Published Nov 14, 2014It's a little too perfect that the followup to the Ghost Inside's Get What You Give, the art of which was dominated by a massive mountain, kicks off with a song called "Avalanche." The metalcore/melodic hardcore found on Dear Youth isn't skidding down the slope; rather, it finds itself on a plateau part way down the precipice. It's what you'd expect from the Los Angeles group, nothing more, nothing less — well, okay, maybe a little more in some places and a little less in others, but for the most part, little has changed.
A melodious expansion into strings territory (more violin than guitar) on "Phoenix Flame" is one of the band's biggest risks here, and they pull it off, making you wish they'd try to expand from the driving hardcore riffs intersected with breakdowns and melodies. However, when they give experimentation another shot on "Wide Eyed," letlive.'s Jason Butler starts off talking over the music before playing vocal aerobics. As talented as the singer may be, he doesn't fit the song, which starts as one of the most promising on the album. "Blank Pages" falls somewhere in between those two, with the thin air in between the notes alternatingly feeling empty and emotive.
The bulk of Dear Youth returns the Ghost Inside to the sound of the band's adolescence. It's as catchy as anything they've released before, maybe even more so, and nearly as meaty, though occasionally fails to maintain the vivacity of Returners. Still, the Ghost Inside would do fine to stay on the metalcore mountain they traversed first and more efficiently than their peers, even if they could find some liberation by spreading their wings and jumping off. (Epitaph)