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Album Review: The Dreaming – Rise Again

From the ashes of Stabbing Westward comes The Dreaming’s new album Rise Again.  How does the industrial style from the early 90’s fair in today’s rock market?


Text Review:

The industrial side of rock has always been a niche market with a devoted fanbase.  Mixing electronic keyboards with synthesized guitars and brooding lyrics is not an easy path, but when done correctly it can stand out like an abstract work of art.

Going back to the surge of industrial bands in the early 90’s, the styles of Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM were becoming a sub-culture with black shirt followers who were NEVER afraid to share their thoughts on what real music is and how the popular radio friendly songs will never be as striking as the styles of Pretty Hate Machine.

It was also back in the early 1990’s that industrial rock group Stabbing Westward was making a name for themselves.  In 2002 with the formal breakup of the band, it was from those ashes that arose the project The Dreaming.  The founding members of Stabbing Westward Christopher Hall and Walter Flakus reunited with The Dreaming, after acquiring former Stabbing Westward drummer Johnny Haro and filling the band with successful musicians who were a part of bands like Orgy and Static-X.

It feels like the sounds of industrial rock and metal is all but a footnote in today’s current rock scene.  Unless a radio station is playing a “retro style weekend” and reminiscing on the bands of decades past, this style isn’t really focused on as much as the current nu-metal and popular alternative sounds in rock radio.

You can get an idea about the bands image from looking at photos, but the first song from the album and first single Alone is the best introduction.  The gritty rock and desperately sang vocals combined with imagery that could belong from the Saw movie franchise paints the picture of what to expect from The Dreaming

Everything sounds haunting and dark in Alone.  Just from the opening with the percussion and bass you can tell this is a different style that rock today is missing.  The chorus is sang like a chant and is repeated as something to sing along with.  The keys make everything flow and connect perfectly with the thematic and haunted sound.

In the press release from metropolis records, the send out stated that:

“The new album titled “Rise Again” was Chris Hall’s choice. He wanted to deliver an album that brought back the early Stabbing Westward sound that fans have been asking for. Although the name Stabbing Westward is now dead and buried, the founders of the band are pleased to “Rise Again” as The Dreaming with the intense and haunting music that made them a multi-platinum band.”

If ever there was a project that came to recapture the sound and style of their previous band, The Dreaming may have proven to be some of the most successful at it.

Destroy and Alone have the quality of making you sing the chorus out loud even after only one time of hearing the song.  The electronic mixing in Destroy is definitely some of the most creative of the album (which is definitely saying something), and it still holds the same imagery of alone with that angsty early 90’s scene of teens dressed in black listening to a cd player as loudly as possible.

Some people may argue that the choruses of many of the songs in Rise Above follow an identical format.  Repeat phrase several times with increased emphasis and volume with the backing music.  In my opinion, that is what gives The Dreaming such a strong identity.  They are making their songs sound like anthems to be remembered for years.

Just because a band has formally ended doesn’t mean the style of music they played completely dies with it.  There are musicians out there that will always find ways to create and start again and bring out what they do best.  The Dreaming is proof.

Overall, if you have ever enjoyed the style of Stabbing Westward, Nine Inch Nails, or any of the industrial legends of the past, you owe it to yourself to listen to The Dreaming.  Rise Again grabs your attention and drags it through a world filled with imagery and passion.