Review by Dom Vigil
“Alone,” the intro track for The Dreaming’s Rise Again, sets the perfect tone for this huge album. Big and anthematic, “Alone,” is the best way to introduce yourself to The Dreaming if you've never listened to them before. It’s easy to imagine this track opening the band’s set in a huge arena - the drums and amazing bass tone build anticipation, and when the vocals come in and the chorus hits, everything seems to come together and explode. The balance on this track is amazing - no one part stands out too much. The vocals are gorgeous and tell the story of “Alone,” but the drums and bass tone mesh perfect and the guitar work is just the icing on the cake. And that’s just the first track.
“Alone” is a huge and incredibly well-balanced track, and the rest of Rise Again simply backs it up. The following song, “Painkillers,” flows perfectly, keeping the pace up and the listener interested. “Kisses Taste Like Death” is another huge track. This one is more guitar heavy, rather than electronically driven like “Alone,” but it’s still strong in the same aspects. “Kisses Taste Like Death” is an arena-ready track - it’s easy to close your eyes and just imagine the intensity of hearing this song played live. Vocally, the song is incredible, the lyrics are memorable and by the time the song is over, it’s already stuck in my head. And musically, “Kisses Taste Like Death” is unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. The guitar work carries the beginning of the song, but it’s the electronic undertones that keep it moving forward and really catch my attention.
The industrial electronic undertones that can be found in the first few songs of Rise Again only become stronger as the album progresses, too. “Empty Promises,” for example, is really electronically driven. The best part is that it doesn’t sound out of place or forced. The way that the electronic parts mesh with the rest of the instruments and vocals is flawless and easy.
Although the production of Rise Again is amazing, the sound is incredible and the vocals and lyrics are memorable, the downside is that many of the song structures on the album are very similar. That isn’t the case on the entire album, however, because then a slower song like “Throw It Away” or a standout like “Destroy” comes along and really mixes things up. Musically, “Destroy” is one of the strongest tracks on Rise Again, for example. The keyboard parts are a very strong driving force in the beginning of the track and in the verses, but the huge, guitar driven choruses really showcase The Dreaming’s versatility.
Everything else aside, though, I think the best thing about this Rise Again is its huge and timeless sound. These are people who know how to write good music together, as they’ve proven time and time again, and the result is something really well balanced with an incredible, distinct sound. Fans of The Dreaming or Stabbing Westward’s previous work definitely won’t be disappointed by this release. The industrial undertones are a driving force on Rise Again, but without making it sound outdated or like something that has already been done before. The Dreaming manage to grow and create memorable tracks with each release, and Rise Again is absolutely a testament to that.
Listen to "Kisses Taste Like Death"