Posted on February 16th, 2015 (12:00 pm) by Magdalene Taylor

Remember Stabbing Westward? The '90s industrial rock group with a Nine Inch Nails vibe but more mainstream appeal? Well, after their dissolution in 2002, their lead singer, Christopher Hall, and Johnny Haro, who had previously filled in on drums for Stabbing Westward, founded a new band called The Dreaming. You can still hear Stabbing Westward’s most successful song, "Save Yourself," on rock radio stations occasionally, but The Dreaming’s new album, Rise Again, suggests that you might be hearing Hall’s voice a bit more. This latest album is filled to the brim with industrial-lite rock tracks with almost regrettably catchy lyrics. Nothing about Rise Again is objectively very good or impressive, but it is perfectly formulaic, and distinct enough to have clear potential for a return to mainstream rock prominence.

Though The Dreaming’s previous two albums delivered a cleaner, hard rock sound, Rise Again is clearly reminiscent of Hall’s past in Stabbing Westward. One who is not aware of the connection might even draw comparison in the opening track, “Alone.” Building with a more ambient, tribal rhythm, it eventually rises with a techno-industrial beat, layered with mid-range guitar and Hall’s moody (perhaps melodramatic) vocals. It’s just as edgy as it needs to be to grab attention, but is still easily approachable.

The album continues to play off of variations of this recipe, at times delivering such a simply calculated pattern that it’s hard to deny the conventional appeal. “Kisses Taste Like Death” does this the best with somewhat anthemic vocals, ultimately boiling down to the kind of rock that you don’t really like, but hear enough on your drive to work that it gets stuck in your head anyway. Songs like “Painkillers," “Blink of an Eye,” and “Rise Again” have similar results, but are ultimately unremarkable among each other.

Rise Again does have some strength in its electronic / industrial rhythms, for which former Stabbing Westward keyboardist and programmer, Walter Flakus, is responsible. This is his first album with the Dreaming, which explains why it sounds far more like Stabbing Westward than their previous albums. His presence is one of the only things that stands out on the album, but even this has some qualifications to it. Removing the grunginess of the industrial sound that he utilized in the '90s, his rhythms are now clean and bass driven, producing a sound that’s relatively commonplace.

This is, perhaps, more of a sign of the times in music than a stylistic choice of the band. The album, as a whole, is rather uncreative and unambitious, but fits the bill of being objectively catchy in a mainstream rock sense, while propelling an industrial label. Rise Again seems specifically designed for air play, and by utilizing some unspoken modern rock formula just right, it looks like The Dreaming could probably get it.

Track List

  1. Alone
  2. Painkillers
  3. Kisses Taste Like Death
  4. Empty Promises
  5. Afraid
  6. Throw It Away
  7. Still Believe
  8. Blink of an Eye
  9. Destroy
  10. Rise Again
The Dreaming - Rise Again Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

53 / 100
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