Stabbing Westward
Chasing Ghosts


3.4
great

Review

by Trey STAFF
September 1st, 2022 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The right release... hopefully the right time.

Stabbing Westward could never be described as a lucky band. The story of their first era could be described simply as “wrong place, wrong time”. Despite solid albums such as Whither, Blister, Burn, and Peel and Darkest Days, the band emerged during a time when mainstream music was saturated with industrial rock bands that were mostly terrible. After floundering on the cusp of success for three albums, they finally succumbed to label pressure (and sabotage) and jumped on the alterative rock bandwagon. The only results were an alienated fanbase, dismal album sales, and a hasty breakup. This was the entirety of Stabbing Westward’s story for nearly two decades, but then they started showing subtle signs of life as early as 2016. These faint signs eventually grew into an album announcement in 2019, and finally the release of Chasing Ghosts in 2022. So, what does Stabbing Westward sound like twenty-one years after their last release?

In all honesty, they sound like a band partying like it’s 1999. Predictably, they’ve taken the industrial ferocity of Darkest Days and the hooks of Wither, Blister, Burn, and Peel and crafted an industrial rock album straight out of the nineties; virtually ignoring the last twenty years of musical trends. The pre-release singles, “I Am Nothing” and “Ghost”, could be inserted into Darkest Days and not sound the least bit out of place. They both showcase a foundation of undulating synths, rhythmic percussion, and riffs that have just enough bite to feel visceral; all to highlight the easily recognizable vocals of Chris Hall. Just as in the past, it is Chris Hall’s vocals that really give Stabbing Westward their distinct sound and catchiness. That’s not to say the music isn’t great, – because songs such as “Control Z” with its bouncy rhythm and atmospheric keyboards is one of Stabbing Westward’s best because of the music – but it’s Chris Hall’s vocals that bring it to another level.

Maybe ‘partying’ wasn’t the right word to use earlier. This is Stabbing Westward, after all. Chasing Ghosts is a dark, dreary album full of pulsating synths, pounding rhythmic percussion, and aggressive yet accessible riffs, all rounded out by the strong vocals of Christopher Hall. It is the seamless follow-up to Stabbing Westward’s seminal peak, Darkest Days. When Stabbing Westward hit the scene the first time, they quickly drowned in a sea of genre saturation combined with high label expectations that quickly turned to indifference, but they don’t have to worry about those things anymore. Hopefully this second era won’t end up with the same footnote, – Wrong Place, Wrong Time – because Chasing Ghosts is absolutely the right release... hopefully it's finally the right time.



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user ratings (37)
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
PunkerBlast
September 2nd 2022


421 Comments


Oh wow you reviewed Ungod. I'll have to read that to see what you thought of the album at a younger age and back in 2007. I recall that I heard some rumblings of the band being together, but completely forgot was unware they had an album coming out and well there it is. I'll def have to check it out. Partying may not be the right word, but hell there were songs on Darkest Days that definitely had a rough and tumble rock out feel. 'Torn Apart' is just a good slammin' song. I've played Stabbing Westward songs at bars before in the distant past.

hangth3dj
September 2nd 2022


721 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Hell yeah, this finally got a review! Really enjoyed this comeback album, still gets the odd spin here and there.

unlog1c
September 2nd 2022


204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Wow, an album after 21 years of slumber. I only know the band from the Duke Nukem TTK intro, and that track slapped bigtime. Gotta listen to this.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 2nd 2022


10634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Happy 300th review man!

This is a good album, but I wish it had more of the darkness and anguish of Darkest Days.

Too easy a listening for its own good.

unlog1c
September 2nd 2022


204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

> What was the track?

The Thing I Hate

PunkerBlast
September 2nd 2022


421 Comments


I listened to Wither Blister... today on my way home from work. I definitely like Darkest Days better, but Wither.... has some great tracks. 'Sleep' is so haunting I really dug that one in time. I'll try and check this album out later. I am curious about it.

