After four years (almost to the day), Silent Civilian has released their second album, ‘Ghost Stories’. It’s a fairly solid record but not without it’s fair share of issues. Read on after the break to get an in-depth review of ‘Ghost Stories’.
The album opens up with ‘Let Us Prey’, a fast paced, frenzied song that has vocalist Jonny Santos (ex-Spineshank) barking out lyrics in a very rhythmic, staccato style during the verse before switching to a more ‘clean’ style during the chorus. The song sometimes becomes a bit overcrowded by the speed and amount of music going on, falling into muddiness. A curious event happens during the second part of the guitar solo where the entire solo comes in on only the left side. It’s a bit odd to hear it in only one ear and the solo ends with a bend that is just little sharp and out of scale. Still, the solo has some tasty shredding. The amount of low end is also somewhat overpowering. This problem could easily have been managed if some more top end was allowed to shine forth, but alas, ‘Let Us Prey’ (and the rest of the album) seems to have a strange cap where higher frequencies (guitarists should think of this as the ‘Presence’ knob on your amp) are kept low and as a result, there is no sparkle.
The production of the album is a mixed bag. The guitars are thick and mixed evenly but have a bit of fizziness that doesn’t allow for the tightest of tones. The bass is present in the form of low end. It’s hard to make out individual bass notes unless the bass is doing a run on it’s own. It’s a very round sound that is easily felt rather than heard. The vocals come through fine although there are a few instances where it seems like Jonny is having trouble hitting some notes and a few out of tune lines are left in. The drums are their own mixed bag. The cymbals could stand to have a bit more sizzle and sparkle but are mixed in nicely. The toms and bass drum have a solid thump and are mixed evenly across the field. The snare confuses me as sometimes it’s at a perfect level with great attitude and bite to it and at other times it’s low in the mix and seems to lose it’s aggressive snap.
The album as a whole is just shy of being generic: There are enough headbang-worthy moments and driving riffs that stand out to warrant a listen. Also, drummer Ryan Halpert does some clever little turns and tempo-changes that makes the album a bit more exciting. Overall, though, this album is good for a few spins and not too much more than that.
3 out of 5 skulls