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The Ghost Of A Thousand
New Hopes, New Demonstrations Toby Cook , June 4th, 2009 08:29

The curse of the 'difficult' second album: for every Nevermind, Led Zeppelin II and The Bends, there's a whole slew of Second Comings, Evil Empires, and One Way Tickets (Remember that one? No, me neither.). The cause? Lack of ideas, lack of talent, label interference or the pressure of having to quickly muddle together any old load of cobblers in order to finance your rapidly escalating smack habit – who knows? More often than not the rule is simply: first album = good, second album = bloody abysmal.

Thank fuck, then, for The Ghost Of A Thousand. Having kicked, screamed, scratched, bit and gouged their way onto the UK hardcore scene with 2007's This Is Where The Fight Begins, with New Hopes, New Demonstrations the Brighton quintet have, quite frankly, pissed all over the 'law of the second album'.

Whereas the perfunctory onslaught of their debut was a tight, riff-heavy brick in the face of snarling – if not slightly one-dimensional – hardcore, New Hopes . . . is a sonically expansive, considered yet equally visceral creation - not simply the sound of the band maturing, but the sound of their whole genre maturing. 'Moved As Mountains' is one of the finest opening tracks you're likely to hear on any album this year, whilst the similarly acerbic 'Canyons Of Static' will know doubt cause a deluge of 'man loses head in bedroom headbanging incident' stories, so undeniably catchy is this.

For all the catchiness though, New Hopes . . . holds more than a hint of something altogether darker, even slightly morose, going on under the surface. We're not talking mere mid-20s angst, but genuinely reflective and intelligent commentary – a far cry from the rather naive 'isn't England a bit shit' musings of some of their contemporaries. Arguably this owes a lot to the decision to enlist Pelle 'The Shape Of Punk To Come' Gunnerfeldt on production duties, who seems to have brought to the fore the raw, maniacal edge that had only previously been apparent during the group's live performances. Closer 'Good Old Fashioned Loss', a perfect example, rarely gets out of second gear, yet it's possibly the most brow-beatingly heavy track here.

Converge's Jacob Bannon once said: "Hardcore has to be about more than just Slayer riffs and bad poetry", and don't TGOAT just know it. They're way ahead of many of their peers in terms of invention and articulation – expect big, big things of them in the not too distant future.

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