This one was an absolute surprise. I’ve been a fan of Christopher Hall since his Stabbing Westward days and was excited at the prospect of what his new band, The Dreaming, would bring. Etched In Blood, The Dreaming’s 2008 debut, was  stripped of the electronics that made Stabbing Westward stand out and decidedly more in your face rock but Hall’s distinct voice and heartbroken lyrics still made his new band rise above the rest.

Cut to 2011 and a firm line-up that includes former members of The Genitorturers, Murderdolls, and Wednesday 13, a new label to call home in EAR/EMI, and their long awaited sophomore album, Puppet, and it looks like things are definitely looking good for The Dreaming.

First thing you’ll notice is how much more Westward-esque Puppet is. The title track blasts through the gates with an urgency as Hall delivers another gut wrenching performance amidst chugging riffs and a hint of electronics in the background. That trend continues throughout Puppet and puts The Dreaming’s second album sonically closer to Ungod or Wither, Blister… than Etched In Blood. Have no fear, the brutal rock that was ever present on Etched… is even more present here and mixes well with the old to make this the perfect jumping on point for anyone who still didn’t know this band existed (To which I have to say: Really?).

On the rest of Puppet, the listener will be treated to electro rock at its finest. From the Manson-esque stomp of first single “Every Trace”, to the Real Life-ish “Fight For You” and “Too Late” (Come on, you can totally hear bits of “Send Me An Angel” in both…that’s a good thing!) and even the electrified cover of Depeche Mode’s “It’s No Good”, The Dreaming bring it through 12 tracks and for a solid forty three minutes. I’m going to be so bold and say there’s not a bad song on this album. Yeah, I said it.

Hall and drummer Johnny Haro have been this band since its’ inception in 2002 and Puppet is a testament to their dedication toward creating the perfect mix of substance and style. Don’t let The Dreaming pass you by.

Puppet is (finally) out now. Buy it at one of these places if you’d like.

Grade: A+

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