The Dreaming – Puppet

The people of Revolver are hosting the stream of the album. Do check it here.

Now, for our review, but first a little rant. Feel free to skip it if it feels a bit tl;dr.

Rant starts

There’s a group of people being quite vocal about the production of the album, claiming that a leaked demo sounds better than the finished product. I haven’t listened to said leak, but unless someone held a gun to the head of each member of The Dreaming, then this is how they wanted the album to sound and on that basis, the review won’t go into comparing the album to the leaked demo; it’s unfair to the band that put so much effort to polish their art. This is their choice and if they are happy with it, let it be. If you are one of the people who prefer the demo and you have it, listen to that one and relish the music and the very emotional, heartfelt lyrics. It’s not a “the suits made them do it” situation, it’s a conscious decision. More the power to the band, some of us wish we had such creative control over our endeavours.

Rant finishes!

But enough rants, let’s go into the industrial grittiness (that hides some deeply emotional lyrics) that is Puppet. Opening track ‘Puppet’ is very standoffish and energetic. Chris Hall’s marvellous voice still is in top form and makes a certain track by Depeche Mode his own. Drummer Johnny Haro gets a chance on the limelight very early on the album with ‘Every trace’. Awesome drum intro (and great mix too).

The one-two punch rope a dope comes from ‘There will be blood’ and ‘End in tears’. It’s a fantastic combination, with ‘There will be blood’ sounding for a few moments like symphonic metal (the intro, baby) and with enough electronica elements peppered in to never intrude too much into your rocking experience (but the again, it’s a good match). The ending is haunting (music boxes always scare me).

‘End in tears’ is one of the “holy shit!” moments in Puppet. The industrial rawness is there, with Johnny Haro‘s steady, firm beat making it menacing enough. On a first spin, my favourite, no argument. The solo is brilliant. Heck, someone give Wesley Snipes a shot at Blade IV and use this one as the soundtrack for a chase in a dark, rain drenched alleyway.

Sorry, slight distraction. If you want some industrial rock done the right way, there are two prime cuts waiting for you in the later half of the album. ‘Stitches’ is relentless and ‘Solo Crucifixion’ is the soundtrack of a thousand nightmares rolled up in one shadowy figure stalking you in the darkness, yes, the one you barely see in the corner of your eye.

Not all is a grinding process. There are quieter moments in some of the songs and those are the songs that felt the more complete. No problem with aggressive, no holds barred songs like ‘Breathing’ (which rocks), but it’s the quiet moments in songs like ‘Hole’ (which is beautiful) that give it a bit of a journey. It’s all about variation and although The Dreaming seem comfortable with their sound of their own in this sophomore album, it’s all about their previous identities (Econoline Crush, Stabbing Westward) meeting with their present forms, sharing a few beers and walking towards a new stage.

There is a noted change in from Etched in Blood and as the interview in Revolver magazine points, it’s a slight “back to basics” while still looking for a fresh sound. Look at it as 90s vintage industrial in the ipods of a thousand broadband babies seeking more about this and taking the genre with their own sensibilities and cultural nuances. Hopefully, they’ll find a bonding point in the lyrics and music of Puppet. It certainly has offered several to me so far.

Words: Sam

Ps: Massive respect for this quote: “In the Dreaming we wanted to get back to that feeling of making music for ourselves. Not for a label or an A&R guy or a manager or even for fans, but just the music that we wanted to make” – Chris Hall

The Dreaming Website. Facebook. Twitter. Myspace. Reverbnation.

2 thoughts on “The Dreaming – Puppet

  1. It isn’t a leaked demo, it is the original version of the song “Puppet” that was released by chris hall in a magazine that came with a cd, then was released on their self released 2nd ep (“Bonus Tracks EP”) and not to mention it was on the cd “Pre-op” which the band themselves sold on tour, and put up for digital sales online, sorry if they didn’t want people comparing the final version to the original chris should have never released it,
    “Pre-Op” also has the song “Hollowman” which is the original version of “Stitches” as well as the original version of “Always And Never” and the original versions of “Solo Crucifixion”, and “Whole” which also appeared on the “Bonus Tracks EP”

    These were all released by the band themselves so I don’t feel sorry for them like i said if they didn’t want people comparing they shouldn’t have released them!

  2. It’s not a “the suits made them do it” situation

    Actually, it was EXACTLY, this situation. Though the demos are rough, the ideas behind most of the songs hold much more integrity to their original intent.the label/manager, diluted most of that intent in order for them to shape the product into what the label wanted to sell. Production wise, they just got too involved, not to mention, some of the temp musicians that werent part of the writing process, executed parts on the record with no viable commitment, direction, or message to deliver

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