The Ghost Inside’s “Dear Youth” Album Review

The Ghost Inside’s “Dear Youth” Album Review

            Hardcore group The Ghost Inside is set to release their latest album Dear Youth on November 17, 2014 with Epitaph Records. The Ghost Inside is based out of Los Angeles; they began as a group of friends in El Segundo, CA united by their shared passion for bands in the scene. The group stands for authenticity, dedication, perseverance and the most literal adherence to the core values behind their craft. Sonically, the group places equal emphasis on deeply personal vocals, urgent riffing and pile-driving breakdowns within the framework of their heavily melodic modern hardcore style. Frontman Jonathan Vigil explains the album concept in a letter written to his younger self.
“Dear Youth,
I’m writing to you now because it seems I’ve lost my way. I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started, but I know that it’s not like it was before. I’ve realized the more time that passes, the more we lose touch. It’s starting to feel like all I ever do now is lose touch with things. But not you, I never wanted to lose you.
I wish I had something to blame it all on, but I don’t. One day I was there and the next I was here. As if I was dreaming and suddenly woken up. These days I’m always wondering if what I’ve done is enough. It’s getting harder and harder for me to shake this feeling of stagnancy.
So old friend I’m writing to ask you what it feels like to have the whole world in your hand? Where we could set out and do anything that we imagined. Endless possibilities way before complacence set in. To be honest with you, I’ve forgotten what that all feels like. There was a wonder about us that has long since faded. That sense of excitement, I miss it.
Dear youth, will you show me again? I need to be reminded of those times, back before this began…
– xx”
Dear Youth is the group’s fourth studio album and was co-produced by Andrew Wade, and A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon – a longtime friend and supporter of the band’s career. Previous releases from The Ghost Inside consist of  Fury and the Fallen Ones (2008), Returners (2010), and Get What You Give (2012). The Ghost Inside played on the main stage at the Vans Warped Tour in 2014, and will be touring with label mates Every Time I Die and Architects (UK) this fall. The Ghost Inside members include Jonathan Vigil (Vocalist), Aaron Brooks (Lead Guitarist), Zach Johnson (Rhythm Guitarist), Jim Riley (Bassist), and percussionist Andrew Tkacyzk, who was the former drummer for hardcore band, For The Fallen Dream, until joining The Ghost Inside back in 2011.
The Ghost Inside’s album kicks off fiercely with a hard hitting introduction, Avalanche, a previous single track released back in early September. The track begins with a simple guitar progression as Jonathan Vigil’s spine chilling vocals scream “Can’t stop screaming these words over again, until breath escapes and my chest caves in…” to be followed along with encompassing ambient percussion hits that give the mix an amazing start. As the build up comes to an end with a technical bass arrangement, the audience is then surrounded by rhythm filled guitars, fast paced bass, kicking percussion, and highly energetic vocal performance. Avalanche definitely sets an overall melodic anthem tone, and provides a fantastic beginning to the album.


