Now, I'm not a guy who is getting into this new wave of melodic hardcore; it just seems like every band sounds the same out of the blogs. Until We Are Ghosts doesn't remotely break any new ground for the genre, but the band did a fine job at keeping my attention throughout the new album, Bitterseed. This five piece from Rochester, NY., has been gaining buzz ever since the release of Never Above, Never Below, Always Beside. I personally wasn't impressed with the previous release, but maybe I just wasn't feeling it production-wise or the over dramatic essence that the band conjures from the struggles of life. There is no doubt in my mind that the band is full of tight musicians – which is the reason why I've decided to give Until We Are Ghosts another listen.
Upon first listen, I was impressed with the step up in production and overall musicianship on Bitterseed. All the songs are crisp and almost have a post-rock feel to it – especially on the interludes "Trade Winds" and "Trails." Actually, the interludes were one of the big highlights for me on this record because I'm a huge fan of post-rock in general. If Until We Are Ghosts made those interludes actual songs and strung them out with build ups, they would be nothing short of post-rock epics. The rest of Bitterseed finds its way into the ol' emotional hardcore bucket, but the band has truly stepped up its game emotionally.
Songs like "Repression," "Wearing Thin" and the opening "Weighted Down" display the power that is Until We Are Ghosts. Melodic guitars create an atmosphere that paints a rainy day in New Jersey. One thing that the band captures is the scenery in the music that pushes the passionate lyrics to the forefront of the mix. I did begin to lose interest when the overall boring breakdowns showed its head (I'm not hating on breakdowns, but these ones just didn't have the personality behind them to hold my interest). That is where Until We Are Ghosts' Bitterseed begins to lose its spark – when it falls into EVERY melodic hardcore/metalcore cliché.
The production, on the other hand, is top notch throughout the album. I would also like to give huge props to the bass player; his bass is mixed in to where it is audible and natural sounding. The guitars only truly shine on the interludes for me; other than that, they sound like fairly standard chord and breakdown-driven guitars. The drumming is not in the spotlight at all besides a couple of nice fills here and there; in retrospect, it did its job. The vocals aren't anything to flip over for – because I've heard the vocal technique 1,000 times before – but the lyrics are becoming more personal, especially over the father and family issues.
Until We Are Ghosts is sure to please fans of melodic hardcore everywhere, but don't expect a lot of diversity in Bitterseed. It's for sure a solid record; I just wish the members stepped out of their comfort zones and made something fresh. With that being said, I will still be looking forward to what the band has to offer in the future.