Speaking With Ghosts’ new album Illuminated feels like it represents a band at the cusp of something big. The band isn’t necessarily there yet, but you can feel their unique voice in the music.
Sometimes with Speaking With Ghosts-style metalcore, like with hardcore, it just feels like there is so much out there that it’s easy for a band to get lost in the noise. Even still, Speaking With Ghosts both stick to the conventions of the genre and push their music far enough so as to make a name for themselves.
Their music has an interesting interplay between jagged and heavy but smooth textures. There’s a bit of seeming special effects, but while it’s not going to be for everyone – this band isn’t “pure,” but how many are? – it’s not at all overdone and there really isn’t that much for the haters to grab onto.
Thematically, it feels rather metaphorical and distant at times, but it works. Even at that, the music might be deceptively metaphorical, since Illuminated has songs like ‘Relapse,’ telling the story of someone trapped in a cycle of self destruction. Other songs, like ‘The Boy Who Lived,’ are even more personal, presenting an image of someone trapped in a cycle of self doubt that calls everything into question.
The band seems excited and confident about their music, and they seem to envision themselves to be a forward thinking “positive” metalcore act. They’re clearly shooting high with Illuminated. It might be difficult at first to accept Speaking With Ghosts, with the band facing the possibility of coming across as just another overly positive metalcore band, but looks can be deceiving, and the music proves interesting if you keep listening. The music is sufficiently gritty and vocalist Ryan Wilmot’s screams are more than sufficiently pounding to keep the band away from being just another opportunistic metalcore band.
The topics being sung about are vague at times, but it works. The band is really riding that “pop” metalcore wave, and with Illuminated, they position themselves as noteworthy players in the scene.
Even though the music doesn’t necessarily push the boundaries of the metalcore genre, Illuminated is still a cohesive and interestingly polished work. Speaking With Ghosts feel like a classic thoroughly modern metalcore band in the making. Even if it takes more than one listen for the music to stick with you, it’s worth it.