Following Avalanche, Move Me begins vigorously with a loud“1,2,3,4!” introduction being accompanied by captivating melodic guitar riffs, and greatly mixed vocal harmonies behind the lead. Move Me proves itself to be a furious anthem, with powerfully written lyrics – “I leave behind this sentiment to the man that I’ll become, telling him not to be burdened by the things that I have done…”
The third track of the album, Out of Control, begins and continues with heavier riffs straying from it’s previous melodic based counter parts. Out of Control is definitely one of the more straightforward songs of the album, with unapologetic lyrics –  “We tear each other down to build ourselves up. A system failure, enough is enough. Cause in a world this shaky and unstable, we’ve got to be less fucking hateful.”. Though the song shines through lyrically and contains a certain aggressiveness, some may feel that the song may have dragged after the raging breakdown that was presented later in the track.
Fourth installment of the album, With The Wolves , contains it’s own unique progressions and melodies throughout the track. What really makes this track stand out is the amazingly done vocal harmonies that seamlessly encircle themselves around the lead vocals with no flaws presentable. “Whoa, there’s no path to guide me, the more I give in, the more it haunts me, and I’ve given up control, I suffer just to run with the wolves”.  The production of the track really does a successful job of separating itself in it’s own authenticity in the album. The bass merges into the guitar tracks beautifully, and it creates a very comfortable listening experience for the audience. With The Wolves has a possible chance of being a fan favorite upon release.
Attacking with might, Mercy heavily crashes in with an “in your face” approach by Jonathan Vigil. “For whom the bell tolls!” Vigil screams out, as Aaron Brooks and Zach Johnson surround the audience with a massive wall of guitars, polished with the unmerciful (no pun intended) hard hitting percussion and bass arrangements by Andrew Tkacyzk and Jim Riley. The song continues to effortlessly prove The Ghost Inside’s lyrical ability with “I have an inheritance from my father, it’s the moon and the sun, and although that I roam all over the world, the spending’s never done”.
Transitioning perfectly from Mercy, Phoenix Flame presents a different melodic tone to the audience, entering with a peaceful ambient framework that surrounds the observer with magnificent reverberated guitar, soft building synthesizers, atmospheric percussion, and a passionate vocal performance by Vigil. Phoenix Flame could be expressed as a powerful anthem that conveys the process of someone reconstructing their willpower through each failure, thus attaining the strength to try again – “Burn and start again, rebuild, forget, lest we forget.” Words cannot simply communicate the emotional energy that glistens through this track. It contains an prodigious production that intensifies the listening experience.
Following Phoenix Flame, The album’s headlining song Dear Youth crashes in with kinetic guitar, authoritative percussion, hard bass, and barbed distinct vocals. Dear Youth lyrically is motivated by Vocalist Jonathan Vigil’s letter that he had written to his younger self – “Dear Youth, what was your one big plan? You made us believe we had the world in our hands! We left home with nowhere to go, facing our fears as we brave the unknown!”. Dear Youth really sets the overall concept for the album, and has done well since it’s single release with Avalanche.


Beginning with fast-paced snare hits, Wide Eyed comes in with heavy hurricane riffs occupied with technical flawless melodies, and enormous breakdowns. Featuring Letlive vocalist Jason Butler, Wide Eyed separates itself with a unique flow as Butler begins with a short insightful monologue before singing – “I was always talking to myself because nobody would stick around. Developed my own language and now I’m the loudest in the crowd”. Wide Eyed will either be loved, or hated. Nevertheless, the track has done a successful job of changing things up musically for The Ghost Inside.
Introducing itself with full-defined riffs, My Endnote makes it’s appearance containing a mammoth breakdown “You can’t break me!” later in the track. Some may feel that the track was unnecessary in general though, and could have been excluded from the album.
Musically redeeming, The Other Half is definitely a refreshing sound from My Endnote. The Other Half accommodates alluring melodic progressions, with lovely vocal harmonies arriving in the perfect spots. Lyrically, The Other Half continues to embrace The Ghost Inside’s  magnificent lyrical ability with a heart felt examining chorus – “I spanned the oceans, I’ve seen the skies, that’s all I’m ever gonna need to get by, my favorite things in life, aren’t even things at all…”. Proving to embrace a melodic anthem feel, there is very memorable chant in the middle of the track – “Force fed and misled. Now we hang by a thread. Force fed and misled. But not me, I see red!’.
As the album comes to end, the last track Blank Pages can be described as simply beautiful. Blank Pages contains the same lyrical arrangement as the introduction song Avalanche, using Avalanche’s beginning lyrics – “I can’t stop screaming these words over again, until breath escapes and my chest caves in…” as an anthemic chorus. Just when you thought The Ghost Inside was at their peak in the track, in comes an extraordinary marvelous flawless emotional solo by lead guitarist Aaron Brooks. Brooks deserves a fucking metal. Blank Pages was the perfect song to end a great well-done album.
Soundcheck411 Rating: 9/10
Review by: Rene Garcia