Ghost Stories

Aug. 2, 2017


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The Pitch: The debut album from New York progressive metal/metalcore band produced by Kevin Antreassian (Dillinger Escape Plan) at Backroom Studios.  FFO: Textures, PeripheryKadinja

What I Like: The first few seconds of an album can make or break my decision to review it, and in this respect Ghost Stories does not mess around.  From the killer opening drum fill to the subsequent djentfest of guitar hookery, "Growing Pains" didn't waste any time grabbing my attention.  And fortunately, my respect carried on from there.  Equally often a band has a promising opening riff only for everything else fall apart a few seconds later.  Not so with Dead Wake.  While I'm not 100% on board with the Mars Voltaish clean vocals, I consistenly enjoy the progressive axework, notable drumming, and harsh metalcore screaming.

I also tip my hat to the subtle fusions of electronic and ambient influences throughout the album.  A windchime here, a sample there.  I am particularly thinking about the intro to the title track, which ultimately sounds a little like an old Coheed and Cambria track mixed with The Fall Of Troy.  But it continues to be the guitars and heavier moments that keep me coming back to this debut.  There are some really glorious hooks to be found all over this thing, and they layer quite beautifully with the synth additions, especially on "Empire."

Critiques: As I alluded to above, the clean vocals need some work.  I respect where they are going, and actually think that there is enough promise here to pull them off in the future with a little more coaching and finesse, but right now they feel a little forced and sometimes even miss the mark in terms of key.  They add an extra layer of differentiation from other bands in the genre, so I hope that the band chooses to keep them while simply working on improvements.

The Verdict: Dead Wake still have a few growing pains to get through on Ghost Stories, but they feel like a band ready to stand up and stand out in the progressive/djent scene.  If you live for the riff and want to see this band succeed, I recommend throwing your support at this album.

Flight's Fav's: Growing Pains, Empire, Ghost Stories, WrongThink

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