The Dreaming - Puppet
Epochal Artists, November 2011
Led by Christopher Hall, former lead singer for popular industrial metal band Stabbing Westward, The Dreaming doesn’t stray too far from the sound he built with Stabbing Westward to deliver an enjoyable, pleasing record. Following a slew of EPs and one full-length album, Puppet has founding members Hall and Johnny Haro (drums) back with a revamped lineup that includes one-time American Head Charge guitarist Nick Quijano. Whereas Stabbing Westward delved into a dark, morose sound towards the end, The Dreaming takes the heaviness and great melodies of that band into more pop-sounding territory while retaining Hall’s bitter, personal lyrics. Right off the bat, “Puppet” shows that The Dreaming is out to make a statement with its dense, molten riffs. The single “Every Trace” has a more upbeat sound and cool march-like beat that gives it instant appeal. My favorite track, “Breathing”, has a brilliantly simple keyboard melody layered over a fast guitar riff while Hall sings a tale of regret and forgiveness. The next few songs aren’t quite as remarkable, but all are solid tracks, especially “Fight For You” and “Stitches”. A pleasant surprise is the inclusion of Depeche Mode cover “It’s No Good”, a heavier selection from a dark phase of the masters of synth-pop. The last part of the album features “Solo Crucifixion”, an interesting track that opens with some precise guitar work that eventually incorporates a heavy, low keyboard line that reminds me of something from Kill Switch…Klick, and “Too Late”, a great song with a memorable sing-along chorus. Puppet succeeds because Hall has taken elements of Stabbing Westward and woven them into a more accessible sound that at times surprises and impresses the listener. Hall’s voice sounds better than ever, and he still croons and screams as well as he did with Stabbing Westward. Big fans of industrial music are likely to dismiss The Dreaming as pop metal-sounding fluff, but there’s way too much talent here for anyone to write off without being a bit less than credible.
The Dreaming performs tonight, Thursday, December 8 at Station 4 in St. Paul with support from 3 Pill Morning, Killing Floor, Withering Deity, and Create, Control. This is a 16+ show with early doors at 6:00 pm, and tickets are $10 at the door.