Stabbing Westward – Hallowed Hymns (EP Review)

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a pretty terrible year. From global pandemics to social unrest to the pending no one wins presidential election here in the USA, what do any of us really have to look forward to? Well, if you are a fan of Stabbing Westward then you can certainly keep your hopes up.

A band that faded into the abyss back in 2002, they officially reunited back in 2016 to a swell of excitement. First they toured a bit, they celebrated the 20th anniversary of 1998’s Darkest Days, re-recorded Iwo Jesus in 2019, and then released the stellar comeback EP Dead and Gone earlier this year. On a roll, and building momentum, they now drop a surprise EP in honor of Halloween with the release of Hallowed Hymns on Friday, October 30th.

Coming out of what seems like thin air, Hallowed Hymns was clearly strategically planned by the band to come out directly prior to Halloween of 2020 – and boy it couldn’t have come at a better time! A great gift for fans of the band and the spooky holiday, the EP consists of four tracks that fit the season. All cover songs, they include The Cure’s “Burn,” Ministry’s “Every Day Is Halloween,” and Echo & the Bunnymen’s “Killing Moon.” A pretty damn cool collection of tunes, Stabbing Westward puts their own spin on them and it works extremely well.

First with The Cure’s 1994 “Burn” they create a sound that is on par with a tone heard on 1996’s Wither Blister Burn & Peel and the aforementioned Darkest Days. Then with Ministry’s “Every Day Is Halloween,” they offer a fitting homage to the industrial giants but still manage to add a great personal touch. Last, but certainly not least, they take Echo & the Bunnymen’s dreamy “Killing Moon” and transform it into a dark, moody Industrial leaning track that strikes gold.

All in all, these are some high quality cover songs that you are going to want to get your hands on. Oh, and as a bonus, the fourth track on the EP is a remixed version of their take on “Burn,” and it’s something you could easily  see lighting up the dance floor of a goth club somewhere out there. This all in mind, perhaps the most exciting aspect of Hallowed Hymns is that is came without warning. Sometimes in a world where we have so much information, a legitimate surprise is truly refreshing.

And, if this was all not enough, Stabbing Westward are actually in the studio as we speak, prepping for their first LP in two decades, an album to be entitled Wasteland. Scheduled for release sometime in 2021, they will be working with the legendary John Fryer, who has produced everything from Depeche Mode’s 1981 album Speak & Spell to Yazoo 1982 classic Upstairs at Eric’s. Are you salivating yet? You should be! With the future looking brighter, Cryptic Rock give Hallowed Hymns 5 out of 5 stars.

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