Stabbing Westward’s Latest LP Is Imperfect, But Still Entertaining

Courtesy: COP International

When Stabbing Westward released its EP, Dead and Gone, in January 2020, it was the first new music from the band in approximately two decades. The five-song record featured three new songs and remixes of two of the compositions. The record was, for diehard Stabbing Westward fans, a welcome new offering from the band. Now two years after the EP’s release, those three originals have joined with seven other originals to form what is Stabbing Westward’s first new full album in 21 years in the form of Chasing Ghosts. The 10-song record is another presentation that those noted devotees will appreciate. It will also appeal to casual industrial metal fans if slightly less so. That appeal comes primarily through the record’s featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. While the musical arrangements featured throughout the record will appeal to a wide range of audiences, the record’s lyrical content will limit that appeal to a point. This will be discussed a little later. The record’s production works with its musical side to add to the general effect and make it at least somewhat more appealing. This element will also be discussed later. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record’s presentation. All things considered, they make Chasing Ghosts worth hearing at least once among casual audiences and more among the band’s most devoted audiences.

Chasing Ghosts, Stabbing Westward’s first new album in 21 years, is an interesting new offering from the veteran industrial metal band. It is for the most part, everything that audiences have come to expect from the quartet musically and lyrically. Speaking first on the matter of the record’s musical arrangements, they boast all of the same brooding, synth-driven approach and sound to which audiences have become accustomed over the years. The control that front man Christopher Hall exhibits in his fiery vocals is just as familiar and appealing. In listening to all of the songs (even the much more subdued album closer, the aptly titled song, ‘The End’) the overall arrangements will take audiences back to the band’s heyday what with their inescapable comparisons to Nine Inch Nails’ and Depeche Mode’s best works. It forms a strong foundation for the album. As much as the record’s musical content does to make it engaging and entertaining, its lyrical content detracts from that enjoyment. That cannot be denied.

The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements is important to note because as with so many of Stabbing Westward’s catalog, the record’s lyrical content centers almost entirely on the same subject, that of broken relationships. From one album to the next, Hall has sung about the topic from one side or another, either being angry at the other person or begging and pleading. In the case of this record, he broaches the topic from both angles, The only song that could even seem to be about anything else is the record’s “title track,” ‘Ghost.’ In the case of this song, it sounds like a song that even with its brooding nature, is still about abandonment issues and the impact thereof. To that end, it could still apply in the case of a broken relationship, so again, the record’s lyrical content is undeniably limiting. There is no ignoring this issue. Thankfully even with all of this in mind, the limiting nature of the record’s lyrical content, it is not enough to completely doom the album. The production that went into the arrangements works with those works to make the record at least somewhat more worth hearing.

The production that went into this album, conducted by the band’s longtime producer and friend John Fryer. Fryer produced Stabbing Westward’s 1994 debut album, Ungod, as well as its follow-up, Wither Blister Burn & Peel (1996). Fryer has also worked (fittingly) with the likes of Nitzer Ebb, Depeche Mode, and Gravity Kills, three other bands who are known for their electronic and industrial leanings. In other words, Fryer has a lot of experience working not only with Stabbing Westward, knowing how to bring out the best from each of the band members, but in the electronic/industrial realm, too. His experience brought out the best from the band in this case, too, in terms of the album’s musical arrangements. Keeping that in mind along with the general familiarity of the arrangements to audiences, the two elements are certain to keep casual Stabbing Westward fans just as entertained as the band’s more devoted audiences. Those casual audiences will take all of this in mind and find the album worth hearing at least once while the more devoted audiences will find this and even the brooding lyrics will make the album worth even more.

