Review Summary: like raising your mug of beer to the sky and realizing that it's half empty.
The Dreaming consider themselves to have “A heart of metal, a soul of darkwave and a punk-rock attitude”, but Etched in Blood
didn’t send that message. If it sent any message at all, it was that they needed to return to the drawing board to wipe off the dicks they had previously drawn on it. They were another faceless rock band with a good idea that never came to fruition due to a terribly generic and boring execution. When done right, mainstream rock can make for a pretty good time, but The Dreaming’s previous album left us dreaming of what they could do if they actually tried. Therefore, it is with great joy (and surprise) when I say that we need not dream any more. Puppet
is everything that Etched in Blood
should have been, plus there’s a bonus prize in the cereal box - relevance.
Don’t get me wrong, Etched in Blood
had great potential, it just wasn’t crafted with care. What it needed was a sense of urgency, a bit more of that punk attitude that they supposedly have. Well, Puppet
has it in spades. With hard-hitting, metal-edged riffs and fist-pumping choruses, Puppet
is filled with the stuff you’d expect to hear on the radio while driving with your friend, windows down. Except that this isn’t just another mainstream rock album, it’s pretty good. The highlight being Christopher Hall’s vocal performance which is absolutely explosive; paired with the dirty, partying riffs, the album is pretty fun. This is quite a step up from their previous album which was (for lack of a better word) boring. Who knew that The Dreaming could create catchy, beer-soaked anthems?
A problem still remains, and that would be the album’s lack of variation. After twelve tracks, their formula becomes quite predictable: 1) start song with a crunchy hook 2) fade into the subdued verse with a simple beat and minimal industrial influence 3) explode into the riff heavy chorus. Honestly, this is how the entire album goes save for the track ‘Every Trace’ which bears similarity to Green Day’s ‘Holiday’. As much as Puppet
is enjoyable, it is equally predictable, and borders on average, throw-away radio rock. Thankfully, the album is still a collection of good songs even if they all sound like the same one. Therefore, The Dreaming
is great entertainment for a while, at least until the songs are given time to sink in.