Album Review: Dear Youth

It’s an amazing day when a band streams their album on YouTube two weeks before it’s actually released. It displays a sense of confidence and trust between an artist and fan, as well as giving anyone who’s too attached to a band’s previous work time to acquire a test for the new album. That describes The Ghost Inside’s new album, Dear Youth, perfectly. An acquired taste.

Depending on when you start listening to The Ghost Inside, that’s when you’ll find their best work. It’s not bad by any means, but it doesn’t quite live up to the standard their previous albums set. It’s still the lyrically impressive hardcore music fans have come to know and love, but Dear Youth differentiates itself in multiple ways, which aren’t necessarily for the best.

The most notable element from Dear Youth is poor studio quality of the entire album. Instead of complimenting each other, the instruments drown themselves out. The end result is Jonathan Vigil screaming at you with distorted background noise. That is to say the instruments aren’t bad, but they come off more generic compared to Returners and Get What You Give and the poor mixing of the album lacks the much needed oomph necessary for The Ghost Inside’s heavy style. This problem will be solved at concerts, but it doesn’t help the recorded versions whatsoever.

Besides the weak the mix, the drumming seems slower and guitars slightly less melodic. Granted, there are exceptions like Dear Youth (the song, not the album) and Blank Pages. However, reducing the musical elements that originally distinguished The Ghost Inside combined with their lower emphasis on Dear Youth only blends them in with the thousands of other similar sounding bands. As a result, everything from riffs and breakdowns don’t stand out nearly as much with the exception of Mercy.

Vigil sounds like his normal self, which is good news considering how difficult it is for vocalists in hardcore genres to keep a consistent sound. His screams are still heavy, yet surprisingly clear, but Dear Youth doesn’t have nearly as much clean vocals as Get What You Give. It really helped give The Ghost Inside that melodic component. He sings a lot in Phoenix Flame, but it’s noticeably absent in far too many songs. Jason Butler from Letlive is featured in Wide Eyed and sounds out of place. But it’s a refreshing break in the album.

The Ghost Inside is still one of the better bands lyrically. They’re songs are still melancholy with a glimmer of empowering hopefulness, except a little less hopeful in this album. The overall theme of the album is the difficulty that comes with not giving up and how it will take its toll on you. It’s a darker direction for The Ghost Inside, but not entirely unwelcome. Songs like Out Of Control and The Other Half have distinct messages that are truly appreciated with the overall grimmer tone of Dear Youth. No matter which song you listen to, you can tell it was written from the heart, and is brimming with passion and emotion.

Dear Youth is far from the best album The Ghost inside has ever released, but that’s like complaining about that the world-record holder for the 100-meter dash didn’t live up to his potential when he fails to break the world record again. The Ghost Inside will impress anyone who hasn’t heard of them, but Dear Youth doesn’t live up to its predecessors.

Dear Youth comes out on Nov. 17 and fans will still be able enjoy the music. It just might take some time if you didn’t fall in love with it instantly.

Up-and-Coming Hardcore Band: SycAmour

SycAmour Indulgence: A Saga of Lights

A countless amount post-hardcore/metalcore bands have singing, but few can sing as well as SycAmour. Even though their Facebook page describes them under the genres of rock, aggressive alternative and sex (this one’s accurate because their music will make sweet, sweet love to your ears), fans of Issues and Crown The Empire will feel right at home.

The Detroit band has been around since 2009 and caught my attention with Crassinova on their first EP Obscure in 2012. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, because SycAmour is now on the Hopeless Records label. They just released a full-length album titled Indulgence: A Saga Of Lights, which has already further distinguished the sound they established in their EP. On top of that, the album cover also made me want to replay Bioshock.

As I already said, SycAmour’s Jeremy Gilmore can sing incredibly well. However, the R&B styled singing that, I swear to God, sounds like Panic! At The Disco (maybe it’s just me) contrasts perfectly with the screams provided by Tony Sugent. You’ll be enjoying the the clean vocals and the hard vocals will come and sweep you off your feet. You can hear what I mean by listening to Calm Down Juliet (What A Drama Queen).

