Becoming adults can be the most confusing, yet monumental period of time in life. Some people take longer than others to reach a moment of stability in their lives; others continue to search for themselves past their high school years.
The Ghost Inside gives hardcore fans of all ages Dear Youth, a concept album that trumps Taylor Swift’s idea of what growing up is like. While the album releases on Nov 17 on Epitaph Records, Alternative Press is currently streaming the album in its entirety.
Co-produced by Jeremy Mckinnon of A Day To Remember and Andrew Wade, Dear Youth is an album loaded with pure emotion and a contender for one of the best albums this year.
Dear Youth begins with “Avalanche,” a song believed by some to sound close to “Suicide Season” by Bring Me The Horizon, starts off on a heavy note. The biggest strength with Vigil is that his vocals remain raspy, but you can understand the lyrics without consulting the internet every verse.
“Out of Control” contains a slightly different composition than most of The Ghost Inside’s songs. The chorus is heard three times instead of the normal two times. Vigil admitted to Alternative Press that the band needs to work on playing the single live. While Dear Youth sticks to The Ghost Inside’s overall sound, it also challenges the boundaries between metalcore and hardcore; an element that bands can struggle with. The Ghost Inside push the boundaries just right and attract fans of both genres.
One of the most relaxed tracks on the album is “Phoenix Flame,” a standout in comparison to the majority of Dear Youth. It starts with clean vocals leading into Vigil’s gritty ones alongside the band’s striking instrumentals. “I can’t do this alone, can you help me?” Vigil screams emotionally, embodying the inner sentiments of many fans. This track is powerful and will be a favorite for any fan going through a rough time in their lives.
Title track “Dear Youth” clearly encapsulates the whole meaning behind this album. The music video for the single showcases fans holding up signs with each line to the song. This song and album are both a dedication to the fans that struggle, trying to find the good in everyday life. Vigil screams, “But I recognize that if you’re on the right track, but catch the wrong train nothing ends the same,” a line that is sure to be on Facebook statuses within the coming weeks. Instrumentally, guitarists Aaron Brooks and Zach Johnson steal the spotlight with their melodic riffs preceding the breakdown. Their technical skills serve as a reminder as to why The Ghost Inside consistently tours and does well in this genre umbrella.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect album. “Wide Eyed” features a verse by Jason Butler from Letlive. While his singing is impeccable, his vocals on this track do nothing to enhance it. Butler’s part seems wrongly placed and slightly rushed. However, “Wide Eyed” gains some redemption with its fast pace and crushing breakdown. The track is practically made for Warped Tour with its high potential for intense crowd surfing, relentless circle pits and a special guest performance by Butler.
The end of the album consists of that signature The Ghost Inside song structure and the instrumentals begin sounding similar. The reoccurring theme also becomes slightly tiresome and repetitive.
However, “Blank Pages” is a solid album closer with lyrics about moving on from past mistakes and making life better for yourself. It’s a softer pace and becomes a juxtaposition to Dear Youth’s loud opening.
Concept albums are tricky but The Ghost Inside delivered with a balance of angry, mosh your heart out tracks and softly cry at the beauty of the lyrics tracks. Vigil’s vocals remained strong throughout the album but never overshadowed the band’s instrumental precision. It’s no surprise The Ghost Inside has been around for 10 years and they show no signs of stopping. They’ll be touring with Every Time I Die, Architects and Hundredth later this month.