Review: Give Up the Ghost

Give Up the Ghost
““Background Music””
(Bridge 9 Records)

Some records have the ability to change one’s life. Still music can go beyond changing a life—it has the power to expand boundaries and redefine the importance of an entire genre and its audience.

Give Up the Ghost accomplished all of this under their former surname, American Nightmare. The band’s debut full length, “Background Music,” has been hailed as one of the most influential and important hardcore albums of all time. Re-released under the new name, every word of praise still rings true; this is truly a timeless album.

Musically, the record is an intense combination of old school hardcore with heavy breakdowns, emotional octave leads and some of the most energetic song organization since Bad Brains, early Black Flag, and early Revelation Records hardcore. Combined with old school energy, Give Up the Ghost also chooses to experiment with newer elements of hardcore music; the song “Shoplifting in a Ghost Town,” seems to be an experiment with different elements of sound. Though often straying away from typical riffs and breakdowns, Give Up the Ghost keeps their integrity as an old school hardcore band while offering alternatives to heavy, assertive, emotional hardcore.

Atop all the energy, vocalist Wes Eisold’s lyrics of the album are a passionate open-book story revolving around topics of lost-love, personal struggle, and ultimately the human effort to find a sense of purpose in the world.

The album speaks volumes, and comes across as brilliantly defiant and unafraid. “Background Music” has made it’s mark in the foreground of the hardcore scene; own this record.