Mar 2015 25

The Dreaming - Rise AgainThe Dreaming
Category: Industrial / Rock / Electro
Album: Rise Again
Stars: 4
Blurb: While not entirely a Stabbing Westward reunion, The Dreaming’s third album is the next best thing as the band creates a bold and dramatic work of industrial/rock.


When Stabbing Westward disbanded in 2002 after over a decade of being heralded as one of the world’s most aggressively emotive industrial/rock acts, many felt a void that was only partially filled when front man Christopher Hall formed The Dreaming with onetime drummer Johnny Haro. Picking up where his previous band left off and adopting a heavier incorporation of danceable electro and dark hard rock, The Dreaming has gradually built up a sizeable following in its own right, enduring a series of lineup changes over the course of two albums, four EPs, and tours with the likes of Godhead, Ill Niño, and Trust Company. Still, many have been pining for Hall and his former band mates to reunite, and with former Stabbing Westward keyboardist Walter Flakus joining The Dreaming on stage in late 2013, the seeds were sown for what would eventually culminate in this third album, appropriately titled Rise Again.

From opening track “Alone,” Hall immediately reminds listeners of the darkly emotional range exhibited in such classics as “What Do I Have to Do?” and “Save Yourself,” moving from the restrained tension of the verses into a howling desperation in the chorus that is impossible not to scream along with. Throughout the album, The Dreaming balances the fine line between scathing electronic textures and gritty dark rock, as exemplified by the thunderous rhythms and choppy guitar riffs of “Painkillers” or by the steely, almost funky bass of “Still Believe” leading into a bombastic wall of celestial synth melodies and energetic guitars evoking a quality almost akin to ‘80s new wave. Similarly, the marching rhythm and sweeping layers of “Destroy” offset by a vicious bass pulse and a decidedly raging chorus, Hall’s voice almost competing with Carlton Bost’s guttural yet fluidic guitar riffs as he sings “I want to destroy everything you’ve ever loved.” On the other end of the spectrum is the saccharine and down-tempo ballad of “Throw It Away,” Hall’s vocals trapped in a state between tearful lament and impassioned release, Brent Ashley’s smoothly gothic yet acidic bass tone cutting through quite marvelously. Starting with a stuttering synth/guitar rhythm, “Blink of an Eye” follows in a slightly more confrontational but no less morosely melodic fashion, Hall’s vocal harmonies in the quiet bridge/chorus being a notable high point of the whole album’s musicality, while the title track ends the proceedings with a straightforward and upbeat progression that gives way to passages of ambient depth and soaring vocal and synth melodies to end Rise Again on a blazing and fiery note.

Fans of Stabbing Westward will undoubtedly rejoice in the range of emotional darkness and melodic turmoil presented on Rise Again, as Hall, Haro, and Flakus deliver on the hallmarks of their past without sacrificing those elements that have distinguished The Dreaming as its own entity. Among those elements are the powerful riffs and rhythms of Bost and Ashley, which in communion with Flakus’ extensive programming and keyboard skills add dramatically to The Dreaming’s atmospheric power, calling to mind the likes of The Birthday Massacre, while Hall’s sense of vocal and lyrical drama are reminiscent of Filter or even Gary Numan’s later industrial/rock period. Above all, Rise Again is a finely tailored mesh of production, performance, and polish, and while the ghosts of the past are certainly called upon, they do not dominate as much as they complement to make this The Dreaming’s best outing to date.
Track list:

  1. Alone
  2. Painkillers
  3. Kisses Taste Like Death
  4. Empty Promises
  5. Afraid
  6. Blink of an Eye
  7. Still Believe
  8. Throw It Away
  9. Destroy
  10. Rise Again

The Dreaming Website
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The Dreaming ReverbNation
Metropolis Records Website
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Metropolis Records Bandcamp
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Storming the Base CD
Storming the Base Vinyl
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

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