Album Review: The Ghost of a Thousand – New Hopes, New Demonstrations
Viva la TGOAT. Unfortunately this band broke up last year just as they were on the edge of massive success and hardcore domination. The Ghost of a Thousand were a five piece hardcore band from Brighton. Their first album This Is Where the Fight Begins had massive potential but got buried under the hype for Your Demise’s Ignorance Never Dies and Gallows Orchestra of Wolves.
Since all three were released in the same year critics and fans were too busy with the first two behemoths to pay TGOAT much attention. New Hopes, New Demonstrations struck it lucky by coming out around the time that many hardcore fans had become disillusioned with the heroes of the genre. Gallows’ Grey Britain was sucking hard and Your Demise had kicked out their vocalist. This meant that The Ghost of a Thousand’s second album got the attention it deserved and the band became the third behemoth.
That being said New Hopes, New Demonstrations isn’t a straight up hardcore record like their first album was. It’s much more of a punk rock album taking the fury of hardcore and channelling a much more creative process then hardcore. First track Moved as Mountains, Dreamt of by the Sea is an example of this blend. Taking the finely tuned, fast punk guitars and throwing in venomous screaming vocals this track shows the angry side to the band with second track Bright Lights happily carrying the fury on. Third track Knees, Toes, Teeth leans heavily on the punk rock sound. Lead singer Tom Lacey yells with gusto “F*****g new romantics, it’s only rock-n-roll, this is our religion, as heaven we’ll never know” and the guitars screech their way through some solo’s that many hard rock bands would be proud of.
Split the Atom is sung in clean vocals throughout, a first and unfortunately last for the band. The lyrics to this track deal with politics and their relationship with the public. This is one of several songs on the album that show a lot of heart, soul and brains have been poured into this album. Neptune gives the listener and the album a kick up the a**e, as the band make a return to hardcore. The guitars rage at the listener, the drums pound and Lacey’s vocals switch between fast clean vocals and furious, demented screams.
Running on Empty is pure punk energy contained in a track. The guitars do not give up on pace whilst Lacey howls over the top of them. A very rockabilly guitar solo is slotted in mid track which is disorientating if not pleasurable. Final track Good Old Fashioned Loss brings the tempo of the album to a crashing stop. The symbols smash and crash like waves on rocks, the bass is fat and the guitars distorted. Lacey is at his most deranged here, making the listener doubt his sanity. A third of the way through the track the tempo cuts out altogether with just Lacey singing backed by an occasional held chord. “I wanna see the beauty in the world, I wanna feel a kind and guiding hand, I wanna see the world as Jesus Christ or Ghandi, or Buddha, Muhammad, whatever it’s done. The message is, the message is a fraud and it’s done. The question is, which question are you asking? and it’s done”. It’s difficult to discern whether Lacey is taking a pop at religion or whether he wished he had some form of guidance. My opinion is he doesn’t agree with religion and thinks people are a little taken in by it.
I give this album 9 out of 10. It’s a punk rock album with soul, sorrow and brains, something that not enough band utilise these days. The gap this band has left cannot be filled by anyone. Without Tom Lacey and his intelligent lyrics and honest band you have a choice of a band who let weed obscure their talent or a band who want to stab rapists, stab clergymen, stab people who stab other people. It’s a void that will not be easy to fill and unfortunately the scale of stupidity in the hardcore scene is tipped at the wrong side these days.