Release Date: 09/10/2020
Record Label: Federal Prisoner
For Fans Of: The Black Queen, Health, Nine Inch Nails
When it comes to alternative music in the 21st century, there aren’t many individuals as respected and revered as Greg Puciato. After fronting The Dillinger Escape Plan for nearly two decades, being part of metal supergroup Killer Be Killed, and most recently making waves in a very different way with two records from dark synth-pop trio The Black Queen, Puciato has built a reputation for being one of the most versatile and recognisable vocalists in the game today. What may have gone slightly unnoticed though, is Puciato’s talent as a musician in his own right, something that his debut solo record, Child Soldier: Creator of God looks to set the record straight on.
Playing every instrument aside from drums on the record underlines Puciato’s desire to make an album for himself and himself alone and this freedom can be heard across Child Solider: Creator of God. Every track is so incredibly varied and makes full use of his famed vocal range, with lung-bursting screams one moment and soothing pop ‘oooh’s the next. For the first half of the album the music is exactly what you might expect if you’ve followed Puciato’s career to date, with moments of frantic eccentric hardcore broken up by dark and brooding pop hooks but after a little while the subtleties start to become a little bit clearer. There are moments of atmospheric ambience reminiscent of Jacob Bannon’s Wear Your Wounds scattered throughout tracks such as ‘You Know I Do’, while the blissful pop of ‘Temporary Object’ would absolutely have been a No.1 hit in 1984.
Even in a career as eclectic as Puciato’s so far, the second half feels like he has dug even deeper into his pool of influences for this solo release. ‘Down When I’m Not’ sounds like it could be an outtake from an early Foo Fighters record complete with a grungy breakdown and a massive chorus. A hint of R & B and reggae can be heard on the soothing ‘Through The Walls’ and we see a slightly different electronic approach to that of The Black Queen on ‘Evacuation’ which is much darker and comes close to the bleakness of Nine Inch Nails. Despite the variety here the album manages to just about retain its cohesion. Tracks generally blend quite well into one another and although at times feeling a little overlong, with repeated listens the sheer depth and variety always ends up sucking you in. The ending of the doomy ‘Do You Need Me To Remind You?’ may feel dragged out, but the stomping dirge of ‘Roach Hiss’ demands your attention once more as it kicks in.
With this much going on everyone will likely be able to pick out their own favourites, but the two final songs, ‘Heartfree’ and ‘September City’ tie everything together so well. Combining that haunting ambience with some gnarly riffs and utilising the full range of Puciato’s vocal ability, they act as a simply incredible exclamation point.
Child Solider: Creator of God is clearly a record centred around showcasing Greg Puciato’s creativity and a vehicle of self-expression above anything else. Aside from the obvious pop-bangers it can be a little bit difficult to grab on to, but once you do these songs are so captivating and well worth the investment of time needed to get there. It quickly becomes clear that rather than just being a summation of his work so far, Puciato has in fact gone several steps further, and despite having been in the game for more than twenty years, there is no telling where he might head next.
Social Media: Bandcamp