1 surround. Core was among the first group of DVD-A titles released in November of 2000 and far and away has the most popular appeal.
"Dead & Bloated" is the lead-off track on Core that starts with singer Scott Weiland barking out orders Marine-style through a megaphone. The deliberate rocking groove and hard-hitting rhythms set the pace for a record that defined an entire decade of music. "Sex Type Thing" was a far bigger MTV hit and keeps up the intensity of the intro track. While guitarist Dean DeLeo’s rifts are heavy, he adds in all sorts of lighthanded trickery, such as pinch harmonics and crafty little rhythm chops, along with heavy yet appealing chord progressions. "Wicked Garden" is a more pop-friendly tune, although it too has a heavy rhythmic groove. Weiland's vocals are heartfelt and soulful in the scope of such a heavy ensemble. "Creep" is yet another alternative radio hit that shows the more sensitive side of STP with an acoustic arrangement that highlights the versatility of Weiland as a personality and as a vocalist. The vocal harmonies in the chorus are nicely layered on "Creep," especially on the DVD-Audio version of Core, with great center imaging that only helps to build on a catchy chorus. "Plush," a song driven by highly augmented chords and an almost lethargic beat, indicative of the grunge genre, is likely the biggest hit on Core. Weiland again shines on this track, taking on a Jim Morrison-like presence – and I give that compliment carefully. Track 4, "No Memory," also foreshadows future Doors-like moments to come from STP.
As for Core as a DVD-Audio disc, it isn’t the best example of the format, in that the way that the mix by Nix DiDia expands on the three-dimensionality of the stereo version leaves a lot to be desired for true 5.1 audio fans. Very little is mixed for the rear channels. The center helps build the height of the soundstage but this is not a groundbreaking 5.1 Dolby Digital mix.
With that said, Core is a great album, packed with hit songs that remind me of a very happy period in my life. Scott Weiland has been battling a heroin addiction that has caused STP to underachieve as a band since Core. However, they are still at it and moving even more towards their Doors-inspired sound. Should you buy Core on DVD-Audio? If you dig the record or the grunge genre – by all means, get it. If you are just looking for incredible demo material, you may skip this one.