REVIEW: The Ghost Inside – ‘Dear Youth’

Artist: The Ghost Inside
Album: Dear Youth
Label: Epitaph Records
Genre: Metalcore

Over the course of their steady climb up the ranks of the music scene, The Ghost Inside have developed a dedicated fanbase through the combination of crushing metalcore, memorable choruses, and brutally honest lyricism (e.g. “Engine 45”). Thus, there wasn’t necessarily a pressing obligation for the group to evolve as long as they stuck to their proven formula, but it became clear settling for safety wouldn’t be the case when it was revealed that their newest effort, Dear Youth, would be a loose concept album. As noted in an open letter by frontman Jonathan Vigil, the record would specifically entail his path to reconnecting with a forgotten youth.

Finding Vigil reviving contact with his younger self and pondering how the two became detached in the first place, it makes sense The Ghost Inside have expanded the musical territory they function within as an expansive search for answers takes place. While the band were indeed one of the few acts who could pull off low-tuned chugging in a legitimate fashion, much of this style of play has been traded in for a more nuanced take on metalcore with noticeably melodic guitar-work alongside occasional percussion and riffs of hardcore-leaning roots. Yes, there are still occasional mosh-igniting breakdowns (seriously, skip to “Mercy” and prepare for the sudden urge to hardcore dance until at least two limbs fall off), but the band have foregone utilizing the bouncing tempo breaks as a standard means of communicating aggression, and it just might be for the best as this matured sense of self results in a more rewarding listening experience.

Even with the newly revitalized instrumentals, Vigil becomes the centerpiece of the record through sound and sentiments. Vocalizing utterly encapsulating screams with just a hint of grit, the emotion behind his performance is audibly evident every second of Dear Youth, especially when considering the actual lyrics being communicated. While never becoming too specific or too refined, they address a variety of introspective issues in a straightforward fashion that makes each intended message loud and clear (“Dear Youth, put back those thoughts in my head, the ones where I believe that I am boundless again”).

It might not click as quickly as The Ghost Inside’s previous releases, but Dear Youth finds a matured band taking yet another step in the right direction as they continue to spread hope through heaviness to those willing to listen. I, for one, will be standing by with my ears open.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Michael Giegerich (Follow him on Twitter)

Mike Giegerich
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