[27 May 2014]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
What can be said about Rochester, New York, band Until We Are Ghosts? They play hard and fast, but they are also interested in dynamics, sometimes within the same song. Their debut album, Bitterseed which runs a scant nine songs and 28 minutes, is an example of what you can do within the confines of the metal, perhaps speed metal, genre. The opening song on their album, “Weighted Down” plays with this dynamic, offering tricky time signatures, and places where the song might give you whiplash, but also the odd, tossed-off more contemplative moment. It’s a pure moment of songsmithing that lingers with the listener. By the time you get to the third track, “Trade Winds”, a solemn instrumental that lasts all of 90 seconds, things take a much more softer approach, which shows that this is an outfit that is willing to take risks in terms of what it brings to the table.
But before you think things are just a little too edgy on the soft side, the group comes back with all guns ablazing with “Wearing Thin”. What Until We Are Ghosts does, and does well, is balance the softness of their sound, with the heaviness and speed that they are capable of. If I have any complaint, it is that this is simply too short a statement to make an impact. At 28 minutes in length, I simply wanted to hear more, more, more. Still, Bitterseed is a statement of promise, and deftly and quite acutely mines a variety of sound that makes this more than an appealing listen. By mixing hardcore music and more succinctly quieter sounds on their short instrumentals, Until We Are Ghosts makes for a bracing sound that makes you wonder where this outfit might go from here.