Once upon a time, I used to be a really dark, angsty teenager that listened to lots of dark and depressing music. Now I’m a less-dark yet bitter and more pessimistic-than-optimistic adult that still listens to the depressing music of her past, and mostly refuses to listen to anything past the 2000’s. While I may be permanently stuck in the 1990’s, it doesn’t mean that I’m not open to listening to new music – I just tend to gravitate towards the music that I found inspiring and comforting when I was growing up. And a lot of the crap played on the radio and is popular with the kids is horrible. Just terrible, I tell ya! The newer generations probably say the same thing about my musical choices. ”The Spice Girls? Seriously?!”
My middle and high school years were extremely tough ones to deal with growing up. I went to a Catholic school (four years was enough, thank you!) for my mid-school years, and those were probably the worst years of my life. High school was a little bit of an improvement, but the only good thing that came out from the years I attended were the friends I still hang out with, and the music that I listened to. The first artist that really inspired me and helped me through all of the speed bumps that life put in my way was Alanis Morissette. I can’t even tell you how many times I listened to Jagged Little Pill on tape (and later CD). The same goes for Stabbing Westward’s Wither Blister Burn + Peel (love that album title). That was the #1 album I had stolen from me the most from so-called ‘friends’ who would borrow the tape and CD from me and never return it. I’ve had to replace that album at least 4-5 times, but I guess that meant those people really dug them.
I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog in this site that I’ve been a Stabbing Westward fan for years, and that hasn’t changed. They’re still my favorite band – I have an unfinished SW tattoo to prove it, next to my Fear Factory tattoo (another favorite band). No Alanis tattoo yet ‘cause I have too many ideas for one, and it has to be super-duper-extra special; it’s gonna be permanent after all.
Wither Blister Burn + Peel meant a lot to me growing up, and it’s one of the few records that I can throw on and not skip a single track. You can’t really say that about a lot of records nowadays – it’s a pleasant surprise when a record is that good. When their third record, Darkest Days, came out there was one song I wasn’t the biggest fan of, but the record was another one that I could throw on and chill out to. It was until their fourth and final release, the self-titled Stabbing Westward, that I found myself skipping half the songs. The musical direction on the album is such an 180-degree change that most older fans were turned off to it, including me. It’s very far removed from their familiar industrial rock sound; it’s more of an alt-pop rock sound that sounded to close to too many cookiecutter alt-pop rock bands at that time.
Stabbing Westward eventually broke up in 2002 and most of the members went on their own paths. Some continued in music while others left the music scene. For former frontman Christopher Hall, he had to keep playing the music that he felt close to his heart. Starting a new band called The Dreaming, he and a few other worthy musicians carved out their own musical career with a few EP’s and two full-length releases: the debut record Etched in Blood and the follow-up, Puppet. Both albums gained them new fans, but the band went through many line-up changes (something Stabbing Westward went through quite a bit throughout their own career).
The Dreaming’s line-up has since stabilized with two original members returning, and a new member added to the mix bringing his familiar keyboard sounds and programming: former Stabbing Westward keyboarding/programmer Walter Flakus. With Chris and Walter back together again, it was inevitable that the music would have some of their former band’s sound. The first single off of the band’s upcoming Metropolis Records release, Rise Again (out in February 2015), is a great mixture of both old and new. Stabbing Westward/The Dreaming fans will find lots to love about this song, which combines the best element of both bands. The lyrics are very reminiscent of old school SW (circa Ungod), and the music is an even mix of the newer Dreaming sound with SW familiarity. Check out the first single “Alone”:
Totally sounds like older SW. The Dreaming also released an official video for “Alone” that’s pretty cool. It’s very minimalist in its concept but it’s got cool still shots, band footage, and it’s shot in black-and-white. Can’t go wrong with any of those elements.
I’m excited for this record. Umm… My young teenage angsty self is totally stoked for this record, but my current-angry adult self will happily buy it when it’s released and play it beyond comfortable listening levels, i.e. as loud as possible.