Review: Grave Maker – Ghosts Among Men

Artist: Grave Maker
Album: Ghosts Among Men
Genre: Hardcore
Label: Victory

In today’s scene it’s highly unheard of for a band to play more than a hundred shows within the first six months of existence but Canadian hardcore act, Grave Maker did just that. Their do-it-yourself approach and relentless touring, without relying on outside contributors, made waves and spawned the attention of a sufficient following. Their passion-driven debut Bury Me At Sea, displayed immense potential by melding the energy and passion of old school hardcore while incorporating ferocious metal leanings. The band further becomes a force to be reckoned as they unleash fury with their aggression turned up on their Victory Records debut, Ghosts Among Men.

This album continues with the same hit-and-run demeanor its predecessors did as Grave Maker plays twelve reasonably punishing songs in just under thirty minutes and then leaves rapidly. Don’t be fooled with the quick run time because each track is chock full with a straight forward, hardcore attitude. This becomes apparent from the introductory title track, “Ghosts Among Men,” which merges seemingly perfect with the hard hitting “Hell Followed.” Whether they’re immersing the listener in an infectious chorus breakdown on, “Melt to the Mold,” the chanting amongst barrage on, “Vlad the Impaler,” or the overall respectable songwriting on, “Sever Thy Head,” their in-your-face formula may not be revolutionary, but it works well.

One differentiating feature Ghosts Among Men has over their past material is tracks like, “Laid To Rest,” and “Dead Or Alive,” that focuses more on a punk rock-influenced, hardcore spectrum. They exchange breakdowns for sheer speed and surprisingly additional melodic riffs. Their foul-mouthed persona reiterates as frontman Jon McRae, tells self-loathing tales along with disgust towards people who have done him wrong. This is clearly evident as he screams “Are you blind to these empty eyes, that don’t care if you live or die,” on “Seducer.” The two part closer, “Never Be Like You,” reveals the band’s strong points in crafting compelling song structures while maintaining a heavy aura. Aside from sporadic chants, McRae’s coarse vocals don’t vary too much and often come across as monotone and uninspiring. However, as the album unwinds he manages to sound more convincing and chaotic. Another downfall is their implementation of strange noises in the background that derive the attention away from their true talent but thankfully these special effects only appear on a few tracks.

Grave Maker draw their hardcore influences from the forefathers that knew it best. The energetic foundation of Ghosts Among Men displays incremental strides forward from their debut and is built with a pure, unadulterated aggression. There are plenty of breakdowns, tempo changes, and memorable moments within the short playtime to keep your attention. If you’re a fan of bands like Comeback Kid and Terror, this sure to be along your line of interest.

Score: 7.5/10
Review written by: Nerissa Judd

James Shotwell
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2 Responses to “Review: Grave Maker – Ghosts Among Men”

  1. Gerry King says:

    Nerissa, you are one of my favorite music critics. You always know what you’re talking about and it’s a refreshing change. You have yet to not impress me.

  2. This might have been posted before, but I would like to know what everyone thinks are the best most Usefull and worst channels for the Wii.