Chasing Ghosts, the latest album from electronic/industrial rock band Stabbing Westward, is a presentation that the band’s most devoted audiences will agree was worth the wait of more than two decades. More casual audiences will find it worth hearing at least once. Its appeal among both audience groups comes primarily through its musical arrangements. Their familiarity and their heaviness will appeal to any fan of the industrial and electronic realms. As much as the record’s musical arrangements do to make it engaging and entertaining, the all too familiar brooding about broken relationships will limit the album’s appeal. That is because that is pretty much the only theme that runs through the album, much as with the band’s existing catalog. It’s another case of too much of a good thing. The record’s production works with the sound in the arrangements to make for at least some more appeal and to round out the most important of the album’s elements. When the production and arrangements are considered together, the two elements will make the record mostly successful.

Chasing Ghosts is available now through COP International. More information on the album is available along with all of Stabbing Westward’s latest news at:




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Stabbing Westward Premieres ‘Ghost’ Video

Courtesy: COP International Records

Stabbing Westward premiered the video for its latest single this weekend.

The band debuted the video for its new single, ‘Ghost’ Friday. The video’s premiere came more than a month after the band premiered the single by itself. it is a simple presentation that features the band’s members recording their parts for the song in the studio.

‘Ghost’ is the second single from the band’s forthcoming album, Ghosts, which is scheduled for release March 18 through COP International. Stabbing Westward premiered the album’s lead single, ‘I Am Nothing‘ and its companion lyric video, in November.

The musical arrangement featured in ‘Ghost’ takes audiences back to Stabbing Westward’s heyday through its electronics and haunting vocals from front man Christopher Hall. The brooding keyboard line, Hall’s vocals and the staccato nature of the guitar riffs work with the drums to make the arrangement in whole a song that throws back to works from Wither Blister Burn & Peel.

The press release announcing the single’s premiere did not include information about the song’s lyrical theme. A close listen to the song however, infers a theme of someone feeling alone mentally and emotionally. That is just this critic’s interpretation and should not be taken as the only interpretation.

Pre-orders for Chasing Ghosts are open. The album’s track listing is noted below.

The full track listing for Chasing Ghosts is as follows:

  1. I Am Nothing
  2. Damaged Goods
  3. Cold
  4. Push
  5. Wasteland
  6. Ctrl Z
  7. Crawl
  8. Dead & Gone
  9. Ghost
  10. The End

More information on Stabbing Westward’s new single and album is available along with all of Stabbing Westward’s latest news at:




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Stabbing Westward’s New EP Is A Welcome Surprise For The Band’s Fans

Courtesy: COP International

Stabbing Westward surprised fans Friday with the release of a new covers EP.  The four song record, Hallowed Hymns is an interesting presentation that will tide fans over while they wait for the band’s new album, Wasteland, which was scheduled for release this year, but has since been delayed until 2021.  The record proves itself as appealing as it is in part because of its featured covers.  This will be addressed shortly.  The arrangements connected with the chosen songs.  This will be addressed a little later.  The record’s production rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined later.  All three elements are important in their own way to the whole of the EP.  All things considered, they make the record an enjoyable musical treat for Stabbing Westward’s fans and for industrial rock and metal fans alike.

Stabbing Westward’s surprise EP Hallowed Hymns is a pleasantly surprising musical treat for audiences.  That is proven in part through the record’s featured songs.  The EP is composed of three covers and a remix of one of the covers.  The covers are that of The Cure’s ‘Burn,’ which was featured in the soundtrack to the movie The Crow, Ministry’s ‘(Every Day Is) Halloween,’ and Echo and the Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon.’  Stabbing Westward’s “Devil’s Night Mix” of ‘Burn’ rounds out the record.  ‘Burn’ marked the second time that The Cure was connected to The Crow.  The first was when another of the band’s songs – ‘The Hanging Garden’ – had its lyrics featured in the comic book that spawned the movie.  That the movie’s creative heads would think enough of the band’s music and that connection to include a new song for the movie’s soundtrack is a statement in and of itself.  While ‘Burrn’ was not one of the main singles from The Crow’s soundtrack, it still has stood the test of time in its own right.

