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Wither Blister Burn + Peel is an album I play when I don't know what mood I am in. Every other CD I own has its season and its mood. Vespertine is for blindingly bright, sub-zero winter days. Crash is for car trips skirting the edge of spring, piles of snow still scattered about the deadened fields of rural Wisconsin. Version 2.0 is a dark, cloudy summer night, the sky an industrial sickly yellow from the uniform glow of the city lights in Madison. OK Computer is exploding, crashing, swirling leaves and the creeping death of autumn.

Stabbing Westward's second release has no season. It has no mood. For me, it's an anonymous collection of songs. Something pleasant, soothing to listen to. Kind of odd to be soothed by almost comically overwhelming angst and despair, but soothing nonetheless. The sound of the album is heavy, gothic, dark. The vocals are desperate pleas and entreatments, mixed in with cold rage. It isn't an amazing album. It didn't blow my mind the first time I listened to it, like Björk or Dave Matthews Band or Garbage or Radiohead. But it fills the empty space, sets the tone for the evening. When I feel like a little self-indulgence in my dark side (shut the fuck up, you don't know anything, you've never experienced anything, no one cares, you don't meet the bar, you stupidimmaturebrattyuselesslittlelittleboy), it's there, a few ruminations from a band that has disappeared. All that's left is its poetic name, suggesting a saddening story. It suits me just fine.

Don't pick it up. You probably won't like it.

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