With ‘Child Soldier: Creator of God’, Greg Puciato has built something that has intrinsic value to him and will continue to do so, no matter where his illustrious, chaotic career takes him next.

Here, we have a body of work that spans Puciato’s sonic evolution, from Error through Dillinger Escape Plan via The Black Queen. On this record, heartfelt acoustic-inspired gems like ‘Heaven of Stone’ and ‘You Know I Do’ clash violently, and beautifully against the alt-synthpop powerhouse that is ‘Creator of God’ or full-fat industrial metal bangers like ‘Fire For Water’ and ‘Deep Set’. Album standout, ‘Fireflies’ meanwhile, strikes like the perfect 80s goth movie soundtrack (see The Lost Boys or The Crow) in 2020 but without the pomp of a band like Sisters of Mercy, or early NIN. ‘Evacuation’ pulls at a similar chord and has all the brooding hooks to motivate a culture (goth) that has (arguably) been devoid of any new, positive influence for a very long time.

Overall though, it is clear that this album represents true creative freedom, and comes off like a raw, open career retrospective without the cheap greatest hits tag. There is no ego here, just that all-important passion, and it is never more apparent in pure beasts like ‘Heartfree’ or the atmospheric, anthemic album closer ‘September City’.

Once again, this is Greg Puciato at his most honest, and passionate and it is bloody marvellous to hear. With its candid nature, and overall diversity, ‘Child Soldier…’ is a sure-fire candidate for our album of the year. Oh, you have our full permission to leak this.

Words: Dom Smith