‘(Every Day Is) Halloween’ stands on its own merits.  It has been highly respected by Ministry’s fans and goth fans alike.  It, along with it’s a-side companion ‘All Day’ has become a fan favorite, too.

Moving on to ‘The Killing Moon,’ the song is considered by the band’s fans as its greatest song of its catalog.  It also proved to be one of the band’s highest-charting singles.  It reached #7 in Ireland, #9 in the UK and #12 in New Zealand.  It has also been featured in the soundtracks for famous movies, such as Donnie Darko, The Girl Next Door, and Grosse Point Blank.  In other words, this song has stood the test of time just as much as its counterparts also featured in this EP.  Simply put, between this record and the EP’s other featured works, Stabbing Westward has chosen here, a selection of songs that is well-known and beloved by the fans of the bands that crafted the works.  They are not unknown works.  To that end, they in themselves will ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  They by themselves are just part of what makes the EP work as well as it does.  The band’s take on the songs adds its own interest to the record.

Stabbing Westward’s take on ‘Burn’ largely stays true to its source material.  A side-by-side shows that the only real difference between the renditions is that Stabbing Westward’s version just adds the band’s signature touch to the song.  That touch is the keyboard-driven approach that has made Stabbing Westward’s songs so unique within themselves and in comparison to other industrial/electronic rock acts out there.  This is certain to appeal to fans of The Cure because Stabbing Westward did not try to alter the song from its original form too much while also giving the song a nice added touch.

In comparison, the “Devil’s Night Mix” of ‘Burn’ gives the song even more of an extra punch.  Once again, the song stays largely true to its source material.  What is different in this case is that the band increases the prominence of the keyboards and electronics even more than in its initial cover of The Cure’s original work.  It’s something that audiences will appreciate even more.

Stabbing Westward’s take on ‘(Every Day Is) Halloween’ is another interesting presentation.  While it does stay somewhat true to Ministry’s original composition, the band’s influence is far more noticeable here than in the original work.  What’s more, Stabbing Westward’s cover is shorter than Ministry’s song by almost two whole minutes.  Just as noticeable is that the record scratching (very much a hip-hop element) that was so prominent in Ministry’s original work is nonexistent in Stabbing Westward’s update.  Odd as it may seem, that element actually adds to the song.  It is especially audible in the original song’s bridge.   Keeping all of this in mind, it is not to say that Stabbing Westward’s take is bad.  That is not the case at all.  It just is likely to split audiences even as enjoyable as it is.  In this critic’s ears, it is enjoyable.  It just has a unique identity separate from its source material.  That in itself makes the song worth hearing.

Examining the cover of Echo & the Bunnymen’s ‘The Killing Moon,’ that song may be well-known among audiences, but this is a case where Stabbing Westward actually improved on the original.  The addition of the keyboards and electronics here gives the original song a much fuller presentation.  Audiences will largely agree, too.  All things considered, the covers featured in this recording make for plenty of reason for audiences to hear the EP.  They collectively are not the last of the EP’s notable elements.  The EP’s production rounds out its most important elements.

The production that was used in this surprise record is so important especially because this is a covers compilation.  Those behind the glass had to make sure that the elements of the original compositions were well-balanced with the elements that have made Stabbing Westward’s work so familiar throughout the years without losing either along the way.  The efforts that went into achieving that goal paid off, too.  It brings out the best of both worlds, as audiences will hear for themselves, to the result that the overall product’s presentation is completely rounded out.  When the production of Hallowed Hymns is considered along with the featured songs and arrangements, the whole of the EP becomes a welcome musical treat for any Stabbing Westward fan and any fan of the featured bands whose works are covered.

