Stabbing Westward
Wither Blister Burn & Peel


2.8
good

Review

by Trey STAFF
July 10th, 2007 | 11 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The album that briefly broke them into the mainstream, featuring the singles Shame and What Do I Have To Do?

Stabbing Westward were a band that deserved a lot more attention than they ever received. While lesser groups were still jumping on the industrial rock bandwagon and trying to learn how to use a sampler, Stabbing Westward was playing concerts all around the Chicago area and making a name for their selves with their phenomenal live shows. They were a band that used both the sound of mainstream rock and industrial to make music that was generally confrontational, and always emotional. On this, their second album, they finally received some of the recognition they deserved before fading back away during their third and fourth releases.

People that started listening to Stabbing Westward during their first release, Ungod, will immediately notice a difference on this album. For one, the guitarist responsible for most of Ungod's songs had left before the writing of this album. Due to that fact, this album lost the groove the other one so prominently displayed. Apparently, losing their guitar player was stressful enough the rest of the band chose not to replace him. Instead their vocalist, Chris Hall, rose to the challenge and picked up a lot of the guitar duties. Chris turned out to be a pretty good guitar player, even if he did just copy the style of their previous guitarist. Even better for the band and their fans, was he turned out to be a better song writer then their old guitar player, too. That means what this album lost in groove was more than made up for with improved song writing. The songs on this album just stick in your head and stay there, and the choruses are more than just a sentence or two repeated to redundancy. Also, they branched out lyrically, taking on other themes besides failed relationships, most notably sexual abuse in the song "Crushing Me".

Wither, Blister… opens with the song "I Don't Believe," which could have come off Ungod if not for the lack of groove and a slight lack of electronics. It begins with a muddy guitar riff and Chris Hall saying “I’m such an asshole, god I’m such a stain, I just keep fucking up again and again,” before raging right into the chorus of the song. The next two tracks are the two singles most responsible for all Stabbing Westward’s mainstream exposure. The second track (and second single), "Shame," is the more rocking of the two, featuring a riff that almost feels stolen from the archives of their original guitar player. It has that screeching sound that was prevalent on the first single from their debut album. Meanwhile, the third track (and first single), "What Do I Have to Do", is more subdued and ballad-like, but also features a lot more electronics than the rest of the album. It is also the song that broke them into the mainstream and onto Mtv rotation.

It should be mentioned that despite the fact the fourth song is almost entirely electronics, it’s definitely obvious they had taken more of a backseat to the guitar playing and the choruses. Due to the caliber of the first three songs, it might not seem like that big of a deal, but after those initial tracks the quality drops a notch. The only two songs out of the last five that aren’t just kind of slow and boring are “So Wrong” and “Falls Apart”. These two songs display a punk influence not found on the first album, but also sacrifices even more of the electronic elements to achieve it.

Overall, Wither, Blister… is a much more safe and mainstream offering than their debut, featuring much improved songwriting and song structures, but also a lack of energy and aggression, especially in the latter part of the album. Despite the fact this album has two of Stabbing Westward’s most popular songs, it is really hard to recommend this to someone who has never heard them before due the decline in quality after the first four tracks. For those people, I’d recommend their third release, “Darkest Days.” For those that have heard them before, it’s probably a safe bet this is the album that introduced you to them, and you’ll already know what you’re getting into.




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user ratings (110)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MonorailCat
June 27th 2008


118 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review mate. This is the first Stabbing Westward album I picked up and still the only one I have. I want to pick up the first one to notice the differences you stated.

Willie
Moderator
June 27th 2008


18808 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

If you like Stabbing Westward and limited in funds then I would suggest "Darkest Days" over the debut, but if you're just going to find them online then might as well get the debut. You'll see what I'm talking about when you hear it.

Digging: Make Them Suffer - How to Survive a Funeral

SteelErectedb4you8er
February 16th 2010


2620 Comments


Shame is an awesome song. But yes Darkest Days is their best followed by their debut.

nastynick
February 16th 2010


853 Comments


darkest days was one of my favorite albums growing up.... lol, i can see it now

SteelErectedb4you8er
February 16th 2010


2620 Comments


I am listening to darkest days right now for the first time probably 5 or so years. It is still catchy as all get up.

BigHans
January 31st 2014


30931 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol way to bait me man, I cant even keep up

SirDrumsalot
January 31st 2014


1835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

What is up with all the 90's album comments right now?



I loved Stabbing Westward. Darkest Days was so flipping good though.

BigHans
January 31st 2014


30931 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

dude Curseworship put up a Goo Goo Dolls review which made me nostalgic as fuck

SirDrumsalot
January 31st 2014


1835 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I still jam Darkest Days every so often. In fact, here we go.

ExcentrifugalForz
April 20th 2014


2124 Comments


this has about four good tracks

rabidkoala
October 3rd 2018


4 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was my first Stabbing Westward album and still my favorite. Darkest Days is great, too, but I honestly feel like it has more filler tracks. The band did a good job of balancing the heavy and more introspective tracks here. Maybe I'm biased because this album came out when I was in high school, and it stayed in my Discman for months.



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