The Dreaming: Rise Again
OUT NOW on CD, Digital Download, and Limited Edition Vinyl
Released: February 10th, 2015
The Dreaming seemed to be quite vocal about the upcoming music through their Facebook page further in advance to the release date than I remember. Although, given the past, it’s not surprising that the opening track, “Alone”, was released months in advance. In fact, it nearly felt like Christopher Hall, Johnny Haro, Franccesca De Struct, and Carlton Bost were flaunting (possibly even teasing) to fans excited about Hall’s reunion with keyboardist Walter Flakus. Adding to the anticipation, this is their first release with Metropolis Records (who also houses another band I love, Front Line Assembly). Not that the band’s previous two releases (Etched In Blood and Puppet) had any problem with sound in my opinion, but Rise Again sounds so crisp and clean even in the digital download version. I can only imagine, so far, how good and alive the limited edition vinyl sounds.
While I’m not one to go track-for-track in reviews, I will start with the lead track “Alone”, which appears in an album version that is extended from the pre-released video version. I was surprised when I had heard that this was actually one of the older songs Hall/Flakus had wrote quite awhile ago in the early-Dreaming days from what I remember. It sounds so fresh and modern and seems to pick right up in the vibe Puppet seemed to leave. Note to new comers, while the song has a strong taste of Stabbing Westward, they are by far Hall & Flakus’s (and Haro’s technically) former band. For me, Rise Again, so far gives me the vibes of both bands. It’s possibly a hybrid. However, for anytime it may sound like Stabbing Westward-esque, there’s at least the equal amount of the more upbeat Dreaming sound.
“Still Believe” (intro especially) sounds like it could have slid into SW’s Ungod album until its uplifting, melodic chorus grabs you along with their becoming trademark “oddly danceable” beat. Franccesca’s bass leads into the song magically. “Empty Promises” leads into a great chorus with “I’m so sick of your empty promises” and pieces even have slight synth pop flavor.
Another song pulling back to the “old days” is “Afraid”. I’m really pleased that this song finally made it on an official Dreaming album. The song dates back to the Dreaming EP and I’ve always thought it contained one of Hall’s most soul-filled choruses. However, I’m happy this was the album that it made it on considering the production quality and the way everything seemed to be recorded. Haro’s bass drum seems more prominent on this album and there seems to be a much more full sound, it’s alive! Again, this is without saying that there was something wrong with the recording of the previous two Dreaming albums. This one just happened to blow me away and pester me to grab my air guitar
Not that I would ever tell anyone to not buy something, but I very strongly recommend this if you’re looking for passionate, emotional rock but something that is unique and not tired and recycled. The Dreaming once again prove that their goal is to stay fresh and on their own path. (5/5)
Edit: The Dreaming noted a typo in the 4th paragraph originally mentioning “Alone”. “Afraid” is the correct song that should have been mentioned there and has been fixed. (2/15)