The Ghost Inside

Dear Youth

Written by: PP on 16/12/2014 23:04:53

"Life's swinging hard, but I'm swinging harder". Cue in a perfectly timed two-step rhythm and let the mosh warriors lose. Yes, melodic hardcore crew The Ghost Inside are back with yet another album stuffed with empowering lyrics like the line before, "There's a hurricane raging inside me" or "With my back against the wall, I will rise above them all", usually accompanied by muted instruments to emphasize the chant along moments for future live shows to come. Responding to their breakthrough album "Get What You Give" from two years ago was always going to be a tall order considering it is a masterpiece within melodic hardcore and a true flagship album of the genre, but "Dear Youth", their fourth album, comes a long way to living up to those expectations without having to be a repeat album of sorts.

"Get What You Give" was the most melodic album by The Ghost Inside yet, but it was also one that primarily relied on metalcore with hardcore pushed into a supporting role. That setup is reversed on "Dear Youth", which is more of a throwback to their hardcore past than their more recent metalcore offerings. It's a much heavier release, frequented by punishing breakdowns and plenty of two-step sections designed to create punishing mosh pits when played live. Fortunately, the band do this without sacrificing their biggest strength, the decipherable and instantly recognizable screamed vocals that are delivered with a twist of melody despite otherwise coming across with ravaging power. The result is predictable: the hardcore bits are more hardcore, and the melodic bits are even more melodic than before. These are the two extremes that keep pulling The Ghost Inside in two directions and incidentally also the reason why they are standing at the top of the genre right now.

A song like "Dear Youth (Day 52)" is immensely catchy, but is delivered with hardcore punk fury and metallic riffs that won't leave any fan of heavy music cold. Similarly, "Mercy" (which contains the opening lyrical outtake in this review) is likewise ready-made for fist-pumping and screaming along passionately, but doesn't forget to deliver an infectious vocal hook amidst the otherwise aggressive and pummeling musical landscape. It is this balance between the hardcore, the metalcore, and great songwriting that continues to float The Ghost Inside far above their imitators in the genre - here I'm looking at For The Fallen Dreams, Obey The Brave, and Stick To Your Guns in particular. This time, a crystal clear production earns the heavy parts a gargantuan amount of oomph whilst also remembering to keep Jonathan Vigil's growls melodic and decipherable enough to keep track of the lyrical universe. The guitar dynamics are vivid and placed on a pedestal, that is, when they aren't busy delivering earth-shattering breakdowns at key lyrical moments in each song. But even these sections feel like natural parts of The Ghost Inside universe which flow in and out without feeling unnecessary or just being there for the sake of having a breakdown or two. Again a fundamental difference between The Ghost Inside level of songwriting and the more generic brand of many of their contemporaries.

There is one song, however, where The Ghost Inside err on the wrong side of common sense and that's on "Wide Eyed". What on earth is the pompous theatrics of Jason Butler (letlive) doing guesting on this song? It feels like Michael Jackson just entered a Ghost Inside song and feels totally unnatural, not to even mention the pretentiousness level which shoots through the roof during his part (is this how letlive always sounds like? If so, wow, do not play me that band).

Fortunately that is but a single misstep on an eleven song album that, once again, is dominated by fantastic melodic hardcore songs demonstrating to contemporaries how the genre is meant to be done. This is now the third record in a row where The Ghost Inside firmly place them at the throne of melodic hardcore scene with no intention of moving away anytime soon. Infectiously catchy melodic growls meet excruciatingly heavy hardcore/metalcore passages in perfect harmony. Bring out your two-step and singing skills, these songs are contemporary hardcore anthems and a benchmark for the rest of the genre.

Download: Move Me, Mercy, Avalanche, Dear Youth (Day 52), Out Of Control
For the fans of: Hundredth, For The Fallen Dreams, Obey The Brave, Texas In July, Counterparts
Listen: Facebook

Release date 17.11.2014

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