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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
"Darkest Days" is a nearly flawless album by Stabbing Westward, and it's definitely the best album they ever put out. From the beginning song, "Darkest Day," to the ending song, "Waking Up Beside You," Christopher Hall and the boys discover variations on the theme of loneliness, and they are truly musical, lyrical, and painful.
"Save Yourself" is one of my favorites on this album. It's an oddly despairing, yet inspiring, song. Hall sings about empowerment, and how he's not about to save anyone, because he can't even save himself. Like I said; very ironic, yet very moving. Five stars for that one.
Right before that is another of my favorites, the only truly "happy" song on this album, "You Complete Me." Here, Hall sings of the happier, quieter moments in a relationship, where people truly feel a part of one another. Five stars for that.
"Torn Apart" and "Sometimes it Hurts" are both about when a relationship breaks up, and how bad it feels. The next three songs, "Drowning, "Desperate Now," and "Goodbye," talk about how it might be better sometimes to die than deal with all that pain. Stabbing Westward does this mood the best in the first song, "Drowning," where it's all very subdued, soft, and a real mood breaker. "Desperate Now" is more like an opera, whereas "Goodbye" is half-and-half between the two. Five for "Drowning," four for the others.
The next two songs are full of anger and rage. "When I'm Dead" talks about how the other person should have treated them better, while "The Thing I Hate" talks about how we all worry that we're turning into whatever we hate when we feel miserable. Five stars for each of them.
The other songs, "On Your Way Down," "Everything I Touch (I Break)" and the others are all excellent, nearly perfect.
So, as I said, it's an almost perfect album. The only things that mar it are the occasional flatness of Christopher Hall's vocals (which could be said to be for emotional effect) and, oddly enough, the layout of the album. It might have worked a bit better if the three down songs "Goodbye," "Drowning" and "Desperate Now" weren't all lined up in a row; that lessens their impact. In addition, putting two back to back hard rockers _after_ those three slower, sadder songs is also a bit of unusually odd packaging. If they'd been intermingled, it would have been more of a paradigm of a relationship, as people go through many feelings quickly when a relationship ends.
The last song, "Waking Up Beside You" is probably the best song Stabbing Westward ever recorded. It's emotionally powerful, heartwrenching, and sad. Hall sang it to perfection, shading the lyrics a touch here and there to add emphasis.
It's really a shame Stabbing Westward broke up after their next, self-titled album, because they had a great deal of promise. Still, they left us this album behind, which is better than at least 90% of everything else I've heard in the last ten years.
A shade under five stars, recommended.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2001
Format: Audio CD
It is obvious that Stabbing Westward's music has greatly grown and matured ever since their original CD; "Ungod". "Wither Blister Burn & Peel" was a great follow-up, but this album is the band's best work. I was actually very surprised to read many fan's reviews, saying that this album wasn't as carefully put together and didn't have the same energy or power behind it.
If you listen closely to the lyric's of the songs, the general flow of the music, and the way the songs are structured, you will notice that the album is essentially written in four parts. Similar to the rest of Stabbing Westward's work, the CD focuses on relationships and where they go wrong. The other theme present is how we mess up in life and how to get back on the right track. A very depressing album.
The first four songs focus on how we mess up in life and the terrible, threatening mistakes we make. "Darkest Days" is a great opening song, makes great use of the band's percussion and Chris Hall's emotional lyrics. Second is "Everything I Touch", a powerful song discussing how he ruins everything he gets involved with. Afterwards are (in my opinion) the two best songs on the album. "How Can I Hold On? (Dog Attack)" is a fast-paced gothic/industrial tune that gets the adrenaline going. The follow-up is "Drugstore", the most emotionally-charged song on the CD, talking about drug abuse and the influence that people have on each other.
The second portion of the album deals with relationships, specifically the ones that are torn apart by lies, disagreements, etc. "You Complete Me" is really the only upbeat song in this section, and pretty much on the album as well. "Save Yourself", "Haunting Me", and "Torn Apart" are more adrenaline-pumping songs, all strong and fast-paced.
Then, sitting right in the middle is the portion to listen to when you're feeling down, when you've reached that low point in life that's hard to get out of. "Drowning" and "Goodbye" are slow-moving, but no less emotional than anything else on here. But the real standout's in this section are "Sometimes It Hurts" and "Desperate Now".
