Stabbing Westward – Chasing Ghosts (Album Review)

Stabbing Westward – Chasing Ghosts (Album Review)

Bands come and go, but when they reunite with original members after many years, the nostalgia creates a warmth even in the coldest soul. Which brings to mind Illinois-originated Industrial Rock outfit Stabbing Westward. A band which blossomed into fruition back in 1985, going onto produce four great studio albums until their disbanding in 2002, to the surprise of many, Stabbing Westward made their reunion a official back in 2016. They have since done some solid touring, released two EPs between 2019 and 2020, but now the time has come for unveil their first full-length album in twenty-one years, Chasing Ghosts due out on Friday, March 18, 2022 via COP International Records. 

For a while the only way to catch Vocalist Christopher Hall on stage was to see his band The Dreaming, also a creatively accomplished act worth checking out. Now, Stabbing Westward is back in full force with Walter Flakus on keyboards, Carlton Bost on guitars/programming, and Bobby Amaro on drums. Slowly building a swell of interest leading up to this impressive return, Chasing Ghosts is a delightful 10-track album with a gothic based concepts that has no shortcomings of emotion involved. Spice up these gut-wrenching vibes with some creative Industrial musical conceptions, and a beautiful result is achieved.

Long awaited, Chasing Ghosts deliveries the goods with a mix of brand new cuts and reworking ones featured on the 2019 EP Dead And Gone. It starts off with “I Am Nothing” which right away flows into that nostalgia mindset of the ’90s heyday of Stabbing Westward. Is it timeless? Absolutely, and then some. With the future and the past of Stabbing Westward channeled into one album, there is no territory unscathed here.

You then have songs like “Cold” which is as catchy and sad as any, plus it soothes the fire of desire nicely. Then there is the ballad “Push” featuring a very somber sweet message sure to grab your attention. At over seven minutes long, it serves as a great turning point on Chasing Ghosts as a whole. Following up is “Wasteland” which has faster, more old school tone, yet still is presented in a a unique way.

In all, Chasing Ghosts incorporate all the experiences, tactics, and knowledge of Stabbing Westward, plus all the bands both Christopher Hall and Walter Flakus have been in over the last two decades. A good example of this “Control Z” which is an exciting feat that puts Stabbing Westward back on the map right where they left off after 1998’s Darkest Days and their often overlooked 2001 self-titled album. To set off the climax is the fan-familiar “Dead And Gone” with it’s sharp Industrial tones and compelling beats. Wrapping up the album are then “Ghost” and the finale which is appropriately titled “The End.” The former is almost six minutes long and is complete with some modern electronics mixed with a simplistic vocal tone that ties into a cohesive unit quite effectively. The latter is seven and a half minutes long conclusion of reconciliation and new beginnings which epitomizes is the future of Stabbing Westward in a nutshell. 

Featuring tracks that are as great as anything the band has done prior, Chasing Ghosts is everything Stabbing Westward fans could have dreamed for and more. Helping bring the entire package together is cover artwork by David Seidman which depicts an almost Salvador Dali-esque skull with its surreal elements of a house and a woman’s face entwined into it. A worthy mention, it perfectly visualizes the nature of the Chasing Ghosts album in a brilliant way. So, the wait is over, and Stabbing Westward make it worth it. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Chasing Ghosts 5 out of 5 stars. 



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Lisa Burke
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Lisa is a metalhead at heart with a variety of musical genre interests, and the determination to save the world, one Metal show at a time. Her professional passions range from Rock n Roll and Gothic Metal inspired fashion design to Heavy Metal and Rock n Roll journalism for live and album reviews. She currently contributes these reviews to Metal Assault and CrypticRock.

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