Stabbing Westward’s new EP Hallowed Hymns is a presentation that is certain to tide over audiences waiting for the band’s next full-length studio recording, which is expected for release in 2021.  That is due in part to the songs that the band covered in the record.  They are relatively well-known each in their own right.  The band’s take on each song stays true to the source material while adding its own trademark touch to the works.  The production that was used in melding the works brought out the best of both worlds.  Each element noted is important in its own way to the whole of the EP.  All things considered, they make the EP a pleasant musical Halloween treat for audiences.

More information on Hallowed Hymns is available along with all of Stabbing Westward’s latest news at:




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‘Dead And Gone’ Proves Stabbing Westward Is Anything But Dead And Gone

Courtesy: Drugstore Records

Stabbing Westward has seen lots of ups and downs during the course of its life.  Having initially formed more than 35 years ago, the band released four albums and one EP before eventually breaking up in 2002.  Almost 15 years after that breakup, the band reunited in 2016, and has been keeping itself busy ever since then.  Just this past January, the band released its first new record in 19 years in the form of its new EP Dead and Gone.  The five-song record is a strong return for the band, and shows that even with as much time as has passed, the group can still hold its own alongside its counterparts in the electronic-industrial rock community.  It is a presentation whose musical arrangements pull from each of the band’s past records and whose lyrical content will connect with its own share of listeners.  Each item will be discussed shortly.  The record’s production and mixing rounds out its most important elements, and will be addressed later.  All things considered, the EP proves itself a strong return from one of the most well-known industrial-electronic rock acts of the 90s, and a presentation that gives audiences real reason to be optimistic about the band’s forthcoming album, which is scheduled for release later this year through COP International.

Stabbing Westward’s recently released EP Dead and Gone is a strong new offering from the band, having come along almost two decades after the release of the band’s then most recent album, it’s 2001 record Stabbing Westward.  That is due in part to the songs that make up the record’s body.  The EP features five songs, but technically only three of the five are original.  The other two are remixes of the record’s title track and of ‘Cold,’ the record’s second song.  The thing that gives this EP a pass unlike other EPs is that while the noted remixes are just that, they are still original works in their own right.  The ‘Dead and Gone’ (Stoneburner Remix) is proof of why the remixes deserve their own share of applause and attention.  The remix does stay true to its source material, but adds so much more to it in the process.  Case in point is the use of the extra electronics and the guitars that are added in to the composition.  The echo effect that is used on front man Christopher Hall’s vocals and the steady, driving bass drum beat that is incorporated adds an extra touch to the song.  The same can be said of the aforementioned guitars.  They give the song more of an edge that, together with the other added elements, actually makes the remix better than the original.  “Stabwalt’s 12” Dance Mix” of ‘Cold’ is deserving of its own praise.   This arrangement goes full EDM complete with extra keyboard accents while also staying as true as possible to its source material.  The arrangement builds on the very Orgy-esque sound featured in the original song and enhances it even more to make it just as enjoyable as the original, if not more so.

Speaking of that Orgy-influence exhibited in ‘Cold,’ it is fully evident in the original arrangement, complete with the Middle Eastern sound that opens the song.  What’s just as interesting about this arrangement  — the original arrangement – is that there are elements that make it comparable to works from old school Nine Inch Nails and to certain songs from Gary Numan.  Even with those comparisons, the song still boasts its own original identity in and of itself.  That ensures listeners will remain engaged and entertained throughout the course of the nearly four-and-a-half-minute opus.

‘Crawl,’ another of the songs featured in this EP, presents its own engaging and entertaining arrangement.  The use of the vocal effects, the guitars and keyboards will take listeners back to the band’s early days and  even as recent as the noted 2001 self-titled album.  In other words, it is a work that will appeal just as much to new audiences as it will to longtime listeners.

