Grunge forms core as Pilots fly high

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 July, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 July, 1993, 12:00am

Core - The Stone Temple Pilots (Atlantic).

FOR a debut album to take up permanent residency in the top reaches of the US pop charts is no mean feat, especially one which has not been heralded by a stream of hit singles.

The Stone Temple Pilots' first outing, Core, achieved just that, mainly by riding on the tails of the grunge bandwagon.

On first listening, however, it immediately begs the question: grunge or heavy metal? An excellent example of the album's schizophrenia is Creep, which settles initially into a slow southern hard rock blues, sounding distinctly like The Black Crowes. Suddenly, enter the picked, distorted electric guitar and we are into Nirvana territory counter-pointing melody and noise before it returns to rootsy hard rock.

Core is full of classic riffs relying on the cleaner power chords of metal rather than the over distortion favoured by Nirvana. Fortunately, for the most part it shares grunge's welcome antipathy to the self-indulgent guitar solo.

The vocals also swing the balance back in grunge's favour, displaying the melodic depth of Pearl Jam in contrast to a metallic throaty rasp.

Lyrically, Core' s introspective and obtuse imagery give more points to grunge, avoiding any spawn of Satan, space maiden fantasies, or the ''oe yeah baaby'' come-ons of metal.

In today's MTV world, image is just as important as music in establishing a band's identity and the packaging, marketing and posturing of the Stone Temple Pilots mark them as grunge - checkered lumberjack shirts and all.

And although singer Weiland with his close-cropped, dyed blond hair shares a passing resemblance to Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford, his flowing expressive poses betray a more alternative streak.

Definitely a front man with attitude.