Review Summary: It is a darkly twisted affair that contains the recipe for a flavorful blend of metal and hardcore, with satiating staying power that piques our interests for more.
When I hear the phrase “returners” in this context, I immediately visualize an alien takeover and subsequent brain squelching horrors. But that’s not why The Ghost Inside is here. They have not returned to take away your father, nor team up with Sigourney Weaver to embark on a ruthless killing spree, as it was already done with their previous release Fury And The Fallen Ones. If we step away from this wild imagination of mine, we realize that Returners actually represents the cyclic lifestyle of a touring band making do with continuously changing familiarities that they re-encounter.
Their second full-length, Returners is a savory mélange of metalcore, bourgeoning occults, and horrific fantasy. The cavernous, hollow sound of the intro “Walk Away From The World” becomes an instrumental siphon for grave imagery and enchantingly sinister melodies, casting only the darkest shroud over the entire album.
For some of us, music releases often land into the same algebraic equation as movie sequels. Sometimes after the third trial of a film, one’s high expectations are wildly stampeded by primitive efforts. But thankfully The Ghost Inside know how to move skillfully across an unearthly minefield of anarchic guitar riffs and rhythmic blasts throughout every release. And on Returners, songs like “Greater Distance” and “Chrono” are the most deserving of heroic battalions.
The triumphant track “Unspoken” catapults gang vocals into a moral fusion of "give it all, give it all, give it alls" that crystallizes the symbolic camaraderie the group has interfaced in a sea of scene sharks, as they brave themselves against an industry of hook-line and sinkers. Not only do they sew the seeds of uniformity, but they also twill the threads of musical rebellion to produce a quilt of abrasively notated coup de tats track per track.
Returners features potent familiars in hardcore, such as ex-Bury Your Dead’s Mat Bruso, and the same emotive style of no-holds-barred lyrical directness that Have Heart prided themselves on. So in the words of vocalist Johnathan Vigil, some albums are “just worth fighting for.”