Review Summary: A balancing act.
For those who don’t know, I will preface this review by stating that Ghost Atlas is a new project created by Jesse Cash of metalcore band Erra. I will admit that I know nothing of Erra-what they sound like, the quality of their music (which is of course objective), or how they differentiate from Ghost Atlas. What I do know however is that he seems very comfortable with his current project, like he is already a veteran of a sound that seems to straddle post-hardcore and alternative rock. Really, it does a perfect job balancing ferocity and atmosphere, which while hardly something new in this branch of music, I feel it is rarely done this well.
Jesse’s vocals, while entirely cleanly sung, have a perfect bit of “snap” to them. They’re urgent, and they grab you by the balls and yank you right in. It’s this sense of immediacy, a sort of “listen to what I have to ***ing say” that gives this album the energy it has. This could come across as moderately juvenile of course, but this is also why the aforementioned balance is important-there is both a sense of overpowering emotion and a sense of restraint. A perfect example is the beginning of “Badlands”. The guitar work and drumming is paced and perhaps almost soothing, which is further complemented by vocals that are both emotional and graceful.
What also does a lot of good for this album is just how catchy the hooks are, with every track being an earworm of its own (of varying calibers, of course. I’ll be damned if “Fox Rain” ever escapes me.) It seems that Ghost Atlas really knows how to create tracks that are both structurally simple and incredibly melodic, which makes for an album that is easy to delve right into. Perhaps that is what most amazes me about this album-it never seems to leave me. No matter what mood I am in, what emotional state I am in, it is still the perfect time to listen to this album, and each time I enjoy it as much as the last. When this is on, it truly does feel like everything is in sync.