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Here is something that I’ve seen far too often in band bios and press releases:
“We sound like the result of The Chariot being impregnated by Norma Jean, then getting fucked again by Every Time I Die so their DNA goes into the baby.” – Every Time Dillinger Escapes from the Chariot, some random hardcore band from New Jersey, Illinois.
The above can just describe just about most of the “chaotic-hardcore” bands that I’ve ever come across in my time on the internet. Now, maybe I’m just not looking hard enough or the bands that stay true to that statement are hidden deep within the decaying corpse of what.cd but I have never, ever heard a band where I could look at that prior statement and say: “Yes, I would agree.”
That was until I met Adelaide’s A Ghost Orchestra. Their new album, ‘Blood’, much like its own title, is short and to the point. So I’m going to do the same for my review, and not offer up the usual lengthy, almost-think-tank pieces I normally deliver.
Basically, this 11-track album is hectic through and through. A Ghost Orchestra have a brilliant talent for the arrangement and structuring of their blistering, riffing songs for maximum impact. They know when to throw everything into overdrive and go all out on your ears (see: ‘Precursor‘ and ‘Bad Blood‘ for two fine examples.) Yet the band also understand that they can’t stay on the max setting forever lest you get accustomed and numbed to the intensity of it all. Thus, they pull back at times like on the middle eight of ‘The Wormhole’ and the beginning of ‘Gutterslang’. These moments of “calmness” (if you could even call them that) make the intense moments where the vocals and every other instrument is going off like bombs all the more felt and fully realised.
But in a lot of ways, those slower moments on ‘Blood’ are still incredibly strong as they are what truly set the melancholic vibe of the album. Every single note played on this record serves one purpose: to make this as ominous and as bleak as possible. Instrumental track ‘Delving’ pulls this off perfectly with its capacity to send you into an existential crisis, and the epically huge and grand ‘Panspermia’ is once again fully instrumental and a real sludgy track to begin with, yet you can feel the weight of the album truly press down on your shoulders as you become consumed by its depth.
However, my one main gripe with this album isn’t so much a gripe but more so a reason why I cannot award this album any more arbitrary numerical points on our rating system. Although this is a fantastic hardcore record and one that these South Australian boys should be very fucking proud of, it is just another hardcore record on some levels.
Yes, it fulfils that aforementioned statement I began this review with, yet the band don’t seem to expand much far beyond those direct and clear influences and it’s so painstakingly obvious where they’re coming from it’s hard to disassociate that. However, should A Ghost Orchestra expand more into these longer and more envelope-pushing instrumental escapades – ‘Delving‘ and ‘Panspermia‘ – then I would not be against it. And I’d also love this band even more!
With ‘Blood’, This Adelaide four-piece has crafted an intense, pummeling hardcore album that I can say – without any hesitation or doubt – will be on my top ten Australian albums of the year list for 2017!
- Platform 13216
- Bad Blood
- Heroin In Heaven
- The Wormhole
- Gutter Slang
- Lovers Of Valdaro
- Evacuate, No Farewell
‘Blood’ is out now. Get it here – it’s fucking sick! Riffs for days, fam.