Artist The Ghost Inside
Album Dear Youth
Year Released: 17 November 2014
Label Epitaph Genre Metalcore | Melodic Hardcore
Over the past six years, I have developed a love/hate relationship with The Ghost Inside. Being one of the first true breakdown-driven bands from “metalcore” I came in contact with, I always enjoyed their music. But as I delved deeper into the hardcore/punk side of the genre, I found the music a little more repetitive due to the frequency of two-steps and chuggalicous (like fergalicious) breakdowns. While I do not listen to their albums as much as I used to, their live show complements their style of songwriting perfectly. Vigil and company really stand behind their songs and mosh/play their hearts out. Their songs really transition to the live setting by also having a more raw punch to them.
Dear Youth is the newest record put out by the California quintet. It follows the same aspects that were found on Get What You Give. The verses blend chugging with actual guitar riffs/chord progressions while the choruses are melodic and spacey. The drums usually follow patterns of frantic tantrums to cymbal smashing bass beatdowns. The rush of adrenaline from the verses breaks in the choruses, allowing for more focus on emotional impact while quickly bringing the pace back into the spotlight. At some point in the song a build is spawned to then pound through a disgusting breakdown that most pit fans will mosh to. Clean vocals accompany some of the parts, like on the chorus of “Avalanche” or the heavily ganged vocal on “With The Wolves.”
Every now and then one of their songs rids itself of the melodic presence and splurges listeners with mosh-heavy, atypically timed riffs. “Mercy” is one of the best songs on this album, but because The Ghost Inside dropped the prettiness and made a song for the live show. The drum roll build is extremely cheesy, but damnit, I could not help but feel chills race up my arms and neck when Vigil screamed out “life is swinging hard, but I’m swinging harder.” Hell, even the next track, “Phoenix Flame,” is a clear departure from the recipe I described a paragraph earlier. It was entirely unexpected. A string section in an otherwise favored hardcore-boy beat-up band, who would have ever expected that?
There is also a thing called fan favoring that movies,games, and bands do just to please a small section of people in the world. Adding Jason Butler from Letlive to the track “Wide Eyed” did exactly this. The two grew up together and Butler’s small role of clean vocals, which sound completely different than anything else on this album, contrasts with Vigil’s ferocious howls (then to add the best breakdown they have ever created at the end of the track just made this an Epitaph records fanboy’s dream). By the way, the mixing of this album favors the vocals a lot more than anything else. The drums sound extremely toned down across the entire album, sounding more like whip snaps than excruciatingly heavy snare hits.
It is hard to rate an album like Dear Youth. I'll listen to it for the fun breakdowns and fan-favored collaboration with Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember, but after that, it's presence is not really a reoccurring kind. Most of these songs are near the four-minute mark, and only a few of them ever break out of the mold that The Ghost Inside have crafted. The band dominates the stage, and that's where someone like me will have the most fun with this band. I am still a little thrown off by the mixing because it doesn't feel, well, big. It fits the style and darker tones of the record, but some of the parts I think are lacking due to the laid back sound.