Decided to put it on while I play Undernauts on the PS4 hah that first song sounded great well off I go, figured I may as well just play it now.

PunkerBlast
September 3rd 2022


421 Comments


That was a solid album. 'Crawl' was about the only song I didn't care about, the last one was kinda meh but as a closer it's probably fine. Will certainly play the whole album again sometime. Christopher Hall is 57(!) I just found out and his voice still sounds that good? Damn he sounds just like he did on Darkest Days. 'Push' was interesting how it slowly built up. I'd call that album a successful return, not as brooding as Darkest Days but it didn't have to be. It still was interesting and flowed well overall.

henryChinaski
September 3rd 2022


4960 Comments


wow, loving the artwork

jfromnj
September 3rd 2022


116 Comments


And now Chris Hall is battling cancer. They could never catch a break. Darkest Days was always one of my favorites.

unlog1c
September 3rd 2022


204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This band obviously holds much nostalgic value for you, Willie. I couldn't rate this album higher than 2.5, +0.5 being for the gorgeous cover art. I also arrived at the conclusion that this album sounds 30 years into the past. I liked the first few tracks. The direction Push was going was fun, one of the riffs reminded me of Sign of Evil from Doom OST, but the track is too long for its own good. From there on it has been generic up until The End which has some merits.

Then there are lyrics. Most of the time they are god awful, and it doesn't help that the vocals are very clean and articulated that I couldn't help but catch everything even as an ESL. Control Z is prime cringe, with the chorus line repeated a million times. Many rhymes are as trite as it gets.

I also wanted to write that the vocals are the weak part and how the guy in his late 50s can't deliver the emotion anymore, but then I saw the comment about throat cancer. Damn, wish Chris overcomes that.

unlog1c
September 3rd 2022


204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I rarely pay attention to the lyrics and don't think lyrics have to be extraordinary for music to be good. But when they are so in-your-face, there is no way I can't notice the words. And if the words are the 5th repetition of "together-forever" or similar, it leaves a bad aftertaste.

I've listened to Darkest Days per your recommendation, and I certainly like it better than this. Christopher sounds more enthusiastic to me there which is understandable given he is 25 years younger. Sure, his vocal ability is average, but it's still enjoyable. The lyrics are fine: I don't mind "why are you hunting me" or "you complete me" repeated ad nauseam, but "Control Z cannot undo your broken heart" makes my skin crawl. This is something a clever kid could write in the Windows 95 era, which again reinforces how anachronistic the album feels.

BladeRunner
September 7th 2022


593 Comments


Grats on 300, Willie.

Used to like these guys back in 90s - will check this out!

unlog1c
September 11th 2022


204 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Somewhat surprisingly, this grows. Perhaps, listening to their discography made me appreciate more the sort of an album they've put out for their fans after a 20-year breakup since they've hit the mark very precisely.

grannypantys
September 11th 2022


2568 Comments


still kind of speechless this album exists

might check

minceMinx
November 1st 2022


4 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

On first spin, this is kinda dull, unfortunately. Had to wait til The End to find something to get my teeth into.



It's good to see them back on the horse again, shame about Chris' cancer diagnosis. He was one of my favourite singers in younger days. Hope he pulls through okay.

MoM
November 1st 2022


5994 Comments


🎉🥳🎉🥳

minceMinx
November 1st 2022


4 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks!

ChrimzonCanine
December 20th 2022


2080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Another mid industrial pop album by the sound of it

ChrimzonCanine
December 21st 2022


2080 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

At least they didn’t do what most of their contemporaries do and go overboard with the production. Still sounds like it could’ve come out a few years after Darkest Days

PunkerBlast
March 11th 2023


421 Comments


I really need to officially buy this album it can get a bit redundant and man that last song sucks!!!! Like why is is so like boring. It's not even sad boring......but otherwise what a great comeback. CONTROL Z!!!!!!!!



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