The Ghost Inside – The Ghost Inside
Released: June 5th, 2020
Jonathan Vigil // Vocals
Zach Johnson // Lead Guitar
Jim Riley // Bass & Backing Vocals
Andrew Tkaczyk // Drums
Chris Davis // Rhythm Guitar
The day has arrived that NONE of us thought was coming. One of the most highly anticipated albums of the new decade, no, of all time is only days away from being released upon the world and nothing will be the same afterwards. The Ghost Inside have had one of the scariest and most troublesome stories to ever be heard and they’ve overcome all of that, left it in the past and jumped back on that heavy musical rhino to produce one of the best albums of their careers. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start from the beginning…
Their self-titled album kicks off with ‘1333‘ which has the band literally picking up their instruments and getting straight back into where they left us in 2015 before their tragic bus accident. It may be a short teaser of a track but fuck me it packs a massive punch to the go-nads with frontman Jonathan Vigil‘s crisp, yet brutal vocals welcoming us back to TGI’s world as drummer Andrew Tkaczyk bashes away like there’s no tomorrow. The haunting lyrics of “TGI. From the ashes brought back to LIIIFEEEEEE” will be screamed at future shows for years to come as I can safely say this will become their new on stage entrance track and there are no fucking complaints here about that. The appropriately titled ‘Still Alive‘ is next and there’s no holding back with this one as the tempo maintains it’s high intensity, Zach Johnson‘s guitar is in the spotlight in the opening few moments and instantly, this sounds exactly like one of the bangers the band released on their last two albums Dear Youth and Get What You Give. There’s plenty of group chants, an orgasmic breakdown with a new call you’ll be wearing on a shirt in no time that screams “this is the new sound of sacraficeeee” plus a dash of chuggy riffs to please the haters and naysayers out there. ‘The Outcast‘ slows things down (just a pinch) in speed, yet the heaviness prevails in this song about not giving up in the face of adversity. Jim Riley’s clean vocals add a soothing background sound to Vigil’s screams and the two complement each other greatly during the chorus.
‘Pressure Point‘ is next and if you heard this single when they dropped it, you know what you’re in for. If not, well, uppercut yourself and listen to it now. Fake sympathisers are in the crosshairs this time and the band aren’t taking any prisoners when it comes to getting their message across. The lyrics “Fuck this fake sympathy/You’re just a snake in disguise/Fuck this fake sympathy/You’re everything I despise” will give you the motivation to cut out toxic people from your life and supply you with an impressive soundtrack to thrash the second you’ve made that life-altering call. ‘Overexposure‘ is just non-stop hardcore fun. It’s fast, furious, angry, and circle-pit inducing for the most part, but that combination of screams and melodies in the chorus really give it a wholesome touch. Jonathan Vigil‘s vocals on ‘Make Or Break‘ are sooooo on point they’re almost too perfect and fuck me, I didn’t know much I needed this song in my life but holy shit, it gave me the biggest smile on my face, so much so I couldn’t help but think about all of you listening to this song for the first time experiencing what I just did. Sorry not sorry to brag, but this is an absolute belter! There’s no way in hell you can listen to this track just once. Get that replay button ready when this motivational banger hits.
‘Unseen‘ starts off slow and atmospheric, easing us into the song which really kicks off at the 1:25 mark where we’re met by Andrew’s drumming alongside some chunky riffs and a small drop that accentuates Vigil’s voice screaming “One foot in the grave and one hand in the sky/heaven comes with a priceeeee” and jesus chrysler, if that doesn’t open the pit then I don’t know what the fuck else will. I’m gonna go out and say this is the band’s heavy/rock balladesque track (but don’t come in thinking you’re gonna hear acoustics) it’s slow, hard-hitting and guaranteed to be an instant classic. There’s a guitar solo, a breakdown and an overwhelming feeling of fulfillment by the song’s climax. It could have easily been the album’s closer, but they saved that spot for another masterpiece. More on that soon! ‘One Choice‘ picks the pace back up again and we’re in metal/hard rock territory this time around with a major focus on the Zach and Chris Davis‘ guitars leading us throughout while Andrew plays his kit alongside. With the way American radio is getting behind heavy bands on their rock stations, I can safely see this song getting added to full rotation. Because Australian commercial doesn’t like taking risks (idiots), you won’t hear it here, but I encourage any/all music directors who happen to be reading this review to please give it a chance, especially when the boys are screaming the words: “I won’t bend, I won’t break/through the darkest of days/I remember, I survive I don’t surrender” through the chorus and closing moments.
Next up we’ve got ‘Phoenix Rise‘ aka riff city bitches! This one is about being thrown into the fire (a metaphor and nicer way of saying one of life’s absolute fucking shitshows) and coming out the other side reborn and ready to conquer. Been seriously injured? Lost a loved one? Struggling with mental health? Finding it hard to find yourself and who you used to be? This’ll be your new anthem for overcoming what’s been thrown at you and how you rise up, refreshed and ready for the next phase in your life which, coincidentally (or planned) leads into the next track ‘Begin Again‘, a fast-paced motivator about not giving up when your life is on the way down and encouraging you to pick up the pieces and, pun intended, begin again. Melodic hardcore at its finest, especially with that breakdown call of “DON’T LET THE THINGS YOU LOVE… DESTROY YOU” around the middle section and the closing repeating words of encouragement “I saw myself on the way down/he said it’s not how our story ends/You know there’s always a way out/weather the storm and begin again” which for those of you, like me, who had never heard this expression before, means to reach the end of a very difficult situation without too much harm or damage. WHOLESOME. AS. FUCK.
You know what time it is now, it’s time for the band’s absolute return to form anthem ‘Aftermath‘ which was the first taste of new music we heard from The Ghost Inside since 2014 and goddamn it hit hard. With an important message of “Triumph over Tragedy” and a tear-inducing music video to go with it, this was the band’s way of telling their story to us all, shining a light on their tragic bus accident, then coming out afterward reminding us they won’t let that event define who they are. In my eyes, this was one of the most important releases the band could have put out, but the fact they continuously speak out about not wanting to only write about their struggles, they want to openly talk about what others go through, proves they’re a band hell bent on doing their part to make us all better people and to guide us through our own challenges, no matter the severity of the circumstances.
There’s nothing more I can say about that song that hasn’t been said already, so I’ll leave this section for you to create your own opinions based upon the track and the way they decided to wrap up their comeback album with it… but if you’re too lazy, I’ll just say it’s a perfect open door climax to get us all kinds of keen for what comes next in their story…
I don’t know how ready you may think you are for this release, but I can safely say The Ghost Inside have absolutely, positively delivered one of the BEST and most encouraging albums of the year. With its themes of hope, motivation, overcoming, surviving and “give no fucks” attitude, it’ll be an instant win for long term fans and serve as a gateway for newcomers who have only just jumped on the band’s Engine 45 hype train in recent years!
The Ghost Inside – The Ghost Inside tracklisting
4. Pressure Point
6. Make Or Break
8. One Choice
9. Phoenix Rise
10. Begin Again
Listen to The Ghost Inside drummer Andrew Tkaczyk chatting all about the album, their comeback and more on this week’s episode of Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall right here