Review Summary: Hey wait a minute...if I recall correctly, I Am Ghost used to at least try to be a little different right?
Vampire jokes aside, I Am Ghost used to be a fairly passable band. The female vocals and violin work of Kerith Marcantonio did a lot to keep the band from sounding as flat and lifeless as the countless other post-hardcore bands that, to be honest, probably would not exist if it wasn't for MySpace. The only other things that really set the band apart from their peers was the slightly above average guitar playing of Gabe Iraheta, and the fairly decent drumming of Ryan Seaman. Sadly, all three of these members (as well as their bassist but this is more or less irrelevant since he contributed very little and was rarely heard) left the band shortly after the release of their previous album, Lover's Requiem. So, the band headed into the studio, sans three of their major components, to record their follow up to Lover's Requiem. The resulting album, Those We Leave Behind, can best be described as a swirling torrent of mediocrity, completely void of any originality or variety.
Vocalist and lyricist Steve Juliano has done absolutely nothing to improve in any way, shape, or form on this album. The lyrics still revolve around vampire imagery and...well...not much else. Whenever Steve gets "inspiration" from areas other than his unhealthy obsession with the undead, he comes up with gems like "These wounds arrive from watching you and I/Don't wish to give our last goodbye" and "I am an addict burning winter, a closed-door annihilator/Mother***er burned who was married in your bone garden." The vocals are still just as underwhelming as they have always been. The singing comes through his nose a good 70% of the time, and the harsh vocals are performed in an almost gasping/wheezing manner. There are a few female vocals thrown in, but they really just seem to have been thrown in at the last minute in an attempt to make up for the loss of Kerith Unfortunately they feel largely forced and out of place. So with all this disappointment in the vocal department, you would think they would do their best to find some musicians that where comparable to the ones they lost right? Sadly...no.
To say the new members aren't up to par with the ones that left is a huge understatement. Instead of the moderately technical and metalcore tinged riffery (not to mention the occasional "rippin" solos) that were previously provided by Gabe, the new guitarist sticks mainly to simple chord progressions and the occasional hammer ons/pull offs. There are a few solos here and there, but the technical "ability" displayed by the new guitarist is almost laughably bad. Solos don't even have to be overly technical to be enjoyable, but the melodies presented within them barely even fit the songs they are in. The replacement bassist is basically a non-issue since, as you may have guessed, the bass is never present in the soundscape. The drumming follows the trend of mediocrity by being terribly average, and often falling back into the exact same beats over and over again. The fills are few and far between, and when they do pop up they are unbearably sub-par.
The songs themselves go through hook after recycled hook without any real sense of coherency. Every song sticks to the same formula, and usually the same set of chords and the same melody, and the occasional forced solo or awkwardly placed female vocal line do little to keep the songs from blending into a wall of white noise. All the songs just blend into one big jumble of pop hooks, faux-breakdowns, mediocre vocals, mediocre instrumentation, and occult references, and there really aren't any tracks that stick out as better than the rest. Maybe, just maybe, So I Guess This Is Goodbye would be a bit of a highlight, but that's really pushing it.
This album will more than likely be a huge hit with all the 15 year old girls that are currently caught up in the Stephenie Meyer craze (Meyer is the author of the wildly popular Twilight book series that centers around vampires) and maybe a few other kids with angle haircuts that spend most of their time on MySpace, but I strongly suggest that you just look into their previous releases and leave this one be.
Get Lover's Requiem and ignore this...