Review: “Power Through Terror” by Great American Ghost

Boston Metallic Hardcore band Great American Ghost have been on the steady rise over the last few years with  2017’s sophomore album “Hatred Stems From The Seed” opened doors and took them to places that vocalist Ethan Harrison, guitarist Niko Gasparrini, bassist Joey Perron and drummer Davier Perez – never thought possible. As if selected dates of the final Vans Warped Tour run and the Metal Alliance Tour in 2018 weren’t huge enough moments, the quartet landed a prestigious spot on the Impericon Never Say Die! Tour in 2019 as well as tours with the likes of Within The Ruins, Kublai Khan and Ion Dissonance. Not bad for a band who have specialized in “direct old-school hardcore wrath at hypocrisy, apathy, and self-loathing, delivered in a dark cloud of relentlessly bludgeoning riffs” since their 2015 debut “Everyone Leaves“. Produced by the legendary Will Putney (Counterparts, Harm’s Way, Terror) who is a master at making something good sound great and is the man that literally everyone wants to work with as his name on your record is like a seal of approval, “Power Through Terror” marks Great American Ghost’s third studio album.

Opening up the floor with the longest cut on the album in “Rat King“, the abrasive guitar work from Gasparrini and caustic vocals Harrison are counter balanced by a melodic chorus moment with a clean sung passage that you might not have expected but adds a touch of sparkle. First single “Prison Hate” appeared a couple of months before the album as a whole and keeps the electrifying energy going with Perez delivering some pile driver kit work. Again a solitary clean sung passage backed by a brief piece of melody is the peak at the sunshine through the Black cloud of Metallic Hardcore bludgeoning and a formula of sorts begins to form. “Altar of Snakes” owes something to Knocked Loose guitarist Isaac Hale as riff parts aren’t too far a field from his writing on “Laugh Tracks” while Harrison’s pissed off lyrics are easy to relate to. Metal Injection called the band “always hateful, always pissed” and they’d be right, though don’t expect any Nu-Metal introspection here.

Title track “Power Through Terror” takes the work of bands like Vein, Sanction and Chamber and adds a sheen that becomes unquestionable. The darkness that unfurls in the vocals is second to none and there are early 2000’s Metalcore roots on show with some of the lead work during the sing-a-long-able chorus “Power through terror, your master has spoken…“. The warped, off kilter sounds as the track slows to it’s end is a masterful moment that lets the tornado of “Rivers of Blood” blast though with double kick jackhammer footwork that belongs on an Impending Doom record. It’s the rhythm section that makes the track, providing a driving force that is relentless, even during the tracks most melodic lead guitar harmony moments. Davier Perez is Gene Hoglan on this one. In similar fashion,  “Socialized Animals” is an absolute ripper of bludgeoning old school riffs that have been modernized and the solo is an absolute face melter that belongs on a Thrash cut. “I’d rather die for nothing than be afraid to die” screams Harrison. His head might be ordained with a tattoo of The Hope Conspiracy symbol but make no mistake, “Power Through Terror” is a devastating, Metal-fueled odyssey. “Black Winter” injects some Groove Metal with some more complex riffs in the turn around as Harrison rages about AI and manipulation from a Big Brother state. The slow down in the drive doesn’t drop an energy and Gasparrini proves that one guitarist can be just as effective as two when that one has the skills in abundance.

Powerhouse “Scorched Earth” is a blast of hateful aggression that allows Perron’s bass work to shine as Gasparrini delivers ripping chord progressions that Harrison paints a picture of a black future over. One of the things they do incredibly well is take a harder backing vocal layer and place it behind the lead vocal with a slight delay so it punches even harder. Some warped guitar moments and slow crushing headbangable breakdowns are exactly what you want from this and they’re exactly what you get. The ferocity shows no sign of let up as if anything the lyrics get more vicious and the vocals more caustic as the album progresses with “WarBorn” which has some brutal Fit For An Autopsy esq riffs that destroy all in their wake. “No More” keeps it all killer no filler with a return to the occasional clean vocal part that the earlier tracks brought while also having a venomous spoken word part. “Love was never f***ing there” is the final blood curdling scream form Harrison as the final breakdown section hits and there has never been a more telling statement [8/10]

Track listing

1. Rat King
2. Prison of Hate
3. Altar of Snakes
4. Power Through Terror
5. Rivers of Blood
6. Socialized Animals
7. Black Winter
8. Scorched Earth
9. WarBorn
10. No More

Power Through Terror” by Great American Ghost will be released via eOne Music on 14th February

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