Anatomy of a Ghost
Evanesce


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mclovin USER (7 Reviews)
May 20th, 2010 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Post-hardcore done right.

Merriam-Webster defines "evanesce" as "to dissipate like vapor." Unfortunately, this album title is filled with irony - following the release of Evanesce, Anatomy of a Ghost not only dissipated as a band, but also in terms of eminence into obscurity (especially considering that the remnants of this band formed the indie leviathan known as Portugal. the Man). It's quite a shame, too, as Evanesce reflects a band capable of drawing from various cross-genre influences while maintaining a central sound and poignantly effective song structures.

Utilizing vast dynamic and textural variation, Anatomy of a Ghost creates an emotional roller coaster of post-hardcoreness. As far as aesthetics go, the drummer is quite tasteful, closely resembling early Coheed and Cambria, while the battery of overdubbed screams, in contrast to the prominent soft passages' understated clean vocals, overwhelm the listener with emotion. The album seems to, on paper, have all the essential elements for a genre-defining classic; yet there are several suspect factors holding it back.

It has been said that music can be broken into three quintessential parts: melody, harmony, and rhythm. Within this musical triumvirate, there exists a hierarchy of prominence that must be observed in the crafting of an effective song. It appears to be quite evident that the man behind the mixing board was unaware of this. With every brilliantly constructed, soaring chorus, Anatomy of a Ghost provides us with a strong vocal melody, an equally strong lead guitar harmony, and rhythm guitar behind it all. Yet the lead guitar far too often supersedes the rest of the band in terms of volume at the worst possible times, resulting in a dramatic loss of impact. Beyond mixing quality, though, this seems to be the occasional downfall of the band; they tend to focus too much on harmony, which can at times overpower the melody. Certainly, the songs have passages in which the lead guitar takes over and deserves to be in the front - every single chorus, however, is not the time nor place. The rest of the mixing is terribly inconsistent which, sadly, greatly compromises the album's quality.

A nearly 9-minute long post-hardcore song may seem quite daunting in concept. But, hark! Anatomy of a Ghost pulls it off with their expertise in expanding upon musical themes to the listener's heart's content. A major benefit of lacking overproduction is the "human" subtleties within the album, which are skillfully spread throughout each song, effectively connecting and relating the listener to John Gourley's (and the other vocalist's/overdub's) ever-emotional vocal pleas. A perfect example is in the album's heaviest offering, "Beauty is in its Embrace" (which is notable for the album's only breakdown), in which at 3:25, a short, a cappella-style entrance of three ascending screams lashes out before breaking back into the all-the-more-impacting, laid back groove. Another example lies within "In Case of Future Complications", which is arguably the album's strongest track. The chorus's emotional vocals are the highlight of the album, with subtle vocal overdubs laden throughout - a staple of the album - making it a truly monumental listen.

It is quite unfortunate that this album IS the band's discography; not to play the hypothetical review game, but it appears likely that the flaws keeping the album from true greatness would be solved on a sophomore effort. Nonetheless, if you're into post-hardcore (the most accurate aesthetic comparison I could give would be a more raw, less pop-influenced early Coheed and Cambria) and don't mind slight production flaws, this is a must-listen, and a heretically unknown release.



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user ratings (36)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Foxhound
May 20th 2010


4570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

sounds interesting, will listen.

rasputin
May 20th 2010


14550 Comments


when i was 15 i used to love 'distress in the control tower', but never really liked any of their other stuff

still a good song, i might redownload this for nostalgia's sake

good review

AbyssalCreation
May 20th 2010


2041 Comments


A friend tried to show me Set the Stage a couple years ago. I didn't really like it then, but I'm curious of what I'll think of it now.

Mclovin
May 20th 2010


293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Foxhound - yeah, I'd definitely recommend checking this out.

Rasputin - personally, I think Distress is one of the weaker tracks; but, to each his own! Muchos gracias!

AbyssalCreation - I'd check out In Case of Future Complications and Beauty is in its Embrace - no guarantees, but it's worth a shot.

Constructive criticism is very much so appreciated. :D

mmfarva
May 20th 2010


1352 Comments


"the remnants of this band formed the indie leviathan known as Portugal. the Man"

Definitely checking this out.

mmfarva
May 20th 2010


1352 Comments


Oh, and really good review.

bungy
May 21st 2010


8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love these guys.

sexpoi
May 21st 2010


599 Comments


it sounds interesting i think i'll give it a listen cuz i definitely have a soft spot for post-hardcore done correctly. Could anyone compare the vocalist to someone so i have a jist of what he sounds like? great review btw

Xplisit
May 21st 2010


1646 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

woah i used to listen to this way back in the day, might have to re-DL

Mclovin
May 21st 2010


293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the pos', guys! :D this album deserves so much more attention than it gets.

Sexpoi, think Coheed and Cambria's clean vocals mixed with Orchid's screaming.

SigurFloyd
May 21st 2010


107 Comments


anatomy of a ghost > portugul the man

Mclovin
May 29th 2010


293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^truth

Xplisit
May 29th 2010


1646 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is the awesomeness

Mclovin
May 29th 2010


293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It really is; it seems to be the sort of underground release that sputnik would jizz over, so I'm surprised it doesn't get more recognition than it does.

Foxhound
May 31st 2010


4570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes Mclovin you were right this is great.

Mclovin
May 31st 2010


293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad to hear!!! I had a feeling you'd dig it; get the Coheed comparisons now?

Foxhound
May 31st 2010


4570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

A little, I can see kinda what you mean but definitely completely different all the same. This is actually really good, love the vocals, could bump this to a 4.5.

and that 8 minute song is awesome.

Mclovin
May 31st 2010


293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I gotcha, they're definitely different, but something about the feel and vocals seems similar to me. My favorite track is probably "In Case of Future Complications", but "Last Transmission" is pretty amazing too.

Foxhound
May 31st 2010


4570 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

K sorry but I think I like this more than you now =) bumping to a 4.5.

sexpoi
June 3rd 2010


599 Comments


Sexpoi, think Coheed and Cambria's clean vocals mixed with Orchid's screaming.

sounds like a sweet combo. im definitely checkin this out then.



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