The most challenging aspect of getting into Stabbing Westward are the vocals, and the odd placement of sparse moods which create uncomfortable experiences that feel betrayed, and socially unstable.
These behavioral foundations are brittle, at the same one is watching their doppelganger being accosted with all possibilities of enduring, and surviving a very shitty existence. I think a good comparison for this is being in a constant stasis of awkwardness and not really knowing how to pull through any of it.
Tonality wise it doesn't adhere to fluidity, and connection. This creates a fractured listening experience, and though there are sprinkles of pep with the music, that isn't always the strength.
Vocally the words are either spoken, or shouted through a distorted laden tunnel. Though there a few similarities to Nine Inch Nails in this regard, yet the overall vibe is a mixture of music competing against these disjointed sparse moods.
Some of the material works, but I felt this grated my nerves. These disassociation properties of human emptiness through failed relationships, and self-worth didn't encourage much outside of the self loathing construction.
There are few palatable hits, but this record annoys me in how it perceives it's own perception. Relying on this motif of being constantly self aware, but also being decidedly argumentative over how depressed it is.
Thusly the second release Ungod develops more of that internal despair, giving out a external thickness in the areas of self depreciation.
Songwise Ungod combed around with bits and fragments of depression as a way to find a solid or tangible mechanism for coping.
There are a few areas that build on upbeat tempo structures, but overall the main meat of this release pairs itself to the dichotomy of a mental breakdown, or hitting the lowest point a person can get to.
I would have liked to have seen this record go into places of light, rather than all these perceived negative connotations. It's in this utter lack of contact and moping in self misery which turns a person off if they aren't really accustomed to this designation.
The other more constructive criticism I have here is that there are some pretty remarkable musicians if you can focus on their performances, because both bass and drum work is often drowned out by all the heavy emotional dissonance. I even had to stop for a second and look at the tracks to see what song had some pop to it.
|Dave McKean Hourglass|
I didn't really feel any connection to this record because it was it's own variation, in same way that Ungod and Wither share in this dramatic theme.
Though the craftsmanship of the musicians is still good, I didn't connect in any real way with this release. I felt more detached, having no real regard to whether this would stick with me or not.
Their final record I completely missed, as I was already tired of the same spiel, and felt I needed to move away from this construction. A minor lineup change somewhat precipitates the ending for the band in the 2000's decade, giving a finality or a last hurrah's of the 90's industrial era.
Though other bands were very keen on taking on the alternative mantle to stay current, industrial and many of it's sub-variants took a different turn, and eventually fading into the underground.
The best way I could summarize Stabbing Westward's records is the further down the darkness tunnel one goes, there isn't much to gleam from in a way that is positive, or gives insight in how to pull through the human emotion. Very dark elements override what could be, than what was.
I myself had a harder time really connecting with this band because that it ran counter to my palate, various listening choices, and I wasn't a going through the angst of teenage rebellion. Having handled and listened to Stabbing Westward in recent years I think I've got a reason as to why I had missed out, I wasn't the intended audience.
Concurrently I didn't and still don't like their message because it was emo whilst being extremely nihilistic, which carries it's own sort of baggage. All that negative energy released on those records didn't go anywhere. Sure there are some catchy songs, but the main crux for me is that it's often seeking pity when there is none to be had.
I'm not quite sure or understand why using these a, b, or c type idioms really works in a scope for entertainment purposes. The problem more or less stems from having a kind of outlet to vent, but not give any real hope. The duration is often replete in these vacuums of selfish egotistical bullshit teenagers will grow up and move on from.
It is this power that runs against the status, more or less depending upon each of the themes which are riddled throughout their catalog. Stabbing Westward use to great effect deadweight misery, often it can be a albatross in itself but then again someone out there liked what they did. Lastly, this really didn't connect for me, so this is a group that gets few spins. Thanks for reading.