Wrapping the album up is the most emotion-filled, most powerful portion of the entire album. The theme behind it is standing behind your beliefs in life. The pure anger and violence in "When I'm Dead" and "The Thing I Hate" makes them some of the best industrial tunes out there. "On Your Way Down" uses skillful guitar playing and lyrics, which refer to how celebrities screw people over in life to get to the top. The closing track on the album, "Waking Up Beside You" is enough to bring a lot of people to tears. This song rises above the majority of the rest of the band's work.
Although the album is split into four general themes and sections, it also has the capability to flow through as one theme, a strange talent that is rare to find in a CD and a band itself. I strongly recommend this, and anything else by Stabbing Westward, to anyone who likes hard rock and industrial.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Many people call Stabbing Westward a Nine Inch Nails rip off. Darkest Days proves those people wrong. Stabbing Westward is such a unique Industrial band with their own original sound. Every song on this album is packed with so much emotion and power. The instruments and electronics are amazing, and Christopher Hall's voice brings the haunting and brooding lyrics to life like no other singer could. The band has really matured since Ungod and Wither Blister Burn + Peel, and it shows through the music and lyrics on Darkest Days.
It's such a shame that Stabbing Westward isn't a very well known band, because the talent they posses is greater than a majority of the bands that are on the covers of magazines. Some people even say they're better than NIN. Those words will never come from my mouth, but I will say this. Stabbing Westward is one of the very few bands whose records I will buy. I highly recommend Darkest Days, especially to fans of Industrial, and to people who don't care to just hear screaming and swearing.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2001
Format: Audio CD
It is obvious that Stabbing Westward's music has greatly grown and matured ever since their original CD; "Ungod". "Wither Blister Burn & Peel" was a great follow-up, but this album is the band's best work. I was actually very surprised to read many fan's reviews, saying that this album wasn't as carefully put together and didn't have the same energy or power behind it.
If you listen closely to the lyric's of the songs, the general flow of the music, and the way the songs are structured, you will notice that the album is essentially written in four parts. Similar to the rest of Stabbing Westward's work, the CD focuses on relationships and where they go wrong. The other theme present is how we mess up in life and how to get back on the right track. A very depressing album.
The first four songs focus on how we mess up in life and the terrible, threatening mistakes we make. "Darkest Days" is a great opening song, makes great use of the band's percussion and Chris Hall's emotional lyrics. Second is "Everything I Touch", a powerful song discussing how he ruins everything he gets involved with. Afterwards are (in my opinion) the two best songs on the album. "How Can I Hold On? (Dog Attack)" is a fast-paced gothic/industrial tune that gets the adrenaline going. The follow-up is "Drugstore", the most emotionally-charged song on the CD, talking about drug abuse and the influence that people have on each other.
The second portion of the album deals with relationships, specifically the ones that are torn apart by lies, disagreements, etc. "You Complete Me" is really the only upbeat song in this section, and pretty much on the album as well. "Save Yourself", "Haunting Me", and "Torn Apart" are more adrenaline-pumping songs, all strong and fast-paced.
Then, sitting right in the middle is the portion to listen to when you're feeling down, when you've reached that low point in life that's hard to get out of. "Drowning" and "Goodbye" are slow-moving, but no less emotional than anything else on here. But the real standout's in this section are "Sometimes It Hurts" and "Desperate Now".
Wrapping the album up is the most emotion-filled, most powerful portion of the entire album. The theme behind it is standing behind your beliefs in life. The pure anger and violence in "When I'm Dead" and "The Thing I Hate" makes them some of the best industrial tunes out there. "On Your Way Down" uses skillful guitar playing and lyrics, which refer to how celebrities screw people over in life to get to the top. The closing track on the regular version of the album, "Waking Up Beside You" is enough to bring a lot of people to tears. This song rises above the majority of the rest of the band's work.
However, since this is an import version, it has an extra song on it, titled "Hopeless". This is a great song, with some really talented guitar playing in it and a good message, but not enough to jump the price of the album to almost 36 bucks. Stick with the regular for only 15 or so.
