Five years is a long time out of the spotlight, especially in the ever-changing world of heavy, underground music. For many acts, attempting to re-enter the music business and release a new album that anyone would want to hear after a half-decade of silence might seem next to impossible. Luckily, the Los Angeles metalcore heroes in The Ghost Inside know a thing or two about overcoming impossible odds. Their new self-titled album; ‘The Ghost Inside’, out June 5th on Epitaph, shows that sometimes, you just can’t keep a good band down.
First, the elephant/devastating tragedy in the room. In 2015, The Ghost Inside was involved in a deadly bus accident while on tour. Their driver was killed along with the driver of the other vehicle involved, while everyone in the band suffered grievous injuries; including drummer Andrew Tkaczyk losing his right leg. For a time, the band’s future seemed dark and uncertain. After many surgeries, bouts of physical therapy, some state of the art prosthetics and years of anticipation from headbangers around the globe, The Ghost Inside are finally back.
After a brief intro track, the aptly titled “Still Alive” kicks things off into high gear. The song is a heavy, galloping celebration of life. Considering everything the band has endured over the years, it’s also probably the most appropriately named song in existence. Its flying tempo transitions into an epic, five years in the making sized breakdown; and like that, all is right in the mosh world once more. “The Outcast” is another solid riff chugger that simultaneously boasts ultra-haunting clean guitar tones, all sandwiched between syncopated double bass drum attacks. Speaking of attacks, “Pressure Point” goes so hard it should be categorized as sonic assault. Frontman Jonathan Vigil’s vocals feel especially venomous when he screams “you’re everything I despiiiiiiiiiise” or, “I’ve looked death in the eyyyyyyes.” His delivery, coupled with the absolute cave-man like guitar riffage displayed at the end is some of the heaviest metal you’ll hear this side of brutal death/slam. Yes, it’s that bludgeoning of a track.
Songs like “Unseen” and “One Choice” offer some respite from the pummeling first half of the album. “One Choice” for instance has one of the catchiest hooks of the year courtesy of guitarist Jim Riley’s backup singing, almost as if it was purposely designed to brighten up your life in quarantine. “Phoenix Rise” is the perfect amalgamation of everything The Ghost Inside brings to the table on this new record. Heavy metalcore gusto [like really heavy! The middle breakdown is a close second to “Pressure Point”] but then it shifts into a gorgeous, melodic guitar passage with a rad shuffle groove that adds yet another layer of awesomeness to this already, kick-ass, comeback album of the year.
The Ghost Inside wrap things up with the closing track and strangely enough, the album’s first single, “The Aftermath.” You know this one, it’s the video you’ve watched a zillion times on YouTube [1.2 million views and counting as of this review]! And with that, The Ghost Inside cross, ‘smashing return to genre leader’ status off their list of other impossible achievements. Sure, they’ve returned amongst a debilitating global pandemic that has rocked the music industry to its core, and there’s civil unrest in the streets of America. Jumping back in the saddle in the midst of 2020’s current hellscape might seem like a daunting task; but as they’ve done before and further illustrated with their killer new album, The Ghost Inside know a thing or two about beating the odds.
To purchase ‘The Ghost Inside‘ click here!