Review Summary: “Fucking new romantics! It’s only rock ‘n’ roll!”
For a band accused of hanging onto the coattails of Gallows, the quintet from Brighton The Ghost Of A Thousand certainly show enough raw energy, nouse, and craftsmanship to not only dispel these accusations, but to laugh triumphantly in the face of them. Album opener ‘Moved As Mountains...’ is an aggressive assault that sets the tone of the album unrelentlessly by bursting onto the scene on a collossal scale, with a crunching riff pervaded in every sense by a galloping drumbeat with vocalist Tom Lacey’s heartfelt cries of “But you must know that you’ll never die alone, Not die alone!!!”.
If their debut album ‘This Is Where The Fight Begins’ was an example of the band finding its feet and alleviating all the teenage aggression stored deep within, then ‘New Hopes, New Demonstrations” is the band showcasing its talents on a grand scale. Whilst keeping some of the intense power and angst that made their first effort so infectious, it is hard not to notice the more mature sound presented by the band with their sophomore release. The clean singing that was scattered around ‘This Is Where The Fight Begins’ is channelled and used more effectively and frequently providing the album with opportunities aplenty to make that last chorus sound even more focused and brutal a la ‘Running On Empty’. The transition from a hardcore punk sound to one more centred around heavy rock ‘n’ roll is one the band pull off admirably, as instead of losing touch of their roots they’ve merely built upon them. Songs such as ‘Neptune’ and ‘Canyons Of Static’ are relentless romps that charge well guided from start to finish combining both the raw sound we were first introduced to and the rock ‘n’ roll vibe that permeates ‘New Hopes, New Demonstrations’.
Lyrically the band has improved no end, and although they fall short of being poetic, the messages conveyed by Lacey are ones of clear meaning and importance to the band, as for the first time we get an insight as to the source of their aggression. Undeniable highlight ‘Fed To The Ocean’ features Lacey at his finest, with the clean verse/harsh chorus format being employed superbly. The growled drawn out chorus is arguably their finest to date, with the frontman almost whining;
“Our limits, will be our killer, But I’m bored of being afraid...I won’t regret it, I won’t forget it, These are the days where the good die undiscovered”.
Straying too far from the path structure and style wise on any album always leaves the danger of producing something incoherent and unimpressive; but would The Ghost Of A Thousand even dare to dream of recording a song with no screaming in it whatsoever? No you say? Phew. Well, sadly, this assumption is incorrect, as much as I wish it weren’t. The 3 minute something drone of ‘Split the Atom’ brings nothing in terms of atmosphere, power, or beauty to the table, instead sounding lethargic amongst the cornucopia of hard hitters that have thus far been the norm. Introducing variation is always key on any album, as stagnation is enough to drive fans away from even the greatest bands; however, the already broad transition between the first and second releases was large enough, without the waining ‘Split the Atom’ and the instrumental filler of ‘Small Mercies’, who only succeed in failing.
Despite the weak mid section that ultimately drags the album down, there are enough moments to keep old fans happy and to get newbies to sit up and take note. Lead single ‘Bright Lights’ follows a conventional structure but one that works nonetheless, and although a good song, (is not on the first few listens at least), the ideal choice to represent the album as a whole. Although solid and typical of The Ghost Of Thousand, it doesn’t whet the appitite of listeners as well as other tracks perhaps would. Unforgivingly skull vibrating stand out ‘Running On Empty’ and adjacent track ‘Fed To The Ocean’ reinvigorate the album after said weak section perfectly, and show the quality and energy that their live shows reek of, with the former featuring a breakneck riff that quickly delves into solo territory. Unrelenting from beginning to end, ‘Running On Empty’ is the sound of the band broadening their horizons by employing solos that are seemingly working their way into becoming the status quo as far as The Ghost Of A Thousand are concerned.
Coming off the back of the hugely popular “Grey Britain” by Gallows, The Ghost Of A Thousand haven’t exactly done themselves any favours timing wise in gaining widespread acclaim, but with two solid bordering on superb albums under their belt and a host of festivals including the Leeds/Reading Festival looming, popularity will undoubtedly be gained as they shake off their tag of Gallows Mk II, all whilst British Hardcore continues to take large strides forward.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Moved As Mountains...’
‘Canyons Of Static’
‘Running On Empty’
‘Fed To The Ocean’