‘Dead and Gone,’ the EP’s opener wastes no time grabbing listeners’ attention, with its steady beat, its guitars and keyboards.  Right from the song’s outset, the arrangement lends itself to comparisons to Nine Inch Nails’ timeless hit ‘Head Like A Hole’ before easing up slightly in the lead verse.  That heaviness from the song’s opening returns in the song’s chorus, returning that comparison.  The back and forth of that heavy/soft/heavy/soft/heavy approach does its own part to keep listeners engaged and entertained here.  That is especially the case considering that despite the comparison, the song’s arrangement still boasts its own identity, too.  Considering the engagement and entertainment offered through the EP’s arrangements, the record clearly has plenty to offer audiences just in this aspect alone.  The EP’s lyrical content adds even more impact to its presentation.

All three of the original songs featured in Dead and Gone focus on one central topic – relationships.  The record’s title song would have been a good fit to the band’s self-titled record.  That’s because lyrically, by that point, Hall had gone from being more confident and straight forward, demanding love in his lyrics to being more pleading.  This song is very much in that vein.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “I failed to realize I’d found everything in you/And like a fool/I took it all for granted/I was too self-absorbed to see the pain I put you through/And you don’t believe in second chances.”  He adds in the chorus, “How can I go on/When my last hope is gone/How can I go on/When my last hope is dead and gone.”  From there, Hall continues in the song’s second verse, “You were the hope that pulled me through my darkest nights/But every time you needed me, I failed you/no longer want to live the life you’ve left behind/If it means I must face it without you.”  The song’s third and final verse continues in very similar fashion, finding its subject once again very pleadingly saying essentially oh-woe-is-me.  Given, this is rather self-serving, but it will connect with listeners, as there are those out there who are and have been in a similar situation, so maybe this song will help those people get through those difficult moments.

‘Cold’ is another example of why the song’s relationship-based lyrical themes strengthen the EP’s presentation.  Instead of someone who has lost that someone, this time, the song’s subject is lamenting unrequited love.  Hall sings from the subject’s vantage point here, “Our first kiss set my soul on fire/Consumed me with a burning desire/inside you, I finally felt whole/When I whispered, ‘I love you’/You froze and said nothing at all.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “It’s a silent scream through my head/I realized that my passion was dead/Inside you, I felt so alone/Like a fool who has fallen in love with an angel of stone.”  He adds in the song’s final verse, “The fire that ravaged my soul/is dead now and the ashes are cold.”  The song’s chorus adds its own impact to the song, as it finds Hall singing, “How did you get so cold/I can see in your eyes/There’s nothing inside/How did you get so cold.”  Again, the song’s subject is relatively clear here.  Lots of people have been in the position of this song’s subject; that moment of making that all-important statement in a relationship, but perhaps not getting back the same emotion from one’s partner.  Hall does a good job of expressing the emotions and thoughts that fill those who have made that move and have the same result.  To that end, it is not a song for everyone, but will connect with its own share of listeners.  Keeping that in mind, the combination of the song’s lyrical and musical content does its own work keeping audiences engaged and entertained, even here.

‘Crawl,’ the third of the record’s original works, will find its own unique appeal to audiences, too.  This song makes no bones as to its subject matter.  The song’s subject openly says to his/her love interest in the song’s chorus, “I would beg/I would plead/I would crawl/On my hands and knees/To try to restore your faith in me.”  The subject even goes so far as to say in the chorus’ refrain, “I would crawl through Hell on my knees/Just to be with you.”  This is something of a romanticized sort of statement that certainly plenty of listeners will appreciate, especially taking into account the over-the-top pleas that are presented in the song’s verses.  It is, again, not something for everyone, but those who do like such schmaltzy poetry will appreciate this presentation.  It shows that the song’s subject has realized he/she has done wrong to his/her partner, and will do whatever it takes to make things right.  Of course, actions speak louder than words, and keeping that in mind, it will not appeal to everyone, again, but will connect with its target listeners.  It’s just one more way in which the record’s lyrical content proves itself just as important to the EP’s whole as the presentation’s musical arrangements.  All things considered here, the overall content featured in these five songs makes Dead and Gone a work that is deserving of at least an occasional listen.

