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Greg Puciato - Child Solider: Creator of God (Album Review)

Monday, 05 October 2020 Written by Sam Sleight

Photo: Jesse Draxler

Over the best part of two decades, Greg Puciato has solidified his place as one of alternative music’s finest performers. From his tenure as the bestial frontman of mathcore stalwarts the Dillinger Escape Plan to his role as the synthpop lothario leading the Black Queen, he has proven himself an inimitable and unstoppable force.

In anticipation of his first solo record, ‘Child Soldier: Creator of God’, fans might have wondered which facets of his career it would best reflect. The answer is all of them. Having pushed up the release of the LP due to a leak, Puciato has served up a weighty, artistically challenging set of songs with ringing confidence.

Temporary Object’s shimmering electronic pop, the blunt extremity of Fire for Water and the ambient lull of You Know I Do represent the extreme reaches of the record. They ably showcase the differing skins Puciato can clothe himself in, while retaining an intrinsic sound that will prove comforting to long term listeners. 

The record’s latter half is perhaps the stronger of the two and finds the comparatively mainstream side of Puciato’s sound reigning supreme.

And, though the lush Pink Floydian guitars of Through the Walls decorate the canvas with another unique texture, it is when the two disparate ends of his sound meet in a delicate chiaroscuro that he is most effective. 

The dynamic battle between instrumental subtlety and lyrical apoplexy on Evacuation, for example, allows a slightly-too-long album to reach its apex as it nears its denouement. Fortunately, ‘Child Soldier: Creator of God’ balances that off-putting 65 minute run-time with incredible musical versatility. Its built in variety accentuates Puciato’s stunning vocals and instrumental choices; building on a sense of craft honed through divergent projects and collaborations.

Whether he is delivering circular chants, a roar of animalistic terror, or a croon set to melt the heart, Puciato can seemingly do anything with his extraordinary voice. His performance is the focal point of the record, anchoring an episodic approach to revelling in his competing creative desires. The end result is a complex, messy, brilliant work.

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