The Ghost Inside

Returners

Written by: BL on 24/12/2010 20:26:02

The Ghost Inside is really stirring some noise in the melodic hardcore/metalcore scene. A fairly strong debut album and multiple cross ocean European tours later, the Californian quintet have unleashed their sophomore album in the form of "Returners". I managed to catch the band before this new album actually hit, and since my familiarity with them at the time was limited to just what little airplay I had of their previous full length "Fury and the Fallen Ones" (spun it only once before that show), I wasn't sure what to expect. Long story short, while it wasn't the best set by any band, even in that night, I did hear a lot of appeal and potential in their sound and because of that I went and listened to them again afterwards, and this in turn got me actually fairly stoked to hear "Returners".

"Returners" is a very slick melding of traditional melodic hardcore with metalcore tendencies. Think a bit of Comeback Kid meets some For The Fallen Dreams, hints of Misery Signals in there and even Your Demise fans can appreciate a lot of what is going on. The heavy sections tend to be adrenaline pumped, riding on well constructed rhythms that while never reaching the technical level of Misery Signals nor as punishing as For The Fallen Dreams, imitate the same sense of calculated fury. Breakdowns actually serve a good purpose here, being the outlet after the ultimate crescendo of said aggression. It helps that the band know how to properly insert them into the songs at just the ripe opportunities to unleash maximum effect (and damage) instead of spamming them at every available moment (Just check out "Greater Distance" and "Overlooked" for some good examples of how to breakdown). Furthermore, not to be completely one-sided like some other bands in the same genre with only low tuned guitar chugging and hardcore drum beat bashing, there are plenty of melodic injections throughout that liven the display significantly and adding a layer of 'sheen' (Most notably on the simply excellent "Chrono" amongst others and even a brief moment on the devastating "The Conflict"). It's an element The Ghost Inside seemed to have developed significantly. Overall though the previous album might have had more melodic guitar riffing, they lacked the atmosphere, contrast, and maturity we get to hear on this record with just a few soaring melodies - less can be totally more.

Instrumentals aside, Jonathan Vigil seals the whole deal with a strong and believable vocal display. His screams and growls are sharp and hold power in depth - something important when the rest of the album has been mixed to sound so huge and thick as well. There's also a sense of conviction and passion in his voice that all good hardcore vocalists aim to have (coupled with a few neat recording tricks here and there). It's something helped along by a strong direction the album takes lyrically - 'returning' to places you visit time and time again, and seeing how people, places and things change and the effect on one that can have (for example: "Looking forward for a taste of things to come. I can't see familiar faces on anyone. Life is trying to pass me by, but not this time. I am not afraid").

On the whole when I look back at the record from a distance, the band doesn't commit any unneeded excess or any obnoxious gimmicks (aside from a few actually decent bass drops and the silence used in the last song, and even there it's not so bad in how it all works out) nor does the album simply run cold and stale after just perhaps a brief moment of excitement. Personally having already been a 'returner' to the album countless times since listening to it at first (had to slip that in), I can't say there is no long lasting value to be found here either. Finally, "Returners" is if nothing else, just a competently executed demonstration of The Ghost Inside's craft for writing good, earnest songs and without a doubt one of the genre highlights for the whole year.

8

Download: Between The Lines, Chrono, The Conflict, Truth And Temper
For the fans of: Misery Signals, For The Fallen Dreams, Your Demise, Comeback Kid
Listen: Myspace

06.08.2010
Mediaskare Records

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