The Ghost Inside

Get What You Give

Written by: PP on 09/07/2012 04:00:16

As good as "Fury And The Fallen Ones" was, "Returners" was the record that put The Ghost Inside on the map and suddenly made them a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore scene. It was the album that re-defined how an album in the genre could sound like by brilliantly using seductive ambiance and lingering melodies on top of an otherwise heavy, brutal backbone sound. It was so good that it immediately set off as the flagship of the recent trend of modern hardcore bands shying away from the monotone approach in favour of a more melodic and anthemic sound, inspiring among others "Back Burner" by For The Fallen Dreams and "Let Go" by Hundredth to name but a few. Few thought it possible for The Ghost Inside to improve on an already near-perfect formula within hardcore, but just as "Returners" was an impressive follow-up, "Get What You Give" might even be more impressive considering the quality of the record it competes against, and how well it executes the changes in their sound.

Make no mistake, "Get What You Give" represents a significant evolution sound wise for The Ghost Inside, but it is absolutely in the right direction. The vast majority of brutal, but one-dimensional chug-chug sequences have been replaced by a corroborated appreciation for the anthemic and hardcore punk influenced side of their sound, which means that lingering ambience, and powerful melodies have taken over a significant chunk of their sound - more so than ever before. The outcome is songs like "Engine 45", "Slipping Away", "Dark Horse", "White Light", "Thirty Three", and "Test The Limits", which easily rank among the best The Ghost Inside have written to date. Even more importantly, I'll be damned if "Engine 45" isn't one of the greatest hardcore tracks ever recorded. It has a Comeback Kid style anthemic shouted chorus that recalls "G.M Vincent & I" - it is irresistibly catchy, yet powerful and brutal as we've come to expect from The Ghost Inside, though not at the expense of accessibility.

Older fans may place a question mark at the band's sudden inclination towards this much melody, but it adds the perfect amount of contrast to their otherwise down-tuned, hardcore/metalcore hybrid sound. And lets say that song is too slow and atmospheric for your tastes, then the track that follows, "Slipping Away", another highlight on the album, no, another highlight in the entire genre, is delivered at a hardcore punk pace, yet it features another stunning chorus melody that basically puts the rest of the hardcore scene under an intense spotlight with a silence in the crowd after the question has been asked by the moderator: why can't you write songs like these?

After all, the sheer urgency and immediacy in these songs is undeniable, because despite the added melody and focus on ambience and anthemic delivery, the songs are still harsh and brutal by nature, featuring an aggressive and uncompromising expression that's full of meaningful power messages and one-liners that will certainly be shouted back at the band in years of live shows to come much in the same way as the infamous "WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR" line on "Between The Lines".

All of this is achieved by a dynamic interplay between their instrumentation and their brilliant vocalist Jonathan Vigil, who really establishes himself as a household hardcore name on this album. He's lyrically strong, full of serious messages (as is usual to this style of music), but he delivers them with an inspirational, almost optimistic undertone to them, unlike the negativity that generally surrounds stuff like Madball, Terror (no discredit to their music otherwise).

Yes, the band has a tendency to sometimes chug-chug simplistic one-chord breakdowns, but these are usually supplemented with an additional lingering lead melody line that's influenced by Misery Signals' pioneering stuff on "Mirrors". And the thing is, there are like what, maybe two or three songs like this on an 11 song album, with eight hardcore anthems that are among the best this genre has to offer. If there are a couple of the tracks where the band wants to drop the anthemic chorus in favour of a more 'street' and fists first approach and they still manage to write a good song in the process, such as "Outlive" or "The Great Unknown"? So fucking what. The fact is, hardcore doesn't come any better than this in 2012.

Hence, "Get What You Give" is certain to be the benchmark hardcore release this year. It contains some of the best melodies I've heard on a hardcore release since Comeback Kid's astonishing "Symptoms + Cures", perhaps even a couple that surpass the hardcore/punk masterpiece that the Canadians put out two years ago. There's a case to be made for a 9.5 score here because hardcore honestly does not come any better than what The Ghost Inside present here, at least not in 2012, but I'll leave the debate up to you guys. For me, it's only fitting that the album finishes in another mass sing-along anthem on "Test The Limits", to summarise what we've heard for the past 37 minutes: that hardcore, even in 2012, can sound absolutely fucking brilliant, doesn't need to sound monotonous to be brutal, and can include heavy amounts of melody without sacrificing any of its core beliefs or sound. If "Returners" pushed The Ghost Inside to become a band with international headlining tour capability, "Get What You Give" is going to make the band the biggest band we've seen in hardcore/metalcore since Parkway Drive.


Download: Engine 45, Slipping Away, Dark Horse, White Light, Thirty Three, Test The Limits
For the fans of: Hundredth, Comeback Kid, Envy The Fallen, For The Fallen Dreams, Stick To Your Guns
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.06.2012
Epitaph Records

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