The Ghost Inside and Every Time I Die concert review

Jonathan Vigil

I’m very picky when it comes to seeing concerts. It usually takes more than two bands I want to see for me to crawl out of my house, but I’m glad I made an exception. I hadn’t seen The Ghost Inside or Every Time I Die before their show at Soma on Nov. 13. Now, I can die happier knowing I’ve finally crossed them off my list.

I missed half of Backtrack‘s setlist from what can only be described as spontaneous traffic in the San Diego area, but from what I heard, they did solid job at opening. The New York hardcore band brought their A game, with all the high pitched screams and breakdowns you associate with the genre. Although, they may have been too trusting with the crowd taking the mic every other minute.

  Hundredth went up next. They sounded like a more composed version of Backtrack, in a good way. Slowing down and changing pace makes the heavy parts seem that much heavier. They had clean vocals, but those were drowned out by the rest of the band. However, Hundredth had a very short setlist because of their lead vocalist’s migraine.

Architects brought the life out of Soma once they took the stage. If bass is your thing, then Architects would’ve made you happy. Bass and drums were the dominant instruments. You could still hear the vocals, but the guitars were barely audible. It was a little disappointing because there were some interesting guitar riffs. Other than that, they played a pretty good show with amazing breakdowns and vocals.

Every Time I Die drum sound check

Apologies for the bad quality. You’d think since we can put a man on the moon, we’d be able to make a camera that takes good pictures indoors.

As you can probably guess, Every Time I Die came up next and stole the show. Listening to them live is like riding on a train without brakes being conducted by a clown. From start to finish, they had a sense of humor and never slowed down (until the encore). I absolutely lost my mind when they played The New Black, We’rewolf and Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space. Having so many good songs released made for a setlist that wasn’t boring in the slightest. Everything sounded tight and no instrument was quiet. All-in-all It was chaotic and a blast.

Finally, The Ghost Inside took the stage and also did a great job. The started off with Avalanche which sounds infinitely better live than recorded. Instruments and screams were heavy and made for some brutal breakdowns. However, the singing was a little off pitch and quiet. It didn’t make too much of a difference considering how the entire crowd was singing along. Most of their setlist came from Get What You Give with a few from their now released Dear Youth and older work. It was a great balance considering so many songs, such as Engine 45, Dark Horse and White Light, are on one album.

The headliners are what made this concert. Their two performances back-to-back made for an concert that still has my body aching and ears ringing in the best way possible.

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.