Great American Ghost - Torture World (MNRK Heavy)
Updated: Jan 12, 2022
It's amazing how great a message can be delivered in just a few words. From a musical perspective, sometimes a finely crafted EP can be as satisfying as a full length album, perhaps even more so because a shorter run time gives listeners a chance to better absorb the material. In the case of Boston's Great American Ghost, each of the four furious tracks from their upcoming release Torture World EP (MNRK Heavy) do exactly this.
Born from the darkness surrounding the Massachusetts quartet, vocalist Ethan Harris notes how the album almost never existed and how "(the band) thought 'Maybe we just don't want to do the band anymore'." Thankfully, Harris, along with guitarists Niko Gasparrini and Grayson Stewart, and drummer Davier Perez channeled all of their inner negativity into a tour de force set to leave venues barely holding together.
Leading off with "Kingmaker", the debut single from the album, old school and new school hardcore come together under an umbrella of thrash. Think early Lamb of God with a dose of Sworn Enemy backing a vocal style reminiscent of Darkest Hour. Following pummeling breakdowns and room spinning guitar/drum work, all goes quiet with Harris warning of "Careful what you wish for..." before the beat comes back like a hammer to the teeth.
A brief calmness kicks off the title track, a foreshadowing of the clean singing woven into the chorus. Rest assured, there is plenty of aggression to be found, but the inclusion of lyrics for the audience to sing along to guarantees this one will be a crowd pleaser for the next many tours.
The shortest track on the album, "Womb" wastes no time and starts fast and fierce. Paying homage to the younger days of metal-meets-hardcore (before it was just known as metalcore), those who were there in the early 2000s might think back to Marty AD and Blood Has Been Shed. A stellar guitar solo gives a spin to these stylings, solidifying this as a nice tribute to these bands while remaining unique to Great American Ghost.
Concluding with "Death Forgives No One", the decision to add a bit of reverb to the guitars in the chorus takes an otherwise rage fueled song to more mournful territory. It doesn't take a psychologist to explain that behind hatred is pain and fear, and this song does an excellent job conveying this message in both music and lyrics. The line "hope becomes hatred, culture of silence. Nothing is sacred, we worship violence" serve as a eulogy of sorts for humanity, and give way to one last punishing breakdown to close out the song.
The Metal Mayan Rating: 5/5
As mentioned in the beginning, sometimes a shorter run time makes an album easier for listeners to digest. There's a wonderful interview with Edsel Dope about the benefits of an EP over a full length release that touches on this. That said, the time given for each song on Torture World sit and sink in gives each one a chance to shine.
As a guitarist and tone junky, I loved the solo in "Womb": that tone was close to an old school vibe without seeming out of place in the mix. I also really appreciate Ethan Harris' clean singing in the title track and "Death Forgives No One". Bottom line: each track makes its point clear and, given how the world has been since early 2020, I am sure many people will be able to relate to this record's content.
Check out Great American Ghost on Bandcamp to preorder a CD, vinyl, or digital copy of Torture World, out January 20, 2022, via MNRK Heavy. Be sure to catch Great American Ghost on tour with Fit For An Autopsy, Enterprise Earth, and more in the U.S. from January through February. On your way to the show, read up our review of Oh What the Future Holds and The Chosen, the new albums from FFAA and Enterprise Earth respectively.
Advance album copy courtesy of Earsplit PR and MNRK Heavy