The Ghost Of A Thousand

New Hopes, New Demonstrations

Written by: PP on 23/08/2009 21:00:23

Two years ago, Brighton, UK based The Ghost Of A Thousand made a powerful impact on the British hardcore scene with their sharp, ear-piercing brand of hardcore punk which displayed every missing bit of raw energy and scene-less attitude that had been missing from the scene for the better part of this decade. The record may have been a rather one dimensional effort, but what it lacked artistically, it compensated with frightening amounts of anger, aggression, and explosiveness: it was a record that was equally unpredictable as it was predictable, one which felt more erratic than a velociraptor, and most importantly, a record which came across as 100% pretentious free. Obviously, writing the same album for their sophomore release wouldn't have the same impact, so what did the guys settle for instead on "New Hopes, New Demonstrations"?

One word: expansion. If the first album was one-dimensional as mentioned before, then this one is about as multi-dimensional as it gets, making the record an immensely difficult one to review. Not just because the band all of a sudden became infinitely more complex than other hardcore punk bands, but also because the record is such a massive departure from their earlier sound. Calling The Ghost Of A Thousand a hardcore punk band sounds awfully misplaced now, for so much rock'n' roll groove and attitude has been brought in to replace the three-chord riff barrage from two years ago. Basically, "New Hopes, New Demonstrations" depicts decades and decades of rock'n'roll blending in with different genres, thus effectively being a modern rock album that truly lives up to its modern prefix. Starting off with a huge "YEAAAAAAAAHHH!" scream on "Moved As Mountains, Dreamt Of By The Sea" (all great albums begin with a prolonged "yeah", I swear), the band amps up both the volume of their uncompromising expression as well as the intensity level in their sound. Some spoken-word style clean vocals have been added in the middle of the groovelicious guitars and manic screaming, ensuring that the song throws memorable reference points at you left and right. "Bright Lights" continues with an instantly recognizable rock'n'roll riff and more in-your-face screaming akin to the debut album, but the first real gem can be found on the bombastic "Knees, Toes, Teeth" where the band's new-found love for all things rock'n'roll is expressed explicitly in the lyrics: "Fucking new romantics, it's only rock'n'roll, this is our religion".

Most songs on the record run along similar tracks as the first three I've mentioned above, some better, some worse. All of them have one thing in common though: a relentless and continuous display of groovy guitars to the point that you could describe the whole album as being a mixture of the raw attitude and screaming from hardcore punk, and guitar-driven rock'n'roll inspired by the old school days. Perhaps the best track of the whole album - one that also defines the entire record - is "Fed To The Ocean". I bet you didn't realize a full-on scream assault could be this infectious. There are some exceptions to the rock'n'roll sound though, like the quiet, cleanly sung "Nobody Likes A Hero" that feels almost like a ballad when compared to the rest of the tracks thanks to it's strong quiet/loud dynamic, as well as the epic album finisher "Good Old Fashioned Loss", a progressive hardcore piece showcasing just how much The Ghost Of A Thousand have improved in their songwriting, which is also a common theme all across "New Hopes, New Demonstrations". But although the songs are clearly better from an artistic-, and in many places also listeners point of view, the record's unlikely to make as big of an impact as the debut did. Why? Because now we're accustomed to the ugly aggression of vocalist Tom Lacey and the intense tightness of the rest of the band, so it's not as new and exciting as before. Still, the record can safely be labeled as one of the must-owns from 2009 for sure.


Download: Knees Toes Teeth, Fed To The Ocean
For the fans of: Gallows, Cancer Bats, The Bronx, Outcry Collective
Listen: Myspace

Release date 01.06.2009

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