In closing, although the album is split into four general themes and sections, it also has the capability to flow through as one theme, a strange talent that is rare to find in a CD and a band itself. As I said before, the only downfall is the high price, especially for only one extra song. I strongly recommend this, and anything else by Stabbing Westward, to anyone who likes hard rock and industrial.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I could write a 1.000 word essay on why this album is probably the best album in existence... but very few people would read it. All i'm going to say is that this album solely caputered me emotionally and mentally... It's a masterpiece... Every song could be a single.. and w/out a doubt, it's better than NIN's downward spiral. Here's a breif summary of the album:
1. Darkest Days - Great Intro to this great album.. short and sweet - 8/10
2. Everything I Touch - A Good Stabbing Westward song, but is almost forgotten when compared to the rest of the cd - 6.5/10
3. How Can I Hold On? - Great Industrial Intro. along with a great chorus to complement it- 9.5/10
4. Drugstore - Crazy guitar riffs here... this song is SW showing off their industrial talent. However, the song lacks a good melodic beat -6/10
5. You Complete Me - This is one of those 'hopeless romantic' songs. A great emotional song you'll find yourself singing along with after you've heard it only once! -9.5/10

6. Save Yourself - Also known as the National Industrial Anthem. This is what Stabbing Westward is all about. This is the song that got me into the band. Shame on the fool who hasn't heard it yet- 10/10
7. Haunting Me - This song is definetly one of my favs. I wonder why it wasn't released as a single?? Oh well, great fast-paced song. 9.75/10
8. Torn Apart - I wonder why a few reviews i've read trashed this song? Without a doubt this is one of the best songs on the album. This song would defintely pump you up. - 9.5/10
9. Sometimes it Hurts - A very moving and emotional song. It's hard to rank all these songs in a particular order.. but this song might be in the top 3- 9.75/10
10. Drowning - Nice slow song. lots of bass synths. very sad song. Maybe a little TOO sad for me, but I can see myself listening to it alot if i'm feeling miserable- 8/10
11. Desperate Now - 2 sad songs in a row. This song is hands down the most emotional song on the cd. Listen to this one if you had a bad day. - 9.5/10
12. Goodbye - This song has alot of meaning behind it for chris. I particularly don't listen to it much since its like the 3rd sad song in a row. Not as good as the previous 2 though - 7/10
13. When I'm Dead - Out of nowhere, we go from the 3 most sad and slow songs on the album, to the most hardcore song on the album. It has a really good verse and chorus. Good song overall - 8.5/10
14. The Thing I Hate - I remember hearing this on the commercial for the first Bloody Roar video game. A fast, angry song, alot of ppl compare this song to the style of NIN. Yet another great song - 9/10
15. On Your Way Down - I love this song. Defintely a favorite of mine - 9.75/10
16. Waking Up Beside You - Hands down the best song on the cd. Very moving and capturing. Download it and hear it for yourself first. Chris's vocals are riveting and the guitar solo is just something else. - 10/10
This is the best album i have ever purchased. I really wonder why this band was never really pushed by the media or MTV... well, i guess industrial rock was never soemthing MTV wanted to put on TV. Oh well, this stuff here takes the cake... the best cd i have bought and will EVER buy.
Overall Rating- 10/10
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I will begin by saying, this was the very first cd that I ever owned. Back in 98 this started my record collection.
Now onto the cd. This album is filled with the some of the most deperate, desolate, depressive, sad, lonley, dark and horribly decrepit songs ever to be written. And they are all wonderfully done. Songs about hate (On Your Way Down, The Thin I hate) Death (Goodbye, When I'm Dead, Drowning), Lonliness (Darkest Days, You Complete Me, Sometimes it Hurts, Waking up Beside You), Desperation (Everything I Touch, Drugstore, Torn apart) Then there's How can I hold on, and Save Yourself, and Haunting Me, Which complete one of the sadest albums ever recordered.
The style of the music is a hardrock/industrial hybrid. Don't think NIN with this band, they are a lot different. And are both good at what they do. It was unfortunate the Stabbing WEstward had to break up though.
