The Dreaming - Rise Again (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Dreaming

Rise Again (2015)


High-school, 1998. Everyone was dubbed "poser." I distinctly recall fights and cursing over who was better, Smashing Pumpkins or Nine Inch Nails. I couldn't give a shit. I was one of the better sportsmen in the school, believe it or not, and was focussed on dealing with the crock of shit I had to work with as a "soccer" captain. I was doing the pre-game headphones gig way before 8 Mile. Also, I must add that until then it was just Jimmy Eat World that I got amped up with. That's until Stabbing Westward's "Save Yourself" came across MTV. I was hooked, but soon, they were gone. Carson Daly and the mainstream media machine erased this one-hit wonder. Now, they're back and I must admit, it's one of the most pleasant surprises of 2015.

The Dreaming features founding Stabbing Westward members Christopher Hall and Walter Flakus and this album, while under a different band name, feels like a reunion as they pick up right where they last left off. Industrial rock meets electronica meets all the emotional turmoil that a '90s rock-lover felt. And just to nod back to my earlier statement, if I had to lean to a comparison, it'd definitely be a much more melodic and radio-friendly NIN. "Alone" is a great snapshot of this comparison. As with most of the album, it's guitar-driven, rock-fueled and straight-up, well...'90s. Well-produced and I'll admit, lacking an artsy feel at times, but that's the thing about The Dreaming. Much like their predecessors, they never hide their intent. AFI fans who stuck with them after Sing The Sorrow would also find companionship in "Kisses Taste Like Death". This track feels like it came directly from the studio with Davey Havok.

Ambitious indeed. However, the record itself feels a couple tracks too long and as I've found with many industrial acts, the songs themselves run a 30 seconds overboard. But all complaints aside, the record's a lush piece of industrial, driven forcefully by heavy guitars and cracking percussion. "Blink Of An Eye" summarizes things best here off Rise Again. It's an aptly titled record for a band that left, and shot back into my life, in the blink of an eye. It feels like Stabbing Westward never missed a beat, yet The Dreaming definitely hints at carving out new paths.