About a month ago, I ended up at a hardcore band’s set at a festival, waiting for the set I really wanted to see to start. I’m not going to say who the band was, but it was awful. It was basically my introduction to the genre, and I took my hating the set to mean that I’d hate all hardcore music. I was wrong.
The Ghost Inside’s June 19 release Get What You Give is 40 minutes of heavy and surprisingly upbeat noise. Despite a new drummer and record label (Epitaph now, instead of Mediaskare), the sound of the album is relatively the same as the band’s incredibly well-reviewed 2010 release Returners.
“Engine 45” begins as one of the hardest tracks on the album, led by dominating guitar riffs and driving vocals, but about halfway through, the loudness stops. It breaks down and lead vocalist Jonathan Vigil sings a verse that strangely resembles Floridian pop-punk band New Found Glory. The calmness is short-lived though and “Engine 45” soon picks back up with its original power. “Dark Horse,” one of the best songs on the album, has a similar breakdown, leaving behind the screams midway through for a melodic chrous that will be stuck in your head by the second time you hear it.
Just the opposite is the opening track, “This Is What I Know About Sacrafice.” It packs as much intensity into it’s minute and a half frame as some of the others do in twice the time. While a few songs later on match the power and harshness (“Deceiver” is one of those that stands out), the album as a whole is much more melodic and rythmic.
Lyrically, Get What You Give is edgy and uplifting. “I put my faith in the tried and true,” Vigil belts out in “The Great Unknown,” a song midway through the album about sticking to what you love. “Keep those you trust right by your side. Only the strong will survive.”
Admittedly, my knowledge of hardcore music is pretty limited to that one atrocious set I caught and a few bands who played Warped Tour. But even I could tell that Get What You Give is good. It proves that adding some melody to a genre that traditionally is meant to be more loud than meaningful can pay off. And it’s proves that I should never judge a genre by an awful set at a festival.