It's sort of a suprise that Christopher Hall never actually ended it all. But perhaps this was the way he delt with it, through his music. If you are a person close to ht edge thinking about suicide or any of that, stay very far away from this album. But if you are like me and use this as a tool to help yourslef feel better, relate, and realise that others go through this stuff too, then by all means purchase this prefect album.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Stabbing Westward's Darkest Days in an album for all time. The performers who make up Stabbing Westward have found the secret to opening up and letting everything out. The song are magical because they reach every listener's heart and soul and may even fix yours. When hearing their most popular hit "Save Yourself", you will truly sympathise with the group hopelessness. Having the ability to use past heartaches or troubles effectivly, not only makes a band good but it makes them special. Many bands sing of past relationships and their hate but inorder to pull it off and cause the listener to feel for them they have to put everything they got into it. Stabbing Westward does just that. Wheither you have never felt hate for anyone or if you hate everyone this album will make you think about yourself, about others, about all the mistakes you have ever made and maybe even effect what you will do next. I would recommend this album to anyone who has suffered a broke heart or have felt like giving up. If you are a fan of NIN, TOOL, Godsmack or just enjoy listening to dark music that drowns you in emotion, then Stabbing Westward's Darkest Days is the album for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Of the crop of industrial rock acts that appeared after Nine Inch Nails broke the genre into the mainstream, Stabbing Westward was probably the most successful (musically speaking). Their third album, DARKEST DAYS, takes the harsh industrial sound associated with NIN and builds upon it, making Stabbing Westward rather distinctive.
As the title implies, this is a gloomy, emotional album, both lyrically and musically. Christopher Hall's voice has always been Stabbing Westward's most valuable asset (I'm a die-hard NIN fan and even I'll admit he's a much better singer than Trent Reznor) and here he uses it perfectly. His delivery is both melodramatic and ironic at turns, giving an amazing sense of power and emotion to lyrics that would be laughable in the hands of a lesser vocalist.
The electronics on this album are equally impressive; unlike some bands who would throw in electronic effects simply to sound interesting, the production tricks on DARKEST DAYS do a superb job of adding to the overall effect.
In short, DARKEST DAYS is an ideal album to pick up if you want to expand your interest in industrial beyond Nine Inch Nails, but aren't quite ready to make the jump to more underground acts like Skinny Puppy or :wumpscut:.
A final word of warning: If you like this album, and decide to check out the rest of Stabbing Westward's repertoire, keep in mind that their fourth (self-titled) album is a radical departure from the rest of their work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2002
Format: Audio CD
For some people it was Wither, Blister, Burn + Peel and for others, it was Ungod, that introduced them to Stabbing Westward. For me, it was Darkest Days. The summer of 1998 was when I was introduced to this depressingly excellent band. This CD still remains my favorite Stabbing Westward album, although they are ALL excellent (yes, even their last-ditch effort to gain mainstream attention with their final, self-titled album, was great). There is quite range of music going on here. You have the hard-hitting and pounding "When I'm Dead" and "Torn Apart," the hopeless "Drowning" (which paints an experience similar to actually drowning) and the ones that just plain rock like "Save Yourself" and "Haunting Me." I have owned this CD for over four years and I have managed to get quite a bit of mileage out of it. I have never tired of it, and it never loses its effect. Although it is extremely depressing, it is also extremely invigorating and exciting. With this album, Stabbing Westward proved they weren't just some NIN clones and developed a style that could be called their own. It really is too bad that they broke up, their music will be sorely missed by me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Wow. What can i say that hasn't been said a hundred times before in this review forum? Stabbing Westward has unleashed an artistic, atmospheric gallery of emotion with Darkest Days. Above and beyond anything by Nine Inch Nails or Gravity Kills - though good bands in their own respects, they lack the honesty and emotion that Stabbing Westward provides. The biggest difference between Stabbing Westward and other industrial bands is the way the music 'flows...' musically enchanting and melodic, through a perfect balance of mechanical or electronic effects and instruments. And it just wouldn't work without Chris Hall's voice - soft and sentimental at times, bitter and angry at others.
Sure, it's dark and depressing. If you turned off the music halfway through the album, you'd walk away feeling broken. But LISTEN TO IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH, FROM BEGINNING TO END. the music unravels a story... the 'character' of the story is sucked down, destroyed by the hatred he feels for himself because of his mistakes with the one he loves, and the listener is pulled through the black hole with him. BUT... together you are pulled through the fire and emerged rebuilt again... the 'character' realizes that he won't become the thing he hates, stops himself short, and departs with happy memories about his lost love, lifting the depression. You walk away from this album feeling BETTER, more cheerful than depressed as you would if you stopped halfway through. Order this album. If you're too impatient, get up, drive to the store, and buy it. Put it in the CD player, put on the headphones, and lay on your bed in the dark or drive down a dark highway at night, and listen to Darkest Days from beginning to end. You won't be disappointed.
Oh, and ignore that 'explicit lyrics' warning. There's maybe two swear words in the entire album...
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