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01. This Is What I Know About Sacrifice
03. Engine 45
04. Slipping Away
05. The Great Unknown
06. Dark Horse
07. White Light
08. Thirty Three
09. Face Value
11. Test The Limits
The Ghost Inside have been making their name for a few years now on a pulverizing strain of metalcore that seems to wed the murky rumble of nü-metal with the thuggier, chest-beating movement of tough-guy hardcore (though frontman Jonathan Vigil's lyrics tend to deal more with empowerment and personal tragedy than street justice or literal threatening). The band's progression has seemed to find them grow increasingly heavier and meaner, both musically and vocally. Get What You Give, the big debut for their hometown label Epitaph, is no exception, but it's also far more versatile than the band's other two full-lengths. It also, however, finds the band remaining plagued by a number of undesirable traits.
Opener "This Is What I Know About Sacrifice" might be the most memorable track on the album, but for all the wrong reasons: Namely, its inherent, unintentionally comic value. Vigil menacingly growls the song's title, then tells the listener, "Meet me at the crossroads—LET'S GO!" And immediately, there's a breakdown. 17 seconds into the record, there's a breakdown. And of course, a couple of "OH!"s...and the sound of a gunshot. If one loves breakdown-heavy, thuggy metalcore, they've already been clued in that this record is for them. For the rest of us that can only laugh at its cheap employment, it's not the most convincing start to the record. Like much of Get What You Give, the song takes the metallic slant of mosh-laden, street-wise hardcore of a progenitor like Merauder and exaggerates it to a disappointing degree, and neither Vigil's clichéd approach nor the strangely fat, nü-ish low end helps. Whatever one wants to call "this," they do "this" well, but "this" has been done to such absolute death there's almost no original thought or feeling to it. If there was an intelligence scale for (vaguely speaking) modern metallic hardcore, these guys lie almost exactly halfway between Converge and Emmure.
At the very least, there's an occasional counteraction to the brute force of Vigil's bark and the band's insistent pound. They try a sort of strained, melodic singing to add some color to their songs; it's mildly corny, but it does add some faction of dynamism to Get What You Give. It sort of conjures up post-Wake the Dead Comeback Kid, so it makes sense when CK frontman Andrew Neufeld guests on "Face Value." A couple of faster paces and tempo changes (the almost enjoyable post-Shai Hulud mode of "Slipping Away," "Dark Horse" and closer "Test the Limits") add a shred of musicality to the proceedings, but the band usually ruin it with needless, mind-numblingly stereotypical mosh parts. The momentary restraint of "White Light" is a nice touch.
Bottom Line: Get What You Give is the most versatile and competently played record in the Ghost Inside's canon, but it remains bogged down by adopting almost all of the clichéd musical and lyrical techniques of its given style. On the song "Face Value," the band states, "This will not be the new revival." We can only hope.
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