June 19, 2012 - Epitaph
In "This Is What I Know About Sacrifice," the opening track of the Ghost Inside's third album, Get What You Give, frontman Jonathan Vigil bellows, "I'll see you at the crossroads!" Don't think this is some sort of ironic wink torward Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, though—Vigil & Co. take their music incredibly seriously. (So much so, in fact, that they've unintentionally helped create a subgenre of hardcore jokingly referred to as "srscore.") Every song is slammed with downtuned riffing, chest-thumping double-bass drumming (courtesy of new drummer Andrew Tkaczyk, who is a goddamn beast) and plenty of opportunities for both circle pits ("Test The Limits") and hilariously pointless kung-fu dancing ("Outlive"). But where the band have truly exceled on Get What You Give is in their newfound embracing of melody and hooks ("Engine 45"). A large part of that is most likely due to producer Jeremy McKinnon, best known as the frontman of Florida hardcore juggernauts A Day To Remember. But where ADTR tend to stray into cheesy lyrical territory, Vigil finds himself penning lyrics both morose and motivational. "I'm sick of waiting for my life to come to me/So I'm headed into the great unknown," he howls in the Bring Me The Horizon-esque "The Great Unknown." But he's at his best when he's calling for mutiny, as in his beastly growl of "Overturn the throne!" in "Deceiver."
Increased amounts of melody also pop up in the clean vocals of guitarist Aaron Brooks and bassist Jim Riley—"Engine 45" carries with it shades of Architects (UK), and the vocal hook in "Face Value" could legitimately pass as a guest spot from Linkin Park's Chester Bennington. But none of the melodies feel shoehorned in, instead expanding on Vigil's fiery roar with passion of its own. It's clear the band have more or less mastered the style of music they play, and it makes for an enthralling (if not wholly mind-blowing) listen. The Ghost Inside are one of hardcore's brightest lights, and Get What You Give is a perfect example of heavy music with a high IQ.