Stabbing Westward

Wither Blister Burn & Peel

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Stabbing Westward's second album finds them discarding the lo-fi aggro-synth assault of their first album for a more mainstream "guitar-driven sound." While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, you have to wonder why they would do such a thing. Is it because they wished to become mainstream and "get paid," as the saying goes? Or was it a producer who thought, "Hmmm, I can turn them into a money-making machine..."? The general consensus is that Stabbing Westward are ripping off Nine Inch Nails, but upon closer inspection you will probably find they owe more to the British synth poppers Depeche Mode than anyone. This is especially true on the "emotional" synth-bass of "What Do I Have to Do?" and the alien landscape sounds of "Sleep." Is a critic's reasoning, "Oh well, who remembers synth pop anyway? Let's just say they sound like Nine Inch Nails and nobody will care..."? Sure, Christopher Hall writes depressing lyrics and sings in a way reminiscent of Trent Reznor, but the question is, are they a good band? The answer is both yes and no. They appear to want to be a good band but are held back because they let themselves succumb to many musical clich├ęs and formulas. With Wither Blister Burn & Peel, they've lost the creative spark they had with their first album, Ungod, and any potential that had been amassed. They can keep this up, though, just as long as it continues to sell. Seriously though, its an OK album as long as you're not expecting too much from it. If you're looking for an album with lots of depth, you will be sorely disappointed.

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