Review Summary: A flawed gem; fans of hardcore should be pleased
The title could describe this album so much better than I could in a full review, and without the effort as well. This truly is where the fight began.
The Ghost of a Thousand are a five-piece hardcore punk band from Brighton in the United Kingdom. A vague introduction - but one that really can’t be added to, considering not much is known about them, and you wouldn’t really need much of a introduction anyway - these lads will be happy to introduce themselves.
Bored of Math
appears to be somewhat generic at first listen - and then Tom Lacey’s vocals screech into place. If you ever see this band live, you might think he’s an idiot, but there’s no denying that this lad has a powerful voice for this music. It’s rough and unrefined, which is good since he’s a hardcore punk vocalist, not the lead tenor in an opera. The music is focused and determined, which is a bit surprising, since all the guitars do is play one or two chords really fast, then play a single chord underneath Lacey’s vocals. It becomes steadily apparent that although this album appears to be jagged, with pieces that don’t go together, a closer inspection reveals that these boys know exactly what they’re doing.
The guitar is the main feature for Left For Dead
- a somewhat familiar yet new guitar line pulls the listener in, with guitarists Andy Blyth and Jag Jago picking out single notes in tandem, before the other plays a chunky riff in the background - and all the while Lacey’s vocals crunch over the top. It makes for a good combination. And as the second minute closes, we get a decent listen to Gez Walton’s bass playing, which is nothing more than a simple run through of the main guitar riff on bass, but it’s still a nice touch. The vocals aren’t really featured throughout, which it must be said, makes a nice change as the album goes on - it’s good to hear the music instead of a guy that sounds like bursting blood vessels in his throat is his hobby.
Black Art Number One
is definitely the best song on this album, mostly because it’s got the most considered approach to it, in that there’s a definite structure to this album whereas lot of the other songs sound like TGOAT’s first jam session. A harsh, high-intensity guitar cuts through the proceedings, and somehow, Lacey makes his harsh vocals work over cleaner, mellower musical landscapes (in which only the bass crackles in the background). As the chorus hits, it’s business as usual - more out and out punk of a more metallic vein. And the guitar solo in this song is nothing short of unexpected, sounding more like what you’d hear out of an 80’s hair metal band.
Married to the Sidewalk
still takes you through to the usual head-banging quality you may have come to suspect from this band, yet it’s not overly fast or, really, even that heavy - at parts it even sounds like Velvet Revolver (but only during the parts where Scott Weiland insists on speaking in a megaphone). Again, Lacey’s vocals takeover this track, but you really can’t stop the drums and guitars rising towards the top.
Which makes it all the more disappointing that Up to You
, New Toy
and One for the Road
sound like a carbon copy of each other, just with different guitars in place, and the band forgot which one was the original. Don’t misunderstand that sentence though; just because they’re copies of each other, doesn’t mean they aren’t worth a listen - they are, but it’d be nice to see this band branch off into different areas of punk, instead of just the hardcore variety.
As They Breed They Swarm
sounds more like a rock song with hardcore vocals, which is exactly the sort of diversity which could have made them a relevant British band this first time around. Featuring all manner of heartfelt compositions and the laying off of the hardcore edge, songs like this show that given the time and the effort, they could have become a decent rock band, as it displays maturity which Up to You
could have benefited from. No One Ever Gives You a Straight Answer to Anything
again walks the line between punk and rock music, featuring some more guitar solos that sound like they should have come from a vault in the past, mashed together with some decent melodies and guitar-supported vocal carnage.
Last Bastion of Heaven lies Abandoned And Burning
is simplistic, but that’s where its strength lies. It wasn’t meant to tax, it’s meant to be a good track to wind down This is Where The Fight Begins with. It has possibly the least amount of hardcore or punk influence of all the tracks on here, which is good, as Lacey is able to stretch his vocal wings and let out with some of his clean singing - heard all too rarely, and really not that bad either. You can just about hear the bass rumble in the background and the drums making a fine accompaniment.
This Is Where The Fight Begins
is somewhat strange considering the usual hardcore-punk scene. Of course, it flitters heavily in the harsh-soft sound characterized by so many bands today, of all genres, but what really makes it stand out is that half of the songs were hybrids of hardcore punk and rock ‘n’ roll, and that if they ever decided to release a rock ‘n’ roll album, then you get impression that they would be able to make it work.
Another thing to note is that this album is short. Very short. It’s like Slayer’s Reign in Blood
, except even shorter. The songs themselves aren’t very long (with only two songs coming above three minutes long), there's a lot of silly ambience included, and yet you feel satisfied because they cram so much into each song that you can’t help feeling impressed. If there ever was a way to package a constant migraine (and if Converge never existed), then This Is Where The Fight Begins
would be it.
A short, sharp but altogether satisfying dose of hardcore punk
- Left For Dead
- Black Art Number One
- Married to the Sidewalk
- As They Breed They Swarm
- Last Bastion of Heaven lies Abandoned And Burning