Review Summary: Prove me wrong, prove you give a fu*k!
There’s an unidentifiable mystique that surrounds bands that go out on a high. It gives them a certain edge that other artists who have trudged on well past their expiry dates don’t possess. The perception of brilliance is always exemplified tenfold when you know that the band in question will never even attempt to match, let alone top, their opus. Give Up The Ghost is definitely one such band, and their last album ‘We’re Down Til We’re Underground’ was swiftly proceeded by their disbanding; only a year later.
Some hardcore albums flash by a little too quickly, with their more ‘epic’ moments lasting merely two and half minutes. Thankfully, Give Up The Ghost avoid this flaw by consistently switching up track length, and having only two songs under the minute mark. After the all out assault that is the first half of ‘We’re Down Til We’re Underground’, Give Up The Ghost begin to toy a little more with restraint, and focus on instilling moments of build up when necessary to enhance the raw aggression Wes Eisold and co so magnificently bring to the table.
A barely audible acoustic intro builds up nicely, albeit briefly, proving to be the calm before the storm. Give Up The Ghost kick off in frantic fashion with first real track ‘Love America’, an assured, straight up Hardcore number that long term fans of American Nightmare/Give Up The Ghost will undoubtedly enjoy. Album standouts ‘AEIOU’ and ‘Crimescene’ are prime examples of the aforementioned restraint and focus, and build and slay in equal measure. ‘AEIOU’ begins with powerful yet measured drumming, and erupts after 37 seconds. Before charging into the final verse, a coarse riff is swiftly accompanied by Eisold for a period of incredibly effective build up. This serves to aid the energetic climax of repeated lyrics “you fixed my broken plan” and incredible lead guitar work. The latter half of ‘Crimescene’ sees the Give Up The Ghost front man almost pleading with the listener, to; “prove me wrong, prove you give a fu*k!”, and is probably the albums most lyrically effectual song, as well as being a contender for the albums strongest offering.
The instrumental album closer (And It’s Sometimes Like It Will Never End) is brooding, despondent, and strangely beautiful. It begins by creating a foreboding atmosphere courtesy of a reverb tinted guitar, and builds with light cymbal work up until the 3 minute mark. You’d be forgiven for expecting it to transform into an all out assault for the final two minutes, instead, it magnifies the atmosphere tenfold, and simply carries the listener away. The final track ends just like the album begins, with a sole acoustic guitar, this time fading out to bring the album to a fitting close.
Give Up The Ghost do far more than show their competency on ‘We’re Down Til We’re Underground’, and present a solid, cohesive, and surprisingly varied album practically devoid of flaws. It’s difficult not to see flashes of Give Up The Ghost in more modern Hardcore bands, including the hugely successful Defeater. It’s almost impossible to argue they haven’t been influential in their genre. ‘We’re Down Til We’re Underground’ is the epitome of a band going out on a high, and rather than becoming stale and senescent, their presence is still being felt.