Stabbing Westward’s lead vocalist Christopher Hall and programmer/keyboardist Walter Flakus have been reinventing themselves as The Dreaming since the demise of the parent band in 2002. Three EP releases, a video, a track for the movie Elektra and live performances on the West Coast have kept them busy since the band’s inception. Joined by former SW drummer Johnny Haro, plus a bass and a guitarist, Rise Again is clearly a resurrection of the immensely popular Stabbing Westward style. The newest CD, Rise Again, is scheduled for release this month, and captures all the intensity and ecstatic bombast of the original band.
Consisting of 10 tracks, Rise Again is characterized by Hall’s extraordinary tenor vocals, full of intensity and defiance, accompanied by bombastic, symphonic metal. The titles and the lyrics are profound and penetrating, mostly probing harsh, even painful emotions. The third track asks, “Why do all your kisses taste like death?” The fifth track aggressively asserts, “I will not be afraid anymore,” as a kind of self-assuring mantra. You get the idea.
From the first track, “Alone,” with its galloping cadence and accusatory tone, to the final and title track, “Rise Again,” every song has a delicious, melodious hook and a restless, hypnotic groove. Angry, belching guitars are woven into fast-paced electronic rhythms that will have industrial dancers in a frenzy on the dance floors or fervently bobbing their heads on the sidelines. For those who loved and sorely miss the now-defunct Stabbing Westward, this revival of that sound is more than welcome.