Posts Tagged ‘Ghostship’


Our opening review – Phantom on the Horizon

December 1, 2008


Well. Welcome to Interstellar Sounds, where a bunch of us review music. To open this site up, I’m going to post my most recent and relevant review: Phantom on the Horizon; the latest release by The Fall of Troy. This is a concept album by those overly-talented-kids.

Before you read this, I am assuming you have heard the Ghostship EP. If you haven’t, go do it, it’s brilliant.

Wow, how long have we been waiting for this now? 4 years or something? And it’s finally here. Many of you, especially you Fall of Troy fan boys, must be wondering how this measures up to the Ghostship EP and their previous release, Manipulator. Well, I question you back… what are you expecting?
Their self-titled album, the Ghosthip EP and Doppelganger all have this sense of ‘rawness’ to it, which is one of the main reasons why they grew a fan base in the first place. To people who listened to the Ghostship EP, let me put it like this: more vocals, better instruments and a sense of The Mars Volta looms about it as some points (Deloused era, naturally).

The problem The Fall of Troy has is that it’s fans are (in my eyes) one of two people, the people who love them for the previously mentioned rawness and their live performances, then there are those who have been waiting for this band to create an album that truly fills their artistic imagination. This album reaches the limits of their imagination like never before, with brilliant production and effects.

Chapter I: Introverting Dimensions starts playing in a similar yet alternative fashion to the EP, some new eerie sounds are playing the bass line from the original while Andrew is tapping along and Thom and Frank come in. It continues to remain pretty similar, but with Thom’s new vocals and a number of extra production elements, such as Thom dubbing new lines over his own voice in the chorus and a number of new effects are used to achieve that ‘creepy ghost ship’ sound they were aiming for.
One of the things that will probably split the opinion on this song is that Thom doesn’t scream as much, it seems he’s singing a lot more on this record and he’s a lot better too, especially with Frank backing him up on vocals. Franks vocals are quite different to Thom’s, but they mix for a treat when they’re singing together, if you want to hear Frank’s vocals on their own, check out ‘…Of Stalwart Fads’, his own band.

In terms of the band’s performance on this album, I think it’s the top of their game. Andrew has really improved in my opinion; his beat has become appropriately quicker in some sections and has rewritten some sections quite drastically, but for the best. Thom still has his impressive guitar skills, but more importantly, his vocals work has really, really improved and the fact that Frank can harmonise with Thom so beautifully purely amplifies the fact that they are both great vocalists. Frank’s bass playing is sadly a bit drowned out, but his technique gives it this subtle roar which really works.

Now I should mention Chapter IV: Enter the Black Demon and Chapter V: The Walls Bled Lust, which are probably the more famous tracks off of this album. Yet again on Chapter IV and V, you’ll notice the main differences is Thom’s voice and Frank’s voice taking almost complete dominance over the rest of these songs, as pretty much the rest of the song remains unchanged, which is great, as instrumentally, these songs have been top-notch since they were written. The best way to look at it is that these old songs have returned with a new ‘paintjob’, they’ve dressed these songs up with brand-new spanking production and effects.

I also noticed that, lyrically, they songs remain unchanged too, with Thom screaming that they’re being threatened by some enemies on their ship (Part I).
‘Shoot to kill, but they just won’t die!’
The bow starts to tip, out of the corner of my eye.’
It also has the conversations with the demon remaining on there (Part V).
Black Demon – ‘God’s not a goldmine, God’s on the inside, selling everybody on the frontlines out.
Did you think your were right side in, maybe inside out?
Reaching for, the gun, to load and persuade you, to stay…’

The lyrics naturally work together to tell a story, it’s worth checking them out (hopefully the physical copy will have a lyric booklet).

Trying to piece this concept together is interesting, but I the lyrics gave me the impression that they’re sailing on their ship, then they’re attacked by a demon ghost ship that destroys the boat and somehow gets into Thom’s head, tormenting him in some weird universe before sending him back into the water and for him to manage to get to the shore and save himself. This is purely my own interpretation though and I haven’t got to make out the lyrics to Chapter III.
Chapter II: A Strange Conversation, this wasn’t even featured on the popular demo; I believe this was just a cheap little single they did. So how has it been improved/butchered you may ask? Well, yet again, it’s very similar to before, but one section has been a bit modified and there appears to be a presence of a female vocalist in this song at one point (as well as Chapter III), it’s either that or Erak has gone Bixler-Zavala on us, which is fine, either way [Turns out it is likely to be Ryan Donnelly from Schoolyard Heroes, a band that is friends with The Fall of Troy, so no suprise there]. Due to the previous recording sounding pretty horrible, it’s nice to see this song in the form that it imagined to be. To me, the verses are pretty epic and amazing; resulting in this being one of the best Fall of Troy songs to exists.

The interludes are better than I imagined, this is where some comparisons to The Mars Volta’s Deloused in the Comatorium can kick in a bit, as I’m sure many people who have heard The Mars Volta have noted how in the middle of some songs they go into some quiet freestyle interludes. Well, they draw from that, but to give a sense of ‘calm after the storm’ as they small instrumentals are incredibly beautiful.

Last, but not least I would like to mention Chapter III: Nostalgic Mannerisms… this song fits the rest of the album like a glove, while also contrasting by having the least amount of heavy parts. I don’t want to spoil this song too much for everyone who hasn’t listened to this yet, but there are some pretty experimental parts in this sea of interludes that start at roughly half-way through the song. I was not disappointed.

My conclusion is that this album was not a let down in a slightest, providing you were hoping for The Fall of Troy to try and progress and improve upon the sound of the EP and the band themselves. I think they were waiting for a time that would allow them to fully accomplish their vision that they had of this album and with a new bassist, good production and having released the previously mediocre Manipulator, they obviously felt it was time to kick things into artistic overdrive. If you wanted the Ghostship EP exactly the same as before (but with two new tracks), then you are out of luck, my friend.

A masterpiece.

– Thom’s vocals are much improved and Frank’s are good too.
– The core of the songs remain relatively unchanged.
– The new production and effects help this album come alive
– Nostalgic memories to those have heard the Ghostship EP.
– I believe this could really influence other post-hardcore and punk acts to expand on their sound.
– A lot better than the awful Manipulator.

– Their much adored energy and ‘rawness’ aren’t anywhere near as visible as on previous releases.
– Less screaming. Although I prefer it that way.
– Despite the fact I enjoyed Thom’s singing, it’s become quite obvious it’s a very selective thing.

All I can do is urge you to listen to it as a whole, with no disruptions and try to enjoy the music. If you don’t, you don’t… If you do, then that’s brilliant.
[A] Innovative. Powerful. Hopefully influentual.

Written by Christopher Kenrick