While the content that makes up the body of Dead and Gone does its own share to make the EP engaging and entertaining for the band’s target audience, the record’s production and mixing put the final touch to its whole.  As noted already, each song has a lot going on, between the keyboards, electronics, drums, vocals, guitar and bass.  Luckily, even as much as is going on in each song, each part is balanced well with one another.  Hall’s singing, in its more subtle and even more powerful moments helps to accent the emotion exhibited in each lyrical presentation.  At the same time, he never overpowers his band mates, nor do they wash him out.  The drums, in ‘Cold’ couple well with the guitars and drums to show once again how much time and effort was put into the record to create its impact.  Much the same can be said of the production of the record’s other works.  The end result of all of the production and mixing is a record that deserves just as much credit for its aesthetics as for its content.  Keeping that in mind, the EP, proves itself a strong return for the band and a work that deserves its own spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new EPs.

Stabbing Westward’s recently released EP Dead and Gone, released early this year, came with little fanfare or coverage from mainstream media outlets.  Despite that, it still managed to succeed and show that Stabbing Westward still sounds as strong as it did back in the 90s.  That is proven in part through its musical arrangements that will appeal widely to industrial and electronic rock fans.  The record’s lyrical content ensures its own appeal among audiences.  The production and mixing puts the final touch to the record’s whole.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of the EP.  All things considered, they make Dead and Gone proof that Stabbing Westward is not yet dead and gone.  More information on Dead and Gone is available along with all of Stabbing Westward’s latest news at:










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Stabbing Westward Signs New Record Deal; New Album Due This Year

Photo Credit: @Pharmadiver/Kim Hansen Photography

Stabbing Westward is back in the headlines again.

The veteran industrial rock band announced Thursday, it has signed a record deal with COP International.  The band is scheduled to release its fifth full-length studio album Wasteland through the independent Oakland, CA-based record label label.

The band — original members Christopher Hall (vocals, guitar), Walter Flakus (keyboards, programming) and Carlton Bost (bass), and newest band member Bobby Amaro (drums) has recruited John Fryer to produce the record.  Fryer worked with Stabbing Westward on the records that it released during the 1990s.  He has also worked with the likes of Depeche Mode, Gravity Kills and White Zombie over the course of his career.

Fryer said in a recent interview, he was glad to be working with Stabbing Westward again.

“It’s grand to be working with Stabbing Westward again,” he said. “The first two albums we made together were some of my finest work as a producer.”

Hall shared Fryer’s enthusiasm about reuniting.

“I was so excited to have the opportunity to go back to the very roots of Stabbing Westward by working with John again. John really helped us develop our sound on our first album and then helped us take a huge leap forward with our second album. Even though this is our fifth full length, after such a long break it feels like a new beginning and it’s very cool to have John at the helm once again.”

Flakus expanded on Hall’s comments with his own statement.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be working with John again. The creativity we found on the first two records continues to drive where we want to take Stabbing Westward in the years to come. I’m so happy to rekindle that flame.”

COP International Founder Christian Petke chimed in, too, stressing the label and its staff is fully behind Stabbing Westward in its new venture.

“We wanted to put the dream team of Stabbing Westward and John Fryer back together again,” he said. “First and foremost we are fans. We truly appreciate the talent and skill of the musicians that entrust us with their creations and we will do whatever it takes to help them to create their best work on their own terms. What is of utmost importance to us is to give our artists a boutique experience. We want to create a partnership that is probably closer to a management deal than a traditional record contract.”


Courtesy: Drugstore Records

The announcement of the new record deal and eventual record release comes approximately four months after the band released its EP Dead and Gone.  The five-song record spawned three singles — ‘Crawl,’ ‘Cold’ and the record’s title track — and a video for each single.

The EP is available to stream and purchase through Stabbing Westward’s official Bandcamp page.

More information on Stabbing Westward’s new record deal, forthcoming album and latest news is available at:\






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