After spending 16 years as the voice and face of comfortably one of the most eclectic, expansive and impressive bands of this millennium, The Dillinger Escape Plan, no one should really be approaching Greg Puciato’s debut solo album not expecting the unexpected. But, even by those standards, Child Soldier: Creator Of God is a mammoth undertaking – a record of such labyrinthian scope that it requires total commitment from even the most faithful listener to unravel.
The opening 85-second, acoustic strum of Heaven Of Stone might make you think that he’s gone folk, the song owing more to the elegiac swoon of Jeff Buckley than it does anything metal, before the throbbing beat of Creator Of God hits you like Death Grips gone r’n’b and then segues into Fire For Water: part Broken-era Nine Inch Nails, part latter day Pig Destroyer. Three tracks in and the breadth of Puciato’s influences would be enough to give the genre police a migraine, but despite this Child Soldier…’s main consistent through-line is the quality of the compositions and the unmistakable vocals that thread them all together.
Picking highlights will depend on your favourite iteration of Greg; if you’re a fan of his more electronic, danceable work in The Black Queen then a song like Fireflies or the spectacular A Pair Of Questions will hit the spot. Maybe you appreciate the ambient pop of Talk Talk; if so, then Through The Walls will be your go-to. Or perhaps you long to hear a return to the fury of TDEP, in which case, Roach Hiss will fill that gap.
Often disorientating, but always surprising, this is a record that has so many layers and creative twists and turns that it is often overwhelming. But, in terms of crafting a singular voice, Greg Puciato may have just set himself up to be this generation’s Mike Patton.