Of course, the instruments play a major part in SycAmour as well. The unsung (pun intended) heroes do an astounding job at setting the tone for the vocalists. Without them complementing who’s singing or screaming, the entire flow of the band wouldn’t work nearly as well. Heavy instruments accompany screaming and more alternative instruments match the singing.

SycAmour has the potential to make it big. Give them room to grow and they’ll be one of the top bands in the genre. Happy Veterans Day!

P.S. Yes, this will be the new title of Underappreciated Hardcore Band of the Week. It sounds more positive and less daunting because big words scare people for some reason.

Weekly Heavy Album: Watchers Of Rule

Unearth-Watchers of Rule

It’s been a slow week for metal music, so I’ll focus on an album I didn’t cover last week (mostly because it wasn’t easy to find an online stream of it).

Unearth is a veteran metalcore band that just released their sixth (that’s right, sixth) album, Watchers Of Rule, so there are usually two outcomes that will happen this late in the game. They’ll either change their sound as the genre progresses or stick with the sound they’ve already established. Thankfully, Watchers Of Rule does the latter.

Unearth has always blended metal and hardcore element quite well to produce a crushingly fast sound and this album is no different despite being on a new label. Once Intro ends, strap on your seat belt, and get ready for fast paced instruments, breakdown and guitar solos (something too often neglected in the genre). It’s this balance that keeps Watchers Of Rule from falling into the trap of too many breakdowns and getting monotonous. The instrumental parts are what Unearth does best, and they’ll make you want to start a mosh pit wherever you are.

Trevor Phipps seems to have slightly lower vocals, which makes the overall album sound heavier by complementing the instruments. That’s not to say Phipps still doesn’t sound distinct, but he sounds much better when his voice isn’t as raspy as it was in The March.

The only problem is the the album is pretty short. There are only 10 songs (Intro doesn’t count). It’s a minor complaint, but 10 songs is the bare minimum amount before feeling like a rip-off. Supposedly being left wanting more could be good spin, especially with songs like The Swarm, but as a product, wanting more generally isn’t a good thing.

Since Unearth hasn’t drastically changed their sound, Watchers Of Rule won’t change anyone’s mind about them, but considering how they’ve nailed the balance of metal and core a long time ago, there’s no reason to fix something that’s not broken. Whether you lean more toward metal or hardcore music, Unearth will have something for everyone.

 

Underappreciated Hardcore Band of the Week: Fail Emotions

Fail Emotions - Renaissance

Ever since electronic (dub-step, drum and bass, trance, etc.) music became popular, hardcore bands tried colliding both genres together like two particles in the Large Hadron Collider. Many bands such as Enter Shikari, I See Stars and The Browning have been able to successfully blend the two styles, but one of the lesser known post-hardcore band who does it phenomenally is Fail Emotions, which is why they’re this week’s underappreciated hardcore band of the week.

(Puts on hipster glasses) This band is so underground their Wikipedia page is in German when you Google, which is strange considering they’re from Yaroslavl, Russia. They’ve been around since 2008, but they seem to keep getting better and better. They just released a new single called New Day Has Come, but their recent album (that’s really an EP) Renaissance is a work of art.

Once I heard their song We Are Legend, I immediately noticed the consistency of the electronic parts. I’m not an expert in electronic music, so I’m not even going to attempt to label them properly (sub-genres are confusing), but Fail Emotions blends heavy breakdowns with the lovable wubs of dub-step quite well. Rather than using it for a 10-second span per song, which is like only putting one chocolate chip in a cookie, Fail Emotions has a huge emphasis on electronic music throughout all their songs.

They’ve got the usual cleans and screams that come with a post-hardcore band, but their ability to sound fresh by varying the amount of singing, screaming, techno, piano, etc. keeps every single song sound unique. If electronic post-hardcore (or trancecore if you want to be hip) is your thing, then head over